Taking a nap isn’t a crime, but falling asleep at the switch could cause a disaster
History teaches good lessons if bankers would listen. One of my ancestors (Archimedes) discovered the concept of the lever. He said, in his native tongue, “Dosé mou ena stereo meros na statho, ke tha kouneeso to cosmos” (my words). Translation: “Give me a solid foundation to stand on, and I will move the Earth.”
I am still looking for cement trucks that are pouring foundations – virtual or otherwise – for the new normal of banking, but I can’t find them. Bankers are really confused as to how to succeed in their own business. But like Johnny Lee, I might have been lookin’ in all the wrong places.
For the past fifteen years, I have been a consultant to bank tech vendors. Their idea not mine, and it worked. Before that (for 28 years) I was a consultant to banks, my idea and it worked also. Most vendors are on the right path, so I think it’s time to go back and help banks.
There’s only one way to say this. These days, some bankers, especially the top four, don’t know what they are doing, with regard to technology, customers, strategy, performance, marketing, compliance, methods of delivery, and their treatment of employees. What else is there? Their world changed, but they didn’t see it coming. The disruptors saw, and they jumped in. It seems that the words of General George Patton apply to today’s banking dilemma: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
I am focusing on the first option – lead. In doing so, I have resurrected the Gillis Tool Box, 36 tools that I once used to create a path to success using technology. Granted, it needs a team of craftsmen, but I always found them in the banks, ready, willing and able to serve. When I put out the call to come forward, I was amazed that 35 people would always show up. My clients were mid-tier banks, the sweet spot in banking. No titles were displayed; no age distinctions were visible; no dress code caught my eye; gender was equal. All I saw were bright faces. All I heard were cheers. I even heard laughter when I mocked them for being afraid to speak out before.
Like the lever, once you see a long pole and a fulcrum, intuition automatically kicks in, and you get to work. We were all workers and we all showed up at the final presentation, typically at a Motel 6 where they left the light on for us, because it was after daylight so the team could do their day-job. There is power in good people. We always got our plan approved, which was called “Getting a Better System to Handle the Future.” And the regulators rubber-stamped the four-inch-thick loose leaf binder one year later after reading every word. The grade was a #1.
Menelaos Athanasios Gkilas, American by birth, philosopher by living the life