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Go out to lunch (or you’re out to lunch)

Innovation and changing your bank’s behaviors

Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission. Obvious and mediocre won’t be found here—but “Why didn’t I think of that?” will! Challenging the banking status quo is Dan Fisher’s personal mission.

It is hard to change!

It is hard to think differently!

It is hard to replace the old with something new, particularly when you may not fully understand or are uncomfortable with the concept because it counters what you have relied upon for so long.

I’m not Dr. Phil, but I will say change is not going to wait for you. But there is hope.

Innovation is the key to remaining relevant. Remaining relevant is key to being competitive, and being competitive translates into growing customers that want to do business with you.

Innovation can be just as exciting as discovering, because it can usher in a whole new view of things around you.

Again, it is hard to step back, grab something new, and make something out of it.

Of course, you are probably thinking that this is where he suggests yoga and finger painting, but not so fast. You need to take a step to change your circumstances.

Get out of your office and think

Innovation comes first by changing our behaviors. Select an environment that places you slightly out of balance.

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So, my first suggestion would be to take lunch outside with your key staff.

It’s not about the food. It’s about a breath of fresh air.

Make it a brown bag lunch at a park close by to the office.

And be sure that everyone but one designated person turn off your cell phones!

Take the team test

OK, you’ve all found a convenient bench. What’s next? Here’s a proposed agenda…

First Topic (The Ice Breaker)

Talk about the internet and what each of you use it for. Talk about how your friends and family (including children and grand-children) use it.

By the way, somebody should take notes … designate the owner of the one cell phone that is on to take notes. Give this about 15 minutes. Discuss the interesting items that came up and then divide into teams of three.

Second Topic (Let your mind go!)

This should be timed also, and last no longer than 15 minutes.

The question: Name as many things as you can that you use the internet for. Just blurt out the suggestions and write them down.

Third Topic (Wow, can we do that?)

This should be a timed exercise and last about ten minutes.

The question: Name as many things as you can that you could use the internet for at your bank that you are not using it for now.

Wrap it! (Now that is cool!)

Get the teams together and compare notes, and talk about the unique ideas that came up. Pick the top ten and open the ideas to a broader audience in your organization.

Ask for feedback and re-convene the group.

Rules to succeed by

1. Every idea is a good idea!

2. “We can’t do that” is not allowed as a response!

3. Every age group can be reached with the right technology at the same time.

4. Flip the perspective. Make how they do it, how you do it!

5. It is more about convincing yourself that you can do it as opposed to it can be done.

Finally, remember that change is not going to wait for you.

A positive attitude and behavior are the two most important ingredients to success!

The first two letters of Innovation are “I” and “N.”

So ask yourself… are you IN?

If you’re not, then the opposite will soon be true.

You’ll be Out… as in “Out of Business”!

—The Wombat!

Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is president and CEO of The Copper River Group, a consulting firm headquartered in Fargo, N. D., that focuses on technology and payment systems research and consulting for community financial institutions. For nearly 30 years, Fisher has worked in the financial industry using technology to improve the bottom line. He was CIO of Community First Bankshares (now part of Bank of the West), has served as a director of the Federal Reserve Board of Minneapolis, the chairman of the American Bankers Association Payment Systems Committee, and was a member of the Independent Community Bankers of America Payments Committee. Fisher has written numerous articles on banking technology and the payments system. He has authored or co-authored six books and recently published a book titled, "Capturing Your Customer! The New Technology of Remote Deposit." You can contact Fisher at dan@copperrivergroup.com or at 701-293-6222.
P.S. To understand Dan's nickname, check out "About the Wombat" on his website.       

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