Thursday, July 03, 2008

In the leadership roles, aside from the in-store Banking Center Managers (BCMs) and Assistant Managers (AMs), there are Consumer Market Managers (CMMs) and Consumer Market Executives (CMEs). In Manhattan, the hierarchy is as follow:


4 CMMs

50ish BCMs

In the past, I have only met my CMMs and CMEs a handful of times. When they visit our banking center, I spontaneously miss every one of their visits. I was never able to make that first impression.

On my first AMA (Assistant Manager Associates) meeting, the CME was clearly unimpressed that I did not “throw myself” in front of him. The truth is I never realized that he visited. This was then.

In the beginning, I have focused on my sales goal. After my first AMA meeting, I knew I had to focus on leadership and operations. Slowly, I have taken up more responsibilities. However, there is only so much to do inside the center. I received little attention for the things I did. The most important person I can impress was my banking center manager, and I knew that was done.

After a few months, my manager suggested that I should take on the responsibility of managing the group banking activities (because no one else would do it). It was crap-work. I was to manage the process of attracting customers outside of the walk-in traffic. This includes creating relationships and finding opportunities in the neighborhood, making sure that our center is participating in market-sponsored events, etc.

In spring, the weather turned warm, and events started to line up. I was the go-to person for my bank. Soon, I was volunteered to take part in events at Yankees Stadium. It was hell. It was standing and screaming for hours.

More recently, I was volunteered to take part in our NFL Banking event. The event took place at a banking center where they hold many market conferences. On that day, all the CMMs and CMEs showed up to give the BCMs their performance evaluations. Meanwhile, I was receiving recognitions by the manager at the center. And, the words spread. A few days later, I found out that there was a mini-competition between the sellers, and I finished 2nd! It was a pleasant surprise – and a $100 gift card. My manager casually told me about it, and I never received any recognition when I returned.

Because of my performance, I was automatically signed up for another event – Big Apple BBQ. It was standing outside in 100 degree weather, trying to get customers. At that event, I was 1 of 2 winners. I received another $100 gift card. They took a picture of me that ended up in the inbox of the entire Manhattan Market.

For the week, my name was “flowing” around the market. I received recognitions after recognitions. Yet, it’s toned down because – no one at my center knows. Thereafter, I don’t react to it either.

This week, there was a huge event held at Crowne Plaza. It was the New Hire Breakfast for Bank of America associates. 300 Analysts flew in from Europe, Asia, and around the country. Many sellers wanted to attend this event, because it guaranteed high-volume accounts. I was uninterested, so I never volunteered. My only other 2 sellers both volunteered for the event. Unfortunately, they did not receive a spot. Next thing you know, they assigned it to me. A few days before the event, I was sitting side-by-side with 11 other associates from the entire market and my CMMs. This was the first time I interacted with my CMMs.

Today, at the final stage of my Leadership classes, my CME was the guest speaker. I have always wondered if he knows my name. The last time he said my name, he glanced at my name tag. Today, I didn’t have my name tag. And… he said it! It didn’t stop there. He knew me well from various events.

When his speech was over, a small crowd gathered around him as he was leaving to make an impression. He preached to these Managers and Assistant Managers about “taking risks.” The conversation went like this:

CME: As leaders, you need to know how to take risks. Taking risks like… promoting Stephanie.

Me: Oh, there’s no risk in that!


As he said his final Goodbye, he told me to “get on his calendar.” I asked him to elaborate. He then told me to call his secretary to schedule an one-on-one meeting with him.

In our world, that means… let’s talk; let me see if I should promote you.