The Great Bus Ride Of 2003
Dave Anderson, a speaker and author of the book No-Nonsense Leadership, compares a company’s drive toward its objectives with a bus ride, andsuggests a company’s goals are irrelevant until it has the right people on its bus and gets the wrong people off. “After all,” says Anderson, “a great dream with the wrong team is a nightmare; a great dream with mediocre people still equals mediocre results.”
Anderson suggests the following to get your bus on track for the year ahead:
1. Get the wrong people off the bus. Who’s riding on your bus who should have been dropped off long ago? It helps to remember that the old cliché about people being your best asset doesn’t tell the whole story. People are not your greatest asset. The right people are your greatest asset. The wrong people are your greatest catastrophe. Some people will have to leave your bus in order for it to go forward, and you know who they are. The reason we normally keep the wrong people on the bus has much more to do with personal convenience than it does compassion. It’s simply more convenient to put up with the “devil we know” than it is to go to the trouble of recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training someone new — the “devil we don’t know.” Ridding your business of weak links is like trimming trees. If you don’t cut the deadwood, eventually the whole tree falls. But if you remove the deadwood, the tree becomes healthier, the healthy branches produce more and there’s more room for productive new branches on the tree.
2. Get the right people on the bus. Build the right team proactively. You’ll never build a pipeline of talent if the only time you recruit, interview or hire is when you need someone. Invest irrational amounts of time and money developing the right people. Focus on quality over quantity. You’re better off to hire five good performers, work them like 10 and pay them like eight, than to have 10 non-performers doing barely enough to keep from being fired.
3. Make sure the people on the bus are sitting in the right seats. Put your people in positions where they can do what they are wired to do. Don’t dilute their talent by insisting they be jacks-of-all-trades. Job excellence is only possible when each person is working in an area of strength.
Only after these three steps are addressed will you be prepared to take your bus to somewhere great in 2003, says Anderson. Until you do, your ride will be more like a roller coaster — or worse, a demolition derby.
The Art of the Steal
“The recent growth in check fraud has reached epidemic proportions, leaving no individual, company or municipality immune,” said Frank W. Abagnale, the subject of the hit movie Catch Me If You Can and recognized expert on financial fraud prevention. According to Abagnale’s recent book, The Art of the Steal, U.S. losses from check fraud last year were more than $19 billion. In addition, The American Bankers Association (ABA) reports in its most recent financial institution survey that actual dollar losses from check fraud grew at a rate of 25 percent between 1997 and 1999.
According to an ABA report, of the more than the $4.3 billion lost due to check fraud in 2001, community banks’ share of losses doubled, while large banks’ share of losses fell. The report also stated that for every $1.20 of fraud attempted, banks lose a dollar. Community and mid-sized institutions were more susceptible, and prevented a little more than half of attempted frauds. However, since 2001, a number of these institutions have caught on and caught up with their larger counterparts.
Many of them, including Community Bank of Nevada, based in Las Vegas, are customers of Aurum Technology and Advanced Financial Solutions (AFS), which offers a number of security measures to prevent check fraud. Aurum’s fraud and risk-mitigation technology uses fraud detection filters, auto signature verification and Web-based Positive Pay, all based on the latest digital imaging technology. Fraud filters take a scanned image of each check transaction and run them through an automated, customizable test that looks at the customer’s check-writing patterns. Banks and other financial institutions use Positive Pay technology to harness the power of the Internet, capturing information needed to compare and cross-validate checks posted with checks issued for payment. Automated Signature Verification eliminates the need for signature cards, as it compares more than 100 signature characteristics based on mathematical values.
“Because recent revisions in the Uniform Commercial Code impose liability for check fraud losses on both the bank and its customer, it is in everyone’s interest to help prevent losses,” said Abagnale.
MEET ME IN THE MORNING
Job seekers who land morning interviews may have an advantage in the hiring process, a new survey suggests. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of financial executives polled recently said the most productive time for meeting with applicants is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Accountemps, a staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, developed the survey, which includes responses from 1,400 chief financial officers from a random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.
Executives were asked,
“Which of the following times of day do you believe is the most productive for conducting hiring interviews?”
|Before 9 a.m.||
|9 a.m. to 11 a.m.||
|11 a.m. to 1 p.m.||
|1 p.m. to 3 p.m.||
|3 p.m. to 5 p.m.||
|After 5 p.m.||
“Managers prefer to schedule interviews before the other responsibilities of the day begin,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Job Hunting For Dummies. “After a full slate of meetings and regular work activities, their energy level and focus may not be as strong in the afternoon. For job candidates seeking an edge in a highly competitive labor market, scheduling a morning interview can be a valuable first step.”