by tom on March 22nd, 2012
My experience with the banking industry is making deposits, car loans, mortgages and checking accounts. When I look at that industry on a macro level, I just “see” bundles of paper and money moving through the economy … lots a strategy, modeling, forecasting, leveraging, risk management and process improvement. You know – the MBA stuff ( think Bank of America, Citibank and J.P. Morgan Chase ). The industry requires the best and brightest people and a high leadership competency. Can you imagine what it’s been like and that industry since the financial calamity of 2007 – 2008 … that continues today?
What a contrast, then, to read about the inside story of a bank success that results in a different set of principles and competencies then just moving money into the highest returning buckets.
Considering the current mortgage–default–foreclosure crisis: who would think to stage 51 “Home Preservation Workshops” over the last three years?
Answer: Wells Fargo. In the process of helping people stay in their homes, they forgave customers a total of $4 billion. Why? The reporter for Forbes magazine article (February 13, 2012 issue) wrote, “rather than hiring PR firms to spend its way out of the mess, the overriding business mission is keeping customers in their homes and regaining the trust of their customers, one by one, face-to-face.”
In my view, a successful enterprise starts with a vision and mission to serve the customer. And, at an even higher level, to serve humanity. Here, in Part 1 of 3, are a few highlights from the article, confirming that servant leadership inspires performance.
1. CEO John Stumpf, on his people: “we call our employees team members, not employees. Employees denote an expense to be managed. Team members are an asset to be invested in”.
2. Vision and values: the company has a 37 page team member guide signed by Stumpf, full of warmed-over prescriptions for how to behave, treat customers and, above all, increase revenue.
3. History: Wells Fargo invests in their legend and lore by creating and maintaining family-friendly Wells Fargo museums in 11 of its biggest markets. Stagecoach images and models fill every empty space and link to the frontier history that Wells is happy to exploit for propaganda purposes (it was started by the two founders of American Express 1852 to provide banking services for the California gold rush, and quickly took over the western half of the Pony Express).
In our next blog post this week, we will continue our review of leadership practices that propel Wells Fargo’s success. How successful? Stay tuned!Tags: heart of leadership, leadership character, performance through people