Letters From Leton: Sit On Stove And Stir

Those who spend much time around me know of (and tolerate) my “peculiarities” regarding words and their use or misuse for communication. Examples abound.

Signs saying “End Trash Pickup” or “End Road Work” along the highways we travel – Who are these people who want to end trash pickup or road work? And would it really drive up sign costs to add two letters (“of”)?

My favorite example of all time is Curly from the Three Stooges sitting on the stove and stirring a mixture. It was what the instructions on the box said to do (“sit on stove and stir”).

How can we say and communicate things that matter in a better way?  

Often, what is clear to us after years of experience and/or training may not be clear to customers or to fellow employees. Especially given the rules, regulations, technology, and jargon we use in our industry. 

I find that one important aspect of what we say and what we do is the need to retain common sense.

We must have rules. Opening accounts. Making loans. Cashing checks. Charging fees. This is risky business, and some folks are always looking to take advantage of the system.

However, the value of having human beings working with us on these things is the flexibility we can bring to each situation.

Should we pay as much attention to the risk of cashing a $500.00 not on us check (bank jargon) for a customer who has had an account for 15 years with a $10,000.00 average balance and visits the bank every week? Not charging for a cashier check for a customer who has a $1 million?

It is important that we as leaders give our folks the support to use common sense. That takes time and confidence from both sides.

If we don’t develop employees as thinkers, well then we are no better than the sign printing folks who want to End Road Work.

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.