Building and Managing a Team of Star Performers
Dave Paulson, Kevin McNamara, Stan Sluder and Ed White
The banking industry is facing a potential crisis in the coming years, as many experienced commercial lenders will be hitting retirement age. These lenders produce the lion's share of the loan growth and profits in most banks, and there is a dearth of talent waiting to replace them. Join Kevin McNamara from Vertical IQ as he hosts a panel of top lending executives to discuss how they are building and managing teams of high performing lenders.
Kevin McNamara: I’m Kevin McNamara with Vertical IQ at out of Raleigh. I had the good fortune about a year ago of … A good friend, Rollie Tillman, introduced me to the Precision Lending crowd, and it was a great day to meet Carl. A one-hour meeting turned into a four-hour meeting, and a year later we formed a partnership and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s fun to sit on stage with these three gentlemen today. First of all, they’re top banking professionals, to talk about a very meaningful topic in our world. Also, two of the three are customers, and one’s going to be a customer soon, so it’s always good to have folks up here that are friendly.
Then as we prepare for this session, I actually thought it was really nice, a good topic, and when Dallas and Brandi talked to me about, and had a little training call with us, I said, “I’ve got the best topic of the day. I’ve got three great guys, who’d be very experienced folks, great topic. It’s going to be easy.” Then all of a sudden Brandi says, “You’ve got 35 minutes,” and these guys on the phone start nodding, “Yeah, 35 minutes per person should be fine, Brandi.” She said, “No, just 35 in total.” It’s a great topic. We have very experienced and knowledgeable folks, and we’re going to start off with each of them giving some stories about their institution and some things they’ve done in their career and things they’ve seen that have been successful.
We really want the session to be as interactive as possible. I realize it’s 4:30, late in the day, but we really want to have your ideas, and I always think this kind of session, the best thing to happen is you get one or two take aways. Steal these ideas shamelessly and try to reinvent them in your institution. That’s how we’re going to start and we’ll go right online. We’d like to have as much of your participation as early as possible, and if not, I’m sure we can turn it into a nice full session up here. With that in mind I’m going to kick it off, Building and Managing a Team of Star Performers, a very hot topic, especially with the bankers getting a little up in the age range now. Millennials are a big challenge for us, so we’re going to start off with Dave Paulson, from United Bank in Connecticut, and have him share some ideas and go right down the line from there. With that, we’re off and running. Dave?
Dave Paulson: Thank you. I threw out my entire script after the prior presentation. I’m only now focused on training computers and robots, so that’s all I got.
Kevin McNamara: That’s it. No, just kidding.
Dave Paulson: You know, what we do as an industry, and what we’re doing at United Bank, is really not all that novel. It’s not splitting the atom. It’s incrementally improving every day on a host of discreet processes, and you saw when they were interviewing the customer this morning, how when any one of those elements or any one of those components in your overall process fails, you really find that out after the fact when it’s too late, and so what we’ve been really working on is starting at our organization in training our front line managers far better. If you think about it, your front line managers have probably the biggest impact on your organization.
It’s certainly not me, and quite frankly, your customer, your immediately customer facing folks have a major impact, but every HR study will tell you that you lose your employees based on the relationship with your immediate supervisor. Those immediate supervisors are also the people that are going to make the go/no decision and the other United, as in United Airlines, found that out in spades, right? They could have solved the problem with relatively modest cost, and instead they wiped out millions and perhaps billions of dollars of market share.
What we’re focusing on is really driving the coaching in the moment around all of those discreet processes such that whether it’s making sure that that banker shows up educated so the guy doesn’t feel like they don’t ask the right questions. They didn’t ask any questions. Instead they came up with that glorified PowerPoint that said, “Hey, look at me and my organization.” You know what? The clients don’t … Prospects even more-so, they don’t care about that. It’s our bankers’ job to get that out of them, and you literally go through that continuum. How do you make the speed needs of going through our credit process better? How do you then retain the banker, which you heard of the turnover? Then how do you retain the client? Both again, very discreet issue.
Kevin McNamara: I believe, David, when we talked before, you mentioned that most employees make the decision as to whether or not they made the right decision to join your company in 90 days?
Dave Paulson: Yeah. Studies would say that your employee, across every industry, makes that decision mentally, and often emotionally, and sadly sometimes even physically and leaves, within 60 to 90 days and says, “Boy, did I make the right decision?” Or “Wow, I wish I never came here.”
Kevin McNamara: That’s interesting. One of the things we’re focusing on a lot, you’ll hear these gentlemen talk about today is some onboarding. I think it applies to whether you work for a financial institution or for another service provider. The first 60, 90 days is important. You certainly can’t wing the onboarding process. Stan, you want to share some stuff from Los Alamos Bank, please, and your background?
Stan Sluder: Sure. Los Alamos National Bank, of course, splitting atoms is actually something that’s easy for our customers to do at Los Alamos, but banking those folks isn’t as easy. We’ve turned over our entire C-Suite in the last three and a half years, and I’ve turned over the entire commercial lending team. We’ve replaced 75% of the commercial lending team in the last 12 months, so it’s been a lot of change. Really, the recruiting process and the onboarding process, for us, starts with the interview. We’re looking for three things when we interview potential new hires. One is an innate passion for helping others.
We’re looking for naturally collaborative people, people that don’t want to be a lone wolf and recognize that the strength is in the wolf pack not in the individual wolf, and then finally people that are passionate for excellence. Our interview process starts with them being able to tell us stories about how they’ve exhibited those three qualities in the past. If they pass that part of the interview, then everything else is a lot easier because we’re really trying to hire them for culture, and then we can teach them how to use the tools that we’ve got for them, such as Precision Lender, but they’ll pick that up because our processes are designed to bring out those three qualities in folks.
When I left this conference last year and went back, and we started a high potential program where we brought bankers in from every different discipline of the bank, back office, middle office, and customer facing folks, and we identified them as the next potential leaders of the bank. They’re going through a pretty well designed process to learn cross pollination between different departments because that doesn’t happen in today’s banking world like it did when we were coming up. Then we also get them some just cultural training and leadership training to go along with that. Then we give them real business problems that they’ll start to solve now and present to the board by the end of the fall. That’s kind of how we see the ability to try to attract, retain, and then develop our most talented bankers.
Kevin McNamara: One of the things I remember that Stan mentioned earlier was something that I’ve actually done before in my career, and tell me if I’m wrong, Stan, but sometimes we just assume that certain things motivate your employees, and we assume that everyone kind of looks and feels like us. If we’re motivated by money or by time off, or whatever it is, we assume that all other folks who are around us or work for us are that way. Stan, tell me if I’m wrong, but I believe you said you basically just ask your employees, “What motivates you?” Have them tell you, is that right?
Stan Sluder: That’s right. I get to know that about our employees when they come on board, and that way when I do find an opportunity to recognize you for something I know what those things are and I’m not trying to give a gift certificate to a banker who’s going home to four young kids every night. Give them something that they can use that they’ll value.
Kevin McNamara: Right. I think I remember in my career I’ve actually handed out a piece of paper that said, “What motivates me,” didn’t put any lines on it. Some folks would give you a full dossier back of long things. Some folks would put a dollar sign and turn it in. There was no guidance to it. You know, then, like you’re saying, Stan, you know at a function, if a person says they’re really motivated by recognition, I gave them a lot recognition. If a person said money was the thing, I’d try to always talk about their incentive to them, or whatever it was, their pay. I think if you talk in that employee’s language, like you’re saying, it really helps a lot. I’m going to ask Ed, from Pinnacle International Bank to give us some perspective. I know you’ve got some fun onboarding procedures down there in Nashville. Ed, if you could share a little bit with us.
Ed White: Yeah, I’m Ed White with Pinnacle Bank in Nashville, Tennessee, and I have kind of a distinct advantage over most of you all, in that Pinnacle was only formed in the year 2000, so it was a de novo bank, so we really had a blank piece of paper on which we could establish what we do believe, as Lisa McCloud described today, our noble purpose, and one of our missions and visions that we began to talk about was to be the best place to work for each individual, and we call them associates rather than employees, and the best bank in every facet in serving our clients in the state of Tennessee, which we were confined to middle Tennessee then, then Tennessee. As part of that process, hiring would be the single most important strategy of the bank.
We look for, much like Stan described, those characteristics, and complemented by character, honor, and integrity, as the three foundational components of any and every individual that’s going to come work for Pinnacle Bank. Without those three … I’ve often used the analogy I’ve got four children who have grown and gone, but if they were six, eight, 10 and 12 years old, with my wife, that if I had that person to my home for dinner, and I had to ask myself the question, “Am I going to be concerned about what this person’s going to say in front of my children and wife?” If the answer is yes, I don’t care what kind of production the person will provide.
That person’s gone and will never enter the halls of Pinnacle Bank because we have a team focus strategy. As Kevin said, we do a three-day orientation period for any and every associate that starts with Pinnacle. We’re in the process right now of acquiring Bank of North Carolina, and there are approximately 800 employees to become new associates. Every one of those people will go through a three-day program that will clearly show what our work environment is expected to be, what our life balance with work, family, children, et cetera, outside activities should be, and what we strive to do mostly for the differentiation in client service delivery from, as Stan said, a genuine, heartfelt desire to serve others, to facilitate their success.
Kevin McNamara: Ed, when you do this three-day onboarding, if you will, you move around some. I believe you said you have one in Charleston. I volunteer to go to that with you next time. Is it for every level of employee?
Ed White: Every level of employee, a receptionist all the way to the CEO. As a matter of fact, we had some of the executives from Bank of North Carolina in about three weeks ago, and the CEO to the receptionist, every single one will go through this three-day program, again, focus on culture, and then focus on what the individual departments from a product, expertise standpoint, and then just some great partnering exercises so that they see that this is intended to be a family and not just a nine, 10 hour workplace to go to then go home.
Kevin McNamara: That’s great. That’s great. Again, we don’t want to get too far down the road of a session of talking heads, so we want to include questions, comments, from the crowd here, and also we thought we might suggest some of your experiences. Sometimes the best learnings come from not only your good experiences but your challenges. Folks, you don’t have to name the company if you had a bad experience, but wherever you joined, maybe it was not so positive, if you want to share those and try to address those. Anybody in the room have a comment or question, or a really good experience to share, either the current employer or previous one? … Well, keep thinking of those and what we’ll do is keep the …
Ed White: It’s late in the afternoon, we realize.
Kevin McNamara: Yeah, that’s right, but we want to keep the conversation going with these guys. We’ve got some really good minds here, and what they suggest, and I really think it’s great, is we’re trying to provide our two … We could go forever on several topics, but the main thing we’re focusing on is prospecting for talent and onboarding and then the retaining, motivation, and coaching of top talent, so let’s maybe look at the first one a little bit, the prospecting for top talent. Any secrets you guys have, in any order, of how you’ve prospected for top talent whether it’s … I say top talent. It could be top level talent, like C level. Stan, you said you turned over your whole C level for the bank, down to commercial bankers, business bankers, retail bankers. Any secrets of success you have there for those?
Dave Paulson: Yeah. We’ve found one thing that’s pretty beneficial for us, is just as I acquire my commercial bankers to prospect and have a strategic plan around prospecting, I require all of my leaders to have a talent acquisition plan. We call it human trafficking. I mean, it’s kind of joked, but we’re constantly, always, always, always, looking to find people not when we have the opening, but at every minute of every day, and so you know, I myself look to interview two people every week. It’s sort of lead by behavior and then work our way through the program. If you keep that, you’re constantly building relationships and when that inevitable change occurs, or you’re in a growth mode, you’ve got five, six, seven people sort of short listed for those roles.
Kevin McNamara: It sounds like you’re interviewing each week, whether you have an opening or not. You’re just keeping the stable ready.
Dave Paulson: Correct, and the other thing that’s kind of interesting is you know, it’s the classic case, just like when we’re prospecting for a business and they say, “Oh, well, I’m fine with my bank.” The best thing that could ever come out of a banker when I’m interviewing them is, “Yeah. I’m really happy where I’m at.” Perfect. I don’t want to hire the guy that’s miserable. I don’t. I want to find that star performer that’s really good, and grab them and inculcate their culture into mine and make my culture better.
Kevin McNamara: We had some training years ago by MZ Bierly when I was at RBC Bank, and they actually said the same thing on the client acquisition side. They said, “If you call a customer, the best thing you can hear is ‘I’m pretty happy with my bank, and I value my banker,'” because now you have something to strive for. If they say, “Yeah, come see me right now,” they’ve probably got a tough credit situation they’re working out of, right? Stan, any other things on the prospecting for talent you’ve done, especially where you’ve seen it work well?
Stan Sluder: When we got there, one of the things we decided to do was really focus on culture. We think it’s really … We don’t think it exists, a culture that’s both comfortable for the mediocre performer and desirable to the top performer, and so we tried to create a culture that would attract top performers and we measure that two ways. One is are we getting referrals from our existing employees of their friends or former co-workers where they came from? Then also, are the middle of the road and the bottom performers, are they opting out on their own because the culture’s just that uncomfortable for them? We really try to focus on culturally being a place where those folks are naturally attracted to.
Kevin McNamara: I’ve seen some institutions or some companies actually reward employees financially or some gift of some kind when they would refer an employee who’s hired later on, whether it be a teller or a banker. They actually would reward the referring employee. Anything …
Ed White: It’s interesting. We were really a combination of what both Dave and Stan talked about. We don’t accept resumes basically. We will only hire somebody if somebody in our organization knows very well, and I’m talking about commercial lenders, and we call them financial advisors, rather, relationship managers. We’re a very flat organization. For the national low intensity market we’ve got basically 22 financial advisors or commercial REMs and they all report to me, which you can’t do that in a normal large bank institution, but these people have to have a minimum of 10 years of experience of dealing with clients.
The guys in our group, and guys being generic, average 32 years in banking in middle Tennessee. Very much like Dave, we have sales meetings, pipeline type meetings on Monday, but we also have a senior management meeting at which one of the major topics from the eight senior management people in the company is our hiring prospect list. We go over those, and we have a defined path of introducing ourselves, trying to move from home plate to first base to second base, even if we don’t need anybody at that point, but to create those relationships of knowledge, especially of the younger people in our community. It’s worked really well. We’ve lost three people in 17 years, and each of those three were mutually agreeable changes of job position.
I think all three of us would say, and you would say, it’s an extraordinary fiduciary responsibility that you have as a leader when you hire somebody, because you are recruiting them believing, thinking, convincing them, that your bank is the exact right place for them to be. We really take it to heart that this person is going to be highly successful in the way that Pinnacle defines success, which is a team oriented atmosphere and if you make a wrong choice, you’ve impacted an entire family, and we all know. We’ve seen that, and so we take to heart very, very dearly that we hire the right person for the right job. We don’t hire for people to move around. I don’t think there’s been a single person in our group in 17 years that’s moved to another part of the bank. Our lenders have stayed there. They want to do that for the rest of their career, and thus far it’s been extremely successful.
Dave Paulson: It’s interesting because Ed and I were having this conversation at lunch, that I’m almost in the opposite stage, is that we’re in a pretty densely populated region up in New England and we were standing in line for lunch and I posed the question to two of the younger folks from Precision Lender as to how many times did they expect to change their job in their career, and unlike what you were saying about people being around for 17 years, they kind of quickly … Eight, and the other said 12. Wow. 12 times. Think of that. If you’re trying to retain talent and you’re trying to acquire talent, be clear.
They are either going to break up with you, or they’re going to at least want to do something else in your organization. If they’re good, to motivate them and retain them, you need to be prepared to think of strategies that either make them want to stay in that chair for 17 years and motivate them, or create a platform for them to move somewhere else in your organization and do something different. That’s hugely dislocating because most managers get sort of really selfish. “Mary’s really good. I don’t really want to let Mary go.” Somebody in finance would be like, “Yeah, Mary’s really good, and I want Mary over here,” or Mary may say, “I don’t want to be with either of them. I want to go over to IT.” We have to provide, as an industry, the ability to do that.
Kevin McNamara: That’s a good point. That’s a really good point. Ed, talking about … Well, he has some firsthand knowledge. Chris [inaudible 00:20:18] of Vertical IQ is here, and he works with Chip Higgins, who works for you. Before we came here, Chip was just raving about you and said … I don’t think he wanted anything out of it. He was just raving about you, and then when I got here you said you hired him four times.
Ed White: I’ve hired him four different times. Yeah.
Kevin McNamara: That speaks volumes there, as well. Then Dave, I think this millennial generation, we have to not think like us. I’m 49 next month. If we keep thinking like us, at my stage, we’re going to miss the mark. This millennial generation, I think, really wants to try different things, more casual work environment, casual work hours, and with this day of automation and cellphones, folks can work from anywhere.
Dave Paulson: I agree.
Kevin McNamara: Anything from the crowd? Questions or comments, or good experiences? Any questions you want to ask of these guys?
Speaker 5: For Stan, you had said you had 75% turnover in your commercial lending area in about 12 months. Was that organization driven and cultural change? Low performance driven? What really caused you … That’s a huge … I couldn’t imagine trying to replace 75% of my commercial lending team in 12 months, so I’m curious to what caused that.
Stan Sluder: It was several things. One, we completely revamped the credit culture, and some of the folks decided they didn’t want to make the change. Now, if they were going back to work in banking, they were going to make the change anyway. We were just one of the last ones to integrate some of that. Some of it was performance. Once we started putting the performance metrics out there and publishing how the teams and individuals were doing, some folks just opted out because they didn’t want to see their name at the bottom of the page, and then others were just performance related. We had to turn them loose into the marketplace.
Ed White: I would tell you that … Obviously each of you out in the audience are leaders, and there’s a huge differential when you’ve got a group of people that are dependent upon you for their success or perception of success in the company, that you really lead them and not just manage them, and you lead them in a way such that they know that they have the freedom or flexibility of choice in how they do their business as long as they get to the end zone and score a touchdown. That’s one of the reasons why I think we’ve retained our people. Our 21 guys, there are probably 17 different styles. We don’t do things like a lot of us did in our younger days of having call quotas and sales quotas and this and this. We work hard. We have way above all the Gallup poll portfolio per manager and contribution dollars per individual, salary multiples and so forth.
I think it’s because these people know that we tell them that their family is the first thing in their life, and their work comes after making sure they take care of their family. If he has a kid that has a baseball game, or a daughter that has a softball game or whatever, I tell those guys that’s the only time I’m going to be curious what you’re doing because you need to be with your family. This work thing can occur later, and when you create an atmosphere like that, people want to work there. I want them going home with a lot of good juice in their battery so they can take care of their families in the right way, and I promise you the whole family is part of our company: the kids, the spouse, as well as the individual who works in the group. When somebody wakes up on Monday and says, “Hey, it’s a great day. I get to go back to work,” you know you’ve got a successful organization.
Kevin McNamara: Question, Trevor. You got a question?
Trevor: Yeah, Ed, you kind of beat me to the punch, but I wanted to know what you all do to encourage a good family/work/life balance with your employees.
Ed White: Sure. We do lots of things internally. We have a picnic during the year. We have a time where all employees, all associates will go to the Sounds Minor League Baseball. We have monthly meetings so that every person in the company has the ability and availability of knowing all the information about the performance of the company. We have book clubs that … In fact, Lisa McCloud’s book would be a very good one for our book club. We try to have events where the spouses are involved, and I personally try to do a lot of conversation with regard to the spouses, and even encourage those with little kids.
My kids are 39 down to 30, and I’ve got eight grandchildren now, but I encourage them to bring their small kids to work with them, let them see where Dad works. Take them down to the GooGoo Factory and to the Spaghetti House, and you can see the excitement. That’s the assistants as well as the financial advisors, all the way throughout. You just see a gleam on their face when their little three-year-old, four-year-old, five-year-old, six-year-old’s walking around all excited, and we genuinely are excited about having them there.
Stan Sluder: One of the things Lisa talked about last year, and she touched on this morning was how proud she was of her dad as a banker, and I know my kids have expressed that to me. They’re grown too, but I think that’s the other part of it, is to make sure our bankers go home and they’re proud of what they do, and they know what they do matters to the economy, to the communities, to their neighbors and friends, and that way they’re … I think that does charge their batteries as well as what they do at work.
Kevin McNamara: Another question?
Speaker 7: Yeah. I’ve got a question.
Kevin McNamara: Comment?
Speaker 7: Question. Well, maybe I’ll start with a comment, or a statement. I would argue sometimes that a team of individual all-stars doesn’t always make a great team. Do you guys … If you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear about that, but if you agree, what are some of the things you do in hiring or even working with your team to make sure you’ve got complimentary skill sets such that you do have a true team of star performers instead of just a bunch of all-stars that aren’t a great team?
Kevin McNamara: Any of you guys?
Dave Paulson: It’s a great question. It’s hard to find good diversity across every definition of diversity, but I think your thought particularly was around skill set. I very much look to get folks on my team that are very different in their thought processes, and the reason I do that is because I’m a big believer in the fact that we all have blind spots, and to be able to have an environment where you have folks that think differently, that have different operating norms, that have different experiences, whether those are always lived in one place or traveled internationally, I think if you do that then you encourage open dialog.
You encourage the healthy exchange … You know, you heard this morning that if the argument is about profit, then that’s a no-win. That’s me against you. When you’re arguing about why we have a difficult customer situation, and that could be an internal customer or an external customer. That’s when you need that true diversity of opinion, because if everybody goes, “Yeah, those darn credit guys,” or, “Yeah, IT screwed …” That’s not where you get to a good place as an organization.
Stan Sluder: I think we’ve got star performers in … I mean, traditionally you think about those as the folks that makes the rain, right, the folks that are out making calls and those are important folks to have, but we’ve got to have star performers in credit analysis and we’ve got to have star performers in collections. I need somebody that’s a star performer that gets excited about making phone calls and getting tax returns faxed in and getting those uploaded, the right form and both sides, and all that stuff that I don’t have any interest in at all. Those aren’t the same people but they all got to be a star performer in their role.
Ed White: One of the most important things that we did in the very beginning, as a cultural priority, is to ensure that everybody that joins Pinnacle in the beginning days were given stock options. Of course, now today because of accounting procedures they’re stock grants, and everybody is involved in an incentive bonus program. Some of you may be there. I came from a place where the … Again I’ll use the word REM, since most of you use REM, where only the REM got the bonus and the assistant was sitting there thinking, “Well doggone, what did I do … If I hadn’t done this, he would never have gotten there,” or the credit analyst, so forth. Every single person in our company gets a bonus.
There’s some differentiation, obviously, but everybody is involved in that bonus, and I promise you, that gets everybody playing on the same field with the same thought process of cost containment, of how about, “Why aren’t you charging an origination fee on this loan?” So forth, so forth, and so it’s a total team effort of positive, team oriented people, and I’ve never been in a situation, and having played sports all my life, I have been involved with the star players. The quarterback and the tailback and the receiver get all the attention, but the lineman, the center and the guard doesn’t get a whole lot, and we truly hire the all-stars, but they buy in to the concept of, “I’m no more important than the guy who’s delivering the mail up and down the floors, and it takes all of us to get the job done and we work as a team.”
If we have, and there have been cases where there’s been a guy who’s been a high producer at another bank, who after some significant kind of detective work you determine this guy’s a prima donna. He treats his assistant like a dog, and I’ll never talk to that guy. It only takes one person to ruin the culture that you’ve got built up, but our best guy in our group, our best producer, he will try to ensure that he gives stuff to other people, as far as loans and deposit opportunities, to ensure their success.
That’s how far that type of teamwork, we win, not I win, on my scorecard mentality, that we’ve been able to take it … Now, it’s tested now. We’re not a new bank. We’re, gosh right at 11 1/2 billion dollars and getting ready to close a 7 1/2 billion dollar acquisition, so we’ll be a 20 billion dollar bank with 2,000 employees. It’s tougher each time, but again, it goes back … Hiring is that foundation, and if you compromise your hiring, you’re going to compromise your noble purpose and you’re going to compromise your culture and your work environment.
Dave Paulson: Even if you do hire well, they don’t always remain true to their first six months, and so you need to acknowledge that. That’s where the other side comes into the presentation is around the coaching, right? That’s one of the hardest things that all of us do, and it’s back to that other point I said, that that front line manager is so critical to how your customers perceive the bank, and that’s through the eyes of the employees. Then how you coach those people, I mean, we do provide a fair amount of measurement in our organization, but I try to drive home the idea that that’s for a coachable learning moment. That’s not an opportunity to put somebody on a stack ranking and say, “Boy, look, Joe’s not really doing that well. Let’s give Mary more accolades this month because she’s always on the top of the list.”
That’s not the point. The point is when an employee is failing, that’s 50%, in my mind, the manager’s fault as it is the employee. Now, ultimately you may find that play out, but I give the analogy … I’ve done … Well, I’ll ask the audience. How many of you have coached youth sports? Raise of hands. Okay, so how many of you would acknowledge that coaching a 10-year-old is not that dissimilar from coaching a 50-year-old? Show of hands. All right, so here’s the fascinating thing about that is that even as good as a 50-year-old might be, they still need to be acknowledged. They still need to be reoriented.
They still need to be taught things, and you can’t always assume that just because they’ve been doing something really well for a long time they’re still going to execute at a very high level. That’s where really good coaching comes in. I make the analogy with my leaders that we’ve all seen that parent that stands behind the dugout, and they scream, “Hit the ball.” Really? You think that kid doesn’t realize when he’s got a helmet on his head and he’s standing at home plate that his job there is to hit the ball? Well, how many managers have we seen in our careers that go, “Come on. Book some more loans. Get some deposits.” Really? Is that your management? You owe it to your leaders to get after them to coach, to teach, to create followership, not just sort of demonstrate your leadership. That’s one of the things that we talked a lot about.
Kevin McNamara: That’s great. I’d love to hear from … If there’s a Precision Lender employee in the room, and if not, I might brag on to you all a little bit myself what I know [outside 00:34:09] looking in. I know at Vertical IQ, every employee gets 1,000 stock options, first day, no matter what level it is. We get four weeks vacation plus holidays, first day, a very casual environment. There’s a lot of young folks there, but in bragging on Precision Lender, Chris and I go there a fair amount with Jenny and Carl, and it just seems to be a very positive atmosphere. Folks are casually dressed usually. There’s always fruit and fresh snacks and water’s available. It’s just a very positive atmosphere. People come and go, it seems like, in a very uplifted way. I don’t know if there’s anybody from the PL team to comment on that. I’d love that. If not, I’ll [inaudible 00:34:44] some more.
Speaker 8: I’ll make someone do it.
Dave Paulson: She’s [inaudible 00:34:47] questions.
Speaker 9: Hi. I’m Jess at Precision Lender. Kevin is right. Precision Lender’s a really great place to work. I actually hear a lot of similarities with the stories that have been shared today, but it is a place where I think a lot of the things Ed has said, where you … One of our kind of guiding principles is we hire adults and we treat them as such, so if you need to go home and wait for the cable guy, if you have to go cut out early to see a kid’s baseball game, that’s highly encouraged. We know that you know your job. You know what you have to get done, and you’re going to do what it takes to get there, and I think when you empower employees to make those decisions, they respect the employer. They respect colleagues. Everyone’s kind of on the same page, so it makes it a good place to work. The snacks help too.
Kevin McNamara: I believe you have an open vacation policy too. I believe just get the job done, right? Now, I am conscious of time. We have a very important event to close the day out here. We’ve got some awards to give out. One of Stan’s guys is getting an award, so we don’t want to short change that. Anybody else from the crowd want to add any comments or questions? Anybody on the stage here, guys? I think we’re running pretty on time, Dallas, here? We’re doing pretty good? We’ve got time if anybody wants to add anything and if not we’ll turn it back to Dallas and we’ll go to the awards. Anything else?
Great, well, thanks for listening to us and for taking time to look at this very important topic. Guys, thanks a lot. Great … I would encourage you also, now you kind of know these guys, I’d encourage you to meet them in the hallway and ask them some more questions about their culture, about their practices. As I said, two of these guys we’ve worked with for awhile and the one in the middle we’re going to be getting pretty soon at Vertical IQ, so we know these guys pretty well, and very happy to be up here with you guys. Thanks for your time, very much. Thank you, everybody.
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