If you don’t know what a Hydro Flask® is, just ask any self-respecting 13-year-old. A Hydro Flask will carry anything. You want tea? Put tea in it. You want water? Put water in it. Whatever you want, you can take with you in your Hydro Flask.
Because of its design, you can slip the slender Hydro Flask into a backpack. You can throw it in the backseat of a car and have the dog sit on it. You can drop it through the bleachers. It’s sturdy. It’s light. It's very anti-fragile. You can take from it what you want, but you can take it wherever you are. That’s the model we need to look at as we go forward.
There are three things we can do to help us get there:
First, we’ve got to put ourselves in the shoes of people experiencing today’s pain points and answer those pain points. My best example (this seems like years ago when I actually went to airports and flew places ...) I was willing to take money and put it in my Uber account and let it sit there earning nothing, because, if I did that, when I landed and was in line at the airport to get to my hotel, I was going to get one of the first five cars, because I had loaded that cash on my card.
The next thing we need to do is go back to what every CEO wants (low-cost deposits, core relationship growth, asset quality, non-interest income, and brand equity). Taken together those 5 things create value, and we need to not think that value can only be created 1 or 2 ways. Here are examples of ways we can create value:
Right-size your cost structure. If there’s one thing that COVID has taught us, I think it’s that we can be a lot more efficient in ways that we had not realized. Banking used to be largely activity-based, but now must be results-based because a machine is (or should be) doing the heavy lifting for activity-based things.
Create new revenue streams. Can you be the solar energy lender across the country or across the region? Can you be the premier provider of medical equipment for dental clinics? Are there ways that you can differentiate yourself and take the geography out of your footprint? Adding a market makes sense, and acquiring deposits always adds value, so long as they’re not all CDs.
Don’t fool yourself. Because you’re buying new technology, you don’t automatically have a plan. You’ve got to figure out how to leverage all of the things you’re going to do with that technology.
Finally, transition from incremental to transformation in everything you do. Since day one, I have never seen a plan from any financial institution that didn’t say, “Well, in 2020, we had a 4% loan growth and a 6% deposit growth. So, in 2021, we’re going to shoot for a 5% loan growth and a 7 ...” We have to stop thinking in terms of growing by a small incremental change over the previous year and start understanding that transformational change has to have a different metric.
In short … Don’t be driven by fear. Be driven by what’s important and relevant and will help you get the 5 things every CEO needs to get done. You’ll be useful. Strong. Portable. And powerful.