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When you have to see the world for the way it really is

September 7, 2007

Denying the Outside Truth at your own risk

Just about every company I have ever run or advised had one thing in common –it took an Outside Truth which could not be denied to force them to action.

Their cultures have a groupthink orientation and everyone who wishes to remain in good graces will adhere to the accepted ‘internal religion’ until an undeniable outside event takes place, such as a new competitor. An example:

A Sunbelt bank thought its local contacts, comfortable feel and long standing in the community was all they needed to keep their private banking customers. Service was fine, and the Bank was doing well, unless you looked at the leading indicator of Trust Prospects Lost to Competitors, which is hard to calculate.

After years of good local growth through their home state and surrounding states, a migration of retiring babyboomers started to move in. These people went into the retail branches, opened accounts with some pretty big initial deposits and that was that –the Trust Bank was never notified that a new high net worth individual had moved in and was a new customer entitled to the very best service. The internal groupthink was that the new customer would call the Trust Bank because they just knew it was the only thing to do.

Then the OUTSIDE TRUTH occurred:
A national competitor, much more aggressive, entered the market to mine this new customer base.

The end result was a scramble to link the Retail and Trust Banks (2 separate legal and operating entities) into a common push for new Trust customers. Unfortunately, they had let a major predator into their barnyard and within 24 months, the Bank was sold. If they had not waited for the Outside Truth of the new competitor, this could have been avoided.

 

Rich Eichen is the Founder and a Managing Principal of Return on Efficiency, LLC, who’s website is http://www.growroe.com and is one of their senior turnaround leaders/CROs, Program and Interim Executives with over 25 years’ experience reshaping companies, Operations, IT and key initiatives. He can be reached atrichard.eichen@growroe.com

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