July 6, 2018
Here’s part two of a recent conversation with new president and future CEO John McDearman.
Q: When you think about WB&T’s business strategies, what are some concepts that have worked for years and continue to be effective in today’s environment?
JM: At the basic level, we intend to stay independent – being our own bank and having control over how we operate. We don’t take a cookie cutter approach. Every community is different, and we’ve always had a mindset that we can serve an area better by allowing for and catering to some of those differences. It takes a little more time and energy, but our identity is a little unique from one market to another, and want to keep that without compromising our standards.
Along with that, our formula for growth is still working. Before we consider expanding, we always want to get good where we are.
One thing that we’re known for is accessibility in management. Not only is the bank run by people who work nearby, but customers would always know where to find the CEO or the president, and Randall and Elmer always seemed to make time for anyone who asked for them or needed them. That’s an approach we don’t want to lose.
Q: What are some of the thrills and challenges so far in managing a workforce of 470+ employees in a growing company?
JM: The feedback and ideas that employees are sharing from all over the bank are real motivation for me. It’s incredible to have that input from within, and I’ve been extremely pleased that employees are willing to share their ideas and suggestions with a good upward flow of information. It’s also rewarding to see others grow and succeed, and to know that so many of our employees are invested in what we’re doing.
As for challenges, finding the time to see employees face-to-face is important, but not always easy from a scheduling standpoint. I do try to take every opportunity I can to do that by visiting offices as regularly as time will allow. At other times, you have to do for one what you wish you could do for all.