Through the years, I have always enjoyed reading the writings of the world’s greatest business, political, and religious leaders and philosophers. And the one thing that I’ve learned and witnessed firsthand is that organizations that stay stagnant and don’t respond to new and changing demands and trends ultimately lose their importance to their constituents. Remaining flexible and adapting to evolutionary and revolutionary change is vital. Flexibility and adaptability are a mindset not a once-a-year exercise for your business.
Here are a few of my favorite, thought-provoking quotes from businessman Peter Drucker, whose ideas and writings contributed to the foundation of modern business:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”
These quotes always seem to help me stay focused while constantly being pulled in different directions. Right now, we are living during a period of great change in our country and in the world. All of these changes, however, still require the same leadership attributes we strive to master every day: to effectively listen, intelligently discern, emphatically understand, and respond appropriately. Great leaders and great companies are generally great communicators. Clearly articulating the reason why the company is doing something then passionately executing on that vision is so important. Leading a company through change and into a new future is no small task, but the reward can last generations.
Anybody remember Blockbuster Video? At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster consisted of 9,094 stores and employed approximately 84,300 people. I remember going into that store, combing through hundreds of movies on tape (or later DVDs), renting the winner, and taking it home and plopping it into my video player. I loved the place. At that time, it was our only way to access movies at home. Well, Blockbuster failed to see what was coming: digital recordings, the Internet, high speed cable, and Netflix. They failed to grasp the trajectory of the change and went bankrupt because of it in 2010. I may be showing my age by referring to Blockbuster, but it’s a superb example of the lack of good leadership, flexibility, and adaptability of a company.
On the flip side, how about the business plan of Amazon? They started as an online marketplace for books and saw an under-served market, wanted to simplify people’s lives, create a direct and fast way to serve customers’ needs, and built a company from nothing to being one of the Big Five companies in the U.S. The company has been referred to as “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world,”¹ as well as the world’s most valuable brand. Flexibility and adaptability made Amazon what it is today and what it envisions for the future. They not only adapted, they drove the change that shaped the future.
Another great saying that I refer to often is from early country musician, Jimmy Dean, who said:
“I can’t change the direction of the
wind, but I can adjust my sails to
always reach my destination.”
As we move forward with our merger and conversion with Dollar Bank, both banks are looking to not only be flexible and adapt, but to help drive the future of community banking. Dollar Bank is committed to its customers, associates, and communities in a way rarely seen in banking. Culturally, the organization promotes flexibility and adaptability more than any organization for which I have worked.
As we move into 2022, Jim McQuade, Dollar Bank CEO and Standard Bank CEO, and I are dedicated to keeping our customers and employees informed about what is happening, why it is happening, and the reasons it is happening. You have our commitment that we will keep you well informed and provide our employees with the best-in-class training and education to ensure an outstanding banking experience for years to come. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of our bank as we adjust our sails for new era of community banking.