Letters From Leton: What Are You Cooking?

As a kid, Saturdays were filled with cartoons – and slapstick. The Three Stooges primarily, but also the duo of Laurel & Hardy. 

In many movies and movie shorts made between the 1920s and the 1950’s, Oliver Hardy was the pompous bully and Stan Laurel the clumsy childlike one.

In one of my favorite episodes, Stan and Ollie are trapped on their new boat with a criminal (“Saps at Sea” – 1940). A series of comic adventures follows.

The dastardly, imposing crook instructed our comic duo to go to the galley (kitchen) and cook for the villain who had not eaten in days.

Having just bought the boat, finding no food to prepare, and fearing for their lives, they improvised.

Spaghetti noodles were made from string. Sponges became meatballs. Lamp wicks for bacon.

Unbeknownst to our heroes, their culinary efforts were observed from a port hole by the fiend!

Once the meal was delivered, the bad guy made our good guys eat their own cooking.

Pained and funny faces ensued as Laurel and Hardy downed the meal, sharing it was wonderful before subduing the convict.

At our bank, we stress to our employees to use our services so that they can share real experiences with our customers and give us feedback on what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be improved.

I was reminded of these things (and Laurel and Hardy) as I sat in on Jimmy Sawyers’ Payments and Technology class at the Virginia Bankers School. Jimmy asked the students if they were using their bank’s online and electronic banking services.

While no hands went up, I could tell from the looks on many students’ faces that they were not using their bank’s electronic services, and they were hoping Jimmy wouldn’t ask them to raise their hands. The students could envision Jimmy asking one of those raising their hands about their bank’s services. And not being an active user would be embarrassing among their classmates!

In today’s complicated technology world, a business whose employees use and understand their own services puts them way ahead of the competition.

Sometimes getting folks to use technology, like eating their own cooking, can be hard.

But being a good cook (or banker) is knowing what is in the kitchen and how to prepare it.

Or put another way, if you are not eating what you cook – why should I?

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.