So, You Got a New Responsibility Tacked on to Your Job…How Do You React?

by Frank Swiatek

Adding new responsibilities to present jobs is a common practice in organizations today as they strive on improving productivity.

I learned a valuable lesson early in my career on how to handle that situation in a professional way.

I was in a management training program for the M&T Bank when they had only 60 branches.  I was assigned to a $12 million branch office and reported to the Branch Manager, Brian Jakes.

The bank welcomed a new Executive Vice-President, Joe Brocato.  At a meeting of all the branch managers he made a stunning announcement.  He said, “We are going to turn this bank into a sales organization!”  He wanted the managers to make sales calls on businesses in their community as a way to drive revenue and get new customers (two of our Four Fundamentals in the book).  It was remarkable because at the time the branch managers were focusing their efforts on customer service and operations.  Banks, in general, were not viewed as sales organizations.

The resistance from the branch managers took many forms.  For instance, “I didn’t come to this bank to become a salesman!”  The most common reaction was for branch managers to ask for more employees so that they could spend time making calls.

My manager, Brian took an opposite approach with a different mindset.

First, he did not whine or complain.  He saw this as an opportunity to shine and he figured out what he had to do next.

He put together a delegation plan where he gave more decision making authority to his staff, which included employees like the Head Teller and the Commercial Lending Officer.
This released some time for him.

Finally, he said, “I am not going to ask for more employees.  I am going to get results first!”

To make a long story short, Brian cultivated business in his community through weekly sales calls and in a short period of time, he drove the bank from a $12 million branch to a $30 million branch (while some of the other branch managers were still complaining!).

Then, of course, all those new customers had to be serviced, which required a few more employees.

Do you think he had any problem getting new employees then?

His approach gave him the support that he needed.  The lesson?  Get results first with a new responsibility before you ask for support.

One more thing…Brian went on to become an Executive Vice-President of a Midwest Bank and eventually became president of his own bank in the south.

With his mindset, his growth was not surprising!

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