Face FWD. Learn FWD. Lead FWD.


Adapting to today’s world of constant change

By Lindsay LaNore

Have you ever had one of those moments where you cannot help but think how significant and progressive a certain function has become?

Picture a busy airport terminal with flights departing and arriving each minute and people traveling to more destinations than one can count. These days, we can hop on a plane and go nearly anywhere, whenever we want. That is a remarkable transformation from the early days of the Wright brothers and single-prop planes.

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This concept of incredible transformation can be applied to our community banking world as well. The technologies, people, customer demands, regulations, financial risks, examiner expectations and workforces are all changing our banks. To some, this rapid evolution may be nerve-wracking, but to most community bank leaders it means just another day in this less-than-traditional banking world.

Think about the industry changes that have already occurred. Our customer transactions have evolved from being solely in our lobbies to include telephone banking and online e-banking. The invention of the ATM provided for “self-service” financial service and allowed a greater sense of anonymity to customers. The products banks offer customers have changed from checkbooks and passbook accounts to debit cards, remote deposit capture and virtual currency. We once initiated only direct mail and radio ads to market to our customers, and now we use the dynamic world of social media with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach out and engage the market.

In a digital environment, where kids and millennials (and even Gen Xers and baby boomers) are so screen happy, the ease and wherewithal that a community bank leader has when meeting these evolving demands and having the tough conversations will allow him or her to break down the challenges and find meaningful results.

Every community, both within and outside a bank, needs its leaders to evolve even before they ask. So lead the way. Remember that as a community bank leader, your view of the future is contagious. Keep it positive and impactful. But become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Does it sound easy? For some yes, and for others no. If it seems like a challenge to you, accept it. If you already feel confident in your leadership skills, continue to fine-tune them and share them with others. If you’re looking for ways to refine your leadership skills, look to both inside and outside sources for support.

As a community bank leader, you have the opportunity to develop ways to look around, above, over and behind the challenges that you face and plow through them. That is the beauty of all of this. As a community bank leader, you get to look beyond today.

No one said this leadership thing was going to be easy, but you have the opportunity to write your own book on leadership. You are your own author. So Face FWD, Learn FWD and Lead FWD.

Lindsay LaNore (linsday.lanore@icba.org) is ICBA’s executive vice president, Community Banker University.

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