Letters From Leton: Pass the Salt Please, Mr. Edison

Thomas Edison is thought of as a great innovator. Ask people who the most famous inventor was, and I bet most would list him at or near the top.

One of his strengths was recruiting and hiring talented people to work with him on developing new processes and technology.

Edison took a personal approach to hiring, frequently dining with prospective employees.

A simple test Edison used in his hiring process was called “the soup test”.  

Those who salted and peppered their soup before tasting, he did not hire. Those folks assumed the soup needed flavoring. His logic was that assumption-based actions tie people down to previous experience, in the past. Evidence-based actions can propel people forward, to the future.

Unfortunately, the business world has many folks who assume.

They assume other employees are aware of situations. They assume that their customers are not interested in new products and services. They assume that things must stay the same to be better.

I guess these are the same people who come to work each day in their horse drawn carriages, forgoing the comfort of a car with heat and air conditioning.

The banking industry has changed as much as any in recent history. What our customers want and how they interact with us is completely different than it was 10 or 15 years ago.

Time for us to change and evolve with the customer.

Perhaps I should talk to our HR folks about performing a soup test on potential new hires. Maybe a review with existing folks.

We will start with tomato.

And maybe “No Soup for You” if you are stuck in the past.

Stay safe.

– Leton


“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.