Succeed in your management career and increase your income!
Our guest on this episode of the Manager Mojo Podcast is Mr. Ed Reiter. Ed teaches you the wisdom gained from a 40+ year career in banking that saw him rise from teller of a bank that was $8 million and 15 employees in size to CEO and Chairman of a $17 billion bank employing over 6,000 employees. Among his many tips to you is his sure fire way for you to increase your income by 150%. Make sure to take notes, I’m positive you will benefit in many ways!
You can read the transcript here: How to Succeed in Your Management Career
STEVE: Welcome to the manager MOJO podcast, I’m Steve Caldwell author of Manager MOJO, Be the Leader Others wants to Follow. We are here to offer common sense solutions and training for management and leadership issues. We believe that leaders are made not born and I would love for you to have a free copy of my book. You can pick up your copy by going to managermojo.com. Look for the gold box encouraging you to join the MOJO movement and sign up. There are other free gifts just waiting for you that are managermojo.com.
STEVE: Now let’s get started with today’s topic. Today welcome to Manager Mojo and it is my privilege today to have a little discussion with a friend of mine named Ed Reiter and I am really looking forward to today’s conversation and I promise you, we are going to learn a lot of great things today and I know it’s going to be valuable to you. So Ed, welcome to manager Mojo
REITER: Thanks you very much Steve. It’s a real privilege for me because I admire so much of your writings and your work and what you have been able to accomplish throughout your life and become one of the best in the country really so I am excited to talk about really what I believe in.
STEVE: Thank you Ed really kind and really we are going to have a good time today
REITER: Absolutely! I am anyway!
STEVE: So just for our listeners who don’t know who Ed Reiter, we are looking at hearing a distinguish professional that has so many accomplishments on his resume that I really can’t even begin to list them all, but Ed spent his career in the banking industry and as a part of the banking industry he rose all the way from teller to CEO. When he was CEO of the bank, when he had retired, this bank had grown to seventeen billion dollars in size that’s B with a billion guys, seventeen billion, that started out with only eight million dollars in revenue and size and fifteen employees, so he had became CEO and Chairman of Sky Financial Services and retired there, over seventeen billion, with over six thousand employees and sold for 3.8 billion dollars as a part of him leaving there. In addition to serving most of his career in banking, Ed’s been recognized by distinguished institutions all over our country and it’s just really an honor for me to be here.
But let me just give you a few other things that Ed had been honored with. He’s received over forty different awards, he’s been elected to six different halls of fame, and he holds two honorary doctorates and numerous community, university and national recognitions. One of the ones that I love the most though, Ed, is that you were one of the first four inductees at Bowling Green State University’s highest award, which is the Academy of Distinguished Alumni. So congratulations on that it’s just a tremendous, tremendous thing, and Cindy and I had the pleasure of attending that.
REITER: You came, and we didn’t expect you to be there! It’s one of the neatest things that has ever happened to Linda and I.
STEVE: Well we enjoyed it tremendously. In addition to Ed’s accomplishment there, even in the banking industry he’s been awarded Financial World’s Bronze Award for the CEO of the Country and has served at the New Hope Christian Community foundation, received awards for Integrity and Honesty, And I know Ed and I know that it’s not all about business with you and we’re gonna have a little discussion about all of those things,
REITER: I am looking forward to it.
STEVE: So let’s kind of dive right in, because I think one of the things I like for people to do at Manager Mojo is to understand how they can start in a career and then where it goes. When I list all of the tremendous accomplishments that you have on your resume, I believe that there’s a tendency for people to listen to that and to say well ok that’s easy for Ed to have done all of those things because he was probably born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
STEVE: So if you don’t mind I’d like for you to kind of give us a little background of it. Your background and how you started.
REITER: I was not born with a silver spoon! I just had wonderful, loving parents. My mother was a volunteer of East Toledo at a neighborhood house and so in my early years I got to know a lot of different people from a lot of different areas. My dad was a glass worker for Libby Owens Ford in Toledo, then became a union representative, was a vice president for many years, but they were both extremely kind to other people. They didn’t have a lot but they had a lot of love and a lot of giving.
We moved to Rossford Ohio, and during that period of time, in my high school class I got a job in my junior year at the gas station. I worked there for my junior and senior years and after high school I decided I wasn’t going to school. I was going to continue at the gas station because I liked the people, I liked what I doing. Well I worked there for one full year and then I said maybe I better start thinking about doing something different. I liked one of the business classes I took at high school, so I started commuting back and forth, 25 miles each way, to Bowling Green State University until I got my Bachelors Degree, and something more important that’s where I met my wife Linda, and we’ve been married now it will be 52 years in June.
REITER: Thank you!
STEVE: And it all started back pumping gas.
REITER: That’s exactly right. Seven years I was in that gas station.
STEVE: That’s absolutely awesome. So you go to Bowling Green State University and when you graduated you didn’t actually jump off into the banking industry did you? What did you do?
REITER: Oh no, I didn’t even think about banking. Actually I didn’t know what banking was to be honest with you. I went into the United States Army. I went through ROTC because I could get help paying my tuition. So Linda and I left and we went to Indianapolis for about six to eight weeks, and then we wound up in Boise, Idaho for almost 2 years. That’s where we had our first child Mark and a it was great. As a young lieutenant I had a lot of opportunity to do things and then we came back and I was a school teacher then I got a job at Northwood High School and then Penta County Vocational School and that’s where I literally found out about banking from somebody else.
STEVE: Isn’t that, cool! So here you are teacher, you’re spending a couple years teaching and then you decide to go to work for the bank. You were immediately hired as CEO at the bank, right?
REITER: Oh, no no no! Actually they were building a branch, starting to build a branch in my hometown Rossford Ohio. That’s where Linda and I were living with our now two children. What happened as they wanted to find a local young fellow and they wanted to train him so I was hired as a teller. It was great, and I actually worked for a long time part time while I was still teaching and then full time as soon as the school year ended.
STEVE: So you continued to build your skills, you learned more about the banking industry, you worked on your degree and so you are building your career one step at a time just like anybody else.
REITER: Oh yeah, not even thinking seriously what that career was going be. I thought it was going to be something that was completely different. I loved teaching. I was going be a teacher my whole life.
STEVE: I am interested in hearing about that, because I kind of believe that you probably have been a teacher your whole life, you have had a lot of different titles.
REITER: If I had the chance to teach to be on a stage, to give a talk, whatever it might be. I enjoy this! (both laugh) Hopefully someone will get something valuable out of this!
STEVE: Awesome, awesome. So you are growing your career, you’re in banking and at some point you are designated to be a manager. Tell me about your first experience as a manager.
REITER: Well my first experience was really interesting. I was training to be a manager at the Rossford Bank, and what happened is that I was the teller and because the bank is so small it was only one building, one office. I mean you did everything. You did accounting, you did sales, you opened accounts, you did everything which was great. You did the proof work. Well what happened was that the manager that started off at the Rossford office was called back to Bowling Green and I talked to the president of the bank and I said ‘I can do that job!’ And he believed me.
So it was great. They called me the manager then, they called me manager but I was still learning on the job. But it was great. So I had an opportunity that existed early in the game and it worked out quite well for me.
STEVE: When you were manager at that time, you’re kind of learning as you go. Was there a lot of formal training given to you at that point in management or was it “Ok Ed, just figure this out as you go”?
REITER: Well, you know, the formal training came along, but not completely at that time.
STEVE: But not immediately.
REITER: No, but since I was a teacher, we wanted to teach our new employees the Principles of Bank Operations which was a textbook put out by the American Banking Association, so they asked me to teach the class.
REITER: So not only did I learn, I was teaching. I was also enjoying that aspect of getting a relationship with the young people coming into the company.
STEVE:So I want to remind you are a young person too! Isn’t it interesting when we’re put into management, all of a sudden we feel like we are a lot older, because we got all this responsibility on our shoulders.
REITER: Absolutely. And then later I wound up teaching at the Ohio Banking School, which was the at the Ohio University in the summer. So I continued teaching all the time and that’s where I learned a lot of formal training, plus the fact that I went to five different universities for banking classes. It went from Ohio State, Kent State, and I went to Ohio University for a class, and I went to Madison, Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin, and finally to Harvard.
STEVE: COOL, so you’re investing in yourself and you’re investing in your knowledge, and you’re learning how to deal with all those different issues.
REITER: The bank was paying for every one of these.
STEVE: That’s a good thing.
REITER: So right, well — and that was the belief strongly in education, so I was fortunate being an educator, to be in a company that believed in education,
REITER: and that followed in my whole career, my belief, I believe that have happened
STEVE: I still encourage companies every time I talk to them, that the real secret ingredient, in my opinion, in building great companies are those that teach and train. Those that don’t they struggle. We’ve got listeners that never really had any training. So here is where you’ve got people reporting to you now. Was it always easy or did you struggle sometimes trying to learn how to deal with people that maybe thought differently than you?
REITER: It was never really difficult to deal with people, because I had a certain belief and a deep caring about people.
STEVE: Tell me about that because I think it is important for people to understand.
REITER: Well, what I believe I was given in my life was a deep caring for people that I learned from my mom and dad. And when I married Linda she kind of polished it. She changed my language a lot. She changed my attitude a lot, she taught me what was proper in social settings. She taught me a lot of things. I mean you never could imagine what she thought me from that stand point. And then there was my mom and dad. Unfortunately I lost my dad early in time but my mom was still there, so that caring aspect was the most important thing of the whole item that I went through.
STEVE: Let’s dive into that for just a minute, so when you talk about caring aspect for people and in particular for those people that were working with you or on your team, what did that mean to you? What did it mean in terms of the way you treated them everyday, the way that you worked with them. You know, give us a sense of, you know, how that really came out at work.
REITER: Well it came out because you could watch these people as they care about other people. Their whole idea was to solve their customers problem. That’s what you do. If you can do that, they don’t care if you’re 18 or 80.
REITER: They really want that to solve their problem. But the caring aspect, what I liked more about it was the fact that I could watch people grow.
REITER: And it didn’t matter where they came from, what they had in their background, what color they were, whether they were big or tall or short, it didn’t matter. What mattered is how they felt inside, and if I can give any lesson that I have learned, probably the most important one is that too many timse in our country we have a problem of judging people based on one thing, tall, short, fat, skinny, black white etc, a college degree, a non-college degree, and the key is, if you don’t do that and only believe in what they have inside of them, and that if they’ve got that there is anything you can’t teach them, you can’t help them with. You can help them with anything. But that caring thing is so important but a lot of people don’t understand that,
STEVE: Well its more valuing other people. You’ve got to value other people as much as you value yourself.
REITER: Absolutely, in fact Steve I have seen too many people that their lives, they were so afraid that if somebody got good, they would knock them off the ladder, and over go above them. And what they didn’t realize, the more the people were good around you the higher up you went on the ladder.
STEVE: Isn’t it amazing. When you become a team, you begin to help people grow, what happens is you as the leader begin to grow, don’t you.
REITER: Oh, absolutely! In fact it is great! If you don’t care really, and you don’t think about that — I know in my job I never thought about promoting myself or doing anything like that. I never asked for a raise ever. But you know what, I kept going up that ladder and always wondered. This is interesting!
STEVE: It’s like ‘how is this happening….’ But isn’t it interesting, when your heart’s in the right place, and you’re actually focused on them instead of you, they lift you up.
REITER: It about your self-esteem. It’s about them, it is not about you.
STEVE: Right — it’s always about them!
REITER: If you wantto be first, you’ve got to be last. There’s all kinds of things that you can remember like that.
STEVE: So you began to put these practices into play every day in your work and you began to live it, and of course you moved up the ladder. And as you got more responsibility, now what you are doing is that you are not working as much with front line people. Now you are developing leaders of people. So you’re the leader of leaders, and tell me and share with our listeners what were you looking for when you were trying to identify those future leaders that you were going to elevate in the organization and promote. What were a few things you really paid attention to and that meant the most of you?
REITER: I was looking for what they were as individuals. I was looking for their integrity, their honesty, their openness, their willingness to do things, to accept anybody. The kind of people that I watched grow were people that most companies wouldn’t even think should be hired, because they didn’t look at the right things. They didn’t look at their attitudes, they didn’t look at what they believed in, they didn’t look at how they cared. All those kinds of things. They worried about if you have a masters degree, did you such and such, did you have this experience, all of that kind of stuff.
STEVE: Now we’ve got to talk about this a little bit, because I think it’s a big missing lesson today and I want to dive into it just a little bit deeper here.
REITER: Good, good …..
STEVE: Because you’re looking for these people to identify and I’ve got to tell you, there wasn’t one thing that you mentioned, that had anything to do with how much of an expert they were in banking.
REITER: That’s right.
STEVE: You are looking for those intangible qualities that said, ok — I am looking for people who cared about people, I’m looking for how they deal with other people. It’s kind of a given, wasn’t it, that they were going to be an expert in the banking business. They got to learn banking, right?
REITER: Right because it is a people business, its again solving our problems, in doing something. In being a teacher, if I have the right person I could teach him anything. I can send him to great schools. If they needed a degree, I could get them a degree. If they needed a master’s degree, I could do that. If they wanted to become a CPA or an accountant, I could do that. I could do all those things, as long as we didn’t trained them to be a nurse and then they wanted to leave.
REITER: So we started our own school, and we had one of the best schools you could ever imagine. We made awards for people, including our employees, our boards and everything else. So we had a constant training program.
STEVE: That’s awesome, congratulations!
REITER: Well thank you,.
STEVE: That is just wonderful. I mean the numbers speak for themselves, that testimony for what happened over a life time, that’s all there is to it.
REITER: When I look back and I said we talked to some people, I mean, and I know I don’t brag about that stuff, that when you think about the number and the growth, from 15 people to over 6000.
STEVE: That’s pretty good!
REITER: And in the same office, in the same town, we were the largest bank in the United States in a smallest city.
STEVE: Isn’t that amazing! Well let us change just a little bit, I want to teach people just a little bit today.
STEVE: I know that there were times when you had managers or leaders that were struggling, they didn’t do well, and maybe even they failed. Can you give us an example of what you saw that maybe was a common cause of failure?
REITER: Well, number one there was a transition that people make in their lives. I mean, I’d gone through it and I learned from it. Your life changes when you get married. Your life changes when you have children. Your life changes when you have a career. So you watch out and you look at these particular periods, you’ll notice the times in people’s lives when they are going through some sort of problem. Something is going on. So you look at that and try to figure it out and work it out with that individual and help them get though that particular period of time. This last year we got a bad winter in the United States, and so I know and I knew and I learned that, when you constantly have bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, that you’re looking — something is bothering you and you don’t know what’s bothering you. Well what it is, is just I mean you’re bored and everything else, so that is when you have to pump these people back up. It’s true with the ‘7 year itch,’ with divorce and things like that.
STEVE: So let’s go into that a little bit more. So the guys that were failing, the people that were struggling were those that were kinda, maybe blind to what was going on,
REITER: They were blind about what was going on with them — ok,
REITER: They were going through a period of their lives that was predictable, and you could see it happen. And when you could see it happen you could help them, and guide them, and give them either the proper training or talk to them. You talk to them like a Dutch uncle, not necessarily as boss but a person that is interested in them, and that’s when you really get people excited, when you know that they love you,
STEVE: Exactly. I talk quite a bit — I try to encourage people that just because you are the boss doesn’t mean that you own them, and that attitude can get you in trouble.
REITER: You’re right Steve, a mean when you talk about that and your writings and such. The key is it’s not as you go higher in the company and its not that you’re a better person but you have more responsibility and with more responsibility you can do more for the people below you and I don’t like that term ‘below you’ you can do more for the people tht work with you, and so consequently there has to be that hierarchy, but at the same time it’s not that important from how you live.
STEVE: Well, you mentioned as a part of that, you started to talk about motivation. Motivation is one of my favorite topics. It’s one that I totally enjoy sharing with people. But tell me what you believe is, do you believe that it’s one of the top priorities for a manager or leader or just give me your take on it.
REITER: Well motivation without question is one of the top things, because people get down, and people they got problems at home, they’ve got problems at work, they’ve got problems with their family, they’ve got you know, people have a lot of outside things hitting them all the time and……
STEVE: So you mean work is not everything in their life?
REITER: Oh no no no, so what you do in motivation is you take away the worry. For instance, we had in our company, we had a no lay-off policy. Why? Why would we do that? Because if you start to lay off people, other people wonder if they are going to get laid off. Well the key is if you work through that and your board agrees with it, then what you’re saying to those people, you don’t have to worry about paying your mortgage, you don’t have to worry about paying your car payments, you don’t have to worry about moving out of a community that you want your kids to go to school in, you don’t have to worry about it. And so the more worry we could take out of the living aspect allowed them to become more positive in going about their work where they were at. And they really enjoyed that and they didn’t have to worry about that. A lot of companies would never do that, I don’t know of any other companies that do that.
STEVE: No they don’t.
REITER: We took away the worry of someone.
STEVE: What a great philosophy
REITER: And then we try to give them ownership at the same time.
STEVE: Now I don’t know if you are aware of this statistic but I follow the Gallup Organization’s research every year, and their latest research showed that in the world employees are at a level of disengagement in their companies and in their jobs that has been unprecedented. The last study shows that 87% of workers around the world, you are actually disengaged. They are just showing up to get a check.
REITER: Oh, that’sterrible isn’t it?
STEVE: And in the United States alone 80%. I happen to believe that’s a demonstration of a vacuum of leadership that exists in the company,
REITER: Steve, I’m in 100% agreement with that. I can see this with management all over the place. They think that they are in a hierarchy or something, and so what can these people do for me, not what can I do for them. And when you take that attitude ‘what can I do for them,’ then you enhance their lives and when you enhance their lives they are happy.
STEVE: That’s awesome!
REITER: It doesn’talways work, but I think it works most of the time. There are some people that just are not going to give that opportunity. Well, I can tell you how, one thing that I used to do — I used to interview every employee, once they are hired, and I would get twenty of them at a time and I’d go sit there for a couple of hours and talk to them. The hardest thing was when they found out I was President or CEO or Chairman — whatever my title was — they already had a preconceived idea of what that was.
STEVE: They’d freeze up,
REITER: Plus they got all these ideas from their families, ‘all these people they just walk over you and they just use you’ etc, etc, and after two hours it’s amazing. When you start talking about them and what you can do for them, you can just see it lift — their problem. You’re no longer a thing, you’re a person that’s chairman, right, you’re a person that’s president, you’re a person that wants to help them, that wants to care about them. But you are also a person that’s not going to take any bull off of them.
REITER: and that has to be there too.
STEVE: right, well let’s talk about that, let’s talk about that because I think it’s a good transition that some of the tougher issues that managers have. And that is Accountability, people have to be accountable for their work.
STEVE: So, how did you encourage leaders to really hold people accountable but at the same time value them as a person?
REITER: Well, we have a strong Management by Objectives program, we have simple goals that had to be met and they had to be measurable. So if you put tires on a car and you say you gotta do a hundred a day and you do eighty you’re not meeting your goal,
REITER: Well there’s got to be reasons for that, not just because you are not fast enough but maybe there are different ways of doing it,
STEVE: So does that mean you’d wait for a whole year to tell somebody they aren’t meeting their objectives? But isn’t that what annual reviews are for?
REITER: No, well, that is what annual reviews are for, but what the key is you have to have the right accounting, you have to have the right, so if you have, if you come from January to December if you don’t know that the end of January where you messing up,
STEVE: there you go, there you go,
REITER: you probably have lost one month, so you got to be with those people all the time and sharing the goals, sharing the objectives and all those things,
STEVE: You’ve got to communicate it every day.
REITER: Absolutely, you got to talk to them. You don’t have to talk to them formally, but just walk by and say “we didn’t meet such and such, what do you think we can do?”
REITER: and then you have to ask them why we didn’t meet it and what we can do to meet it.
STEVE: So you are gonna get them involved in the solution, not just say here’s the problem and throwing it in their lap…..
REITER: Oh yeah, absolutely. A lot of people believe that the best management is just telling people what to do,
STEVE: yep, I was one of those early in my career.
REITER: ok well you know, it does work sometimes, but not all the time,
STEVE: it doesn’t work long,
REITER: and the key is it’s hard to ask somebody because the more you ask the more ideas you get and, and somewhere you’ve got to either implement ideas that don’t necessarily, you think, tht won’t work
REITER: but you have to let, if that’s the case, you have to let that fail, so they can get the idea,
STEVE: So daily encouragement is a great, great thing for managers.
REITER: It starts in the morning. You know so many people’s bosses come in and you don’t know what they’re going to be like. Are they going to be happy, are they going be sad, are they going to be mean, are there going to be non-committal, non-talkative? You’ve got to come into work every day the same way,
REITER: and so that people don’t have to guess what you’re like. You can’t be this way and then turn around and be something else.
STEVE: I like to tell managers that, look you don’t have the privilege of coming in and throwing all of your problems on everybody else,
REITER: no, no, we’ve got to avoid those things,
STEVE: You’ve got to work at solving the problems that your employees have, not worry about yours,
STEVE: Your job is to keep them up.
REITER: Steve I used to laugh, I used to laugh. Our offices were one mile from our home, and we had one light, and when it was red I was upset.
REITER: No, I just used to tell people that! You think about people that have to drive twenty miles to work, have to get their kids to school, have to do dinner for their spouse or whatever it is, these things are tough. I thought it was really important that a woman could get her hair done
REITER: Because that was a big deal to them, not a big deal to me, I mean you can see it wasn’t a big deal to me, (laughs) but the key was it was a big deal for them.
REITER: So you allow them time to do certain things and let things go on that are part of life.
STEVE: Well holding people accountable and really making sure they understand goals — great, great things for any leader to do. Ah, one of the things that I’ve noted and just want your take, your opinion on this, is that one of the biggest skills that you have as you go into management even at your entry level management positions, and especially as you move up in the organization like you did to become CEO of the organization, You have to learn how to delegate and when you delegated things share with us some of your secrets about, how did you feel about delegation and how did you go about teaching it.
REITER: Delegation to me is another one of the most important things that you can do. The stickler behind delegation that most people have, it used to drive me crazy, well if I delegate my job to somebody else then they are going to get better to it than I am, and they are gonna you know, I’m gonna lose out, not realizing and — we talked about that earlier,
STEVE: yeah, that’s a fear, a big fear,
REITER: but delegation is absolutely positively so important to be able to teach somebody a new opportunity. What you have to look at is when you delegate people grow, and when they grow they probably earn more, they have more respect, they have more opportunity, they have more things that can happen to them and so if you’ll get excited about those people achieving something that they would not have achieved at all if you held them back. And I still see this in most companies where I’m on the board, where they wouldn’t delegate
REITER: and pretty soon – they would actually take work away from people.
STEVE: and they burn out.
REITER: So why work? What are you accomplishing? So pretty soon, what’s more important? It’s not your job.
REITER: Delegation is something that we should never be afraid of. If there is any reason we grew like we did it was because of delegation and things like that, that became attractive to other banks when we merged with them.
STEVE: One of the things that I kind of noted it with delegation is that I think that this is a problem and I’d like your take on this. I’ve observed that managers really confuse what delegation is and what they’ll do is they’ll delegate a task and say ‘ok this needs to be done, go do it.’ The problem that I see is that they’ll delegate a task but they don’t delegate the authority to get the task done.
REITER: You have to delegate the authority like you just said, but you also have to delegate the consequence,
REITER: You have to be there if they are having a problem you got to help them you got to recognize…
STEVE: you can’t just say hey go do it and be done with it? Isn’t that what delegation is?
REITER: You’ve got to teach them, help them learn, you’ve got to give them the tools ….
STEVE: But I thought that’s why I told you to go do it, and now you need me to be involved in it?
REITER: that’s nice but most people just can’t do that.
STEVE: And why not?
REITER: If you are like that as a manager, I’ll tell you what, those people are afraid of you!
STEVE: There you go….
REITER: And when they are afraid of you, you know they are gonna give you that, what did they call that, when they keep you in the dark….
STEVE: oh yeah, yeah, they feed you something. You are like a mushroom, you don’t know anything that’s going on
REITER: oh yeah the mushroom technique. And so you lose them, being afraid to tell you something is wrong and what you want to know is when something is wrong so that you can make it right, and then watch those people grow. Oh my gosh, how neat. See that’s the problem with leadership. Most leaders see things that are going wrong and they know what to do but they don’t do it. and that’s always been the problem with telling people that they need to do something. You walk by your secretary, she’s talking on the phone and you know she’s talking to somebody that’s personal and that has nothing to do with the job and then it happens again and you want to keep walking by. You know what you’re supposed to do but the manager worries. Well, if that person leaves well I’ll have to do their job. That person gets mad at me. All these crazy ideas. And what they don’t realize they’ve got to take the problem that person has and put it in perspective and say if I can teach this person to do things right, they can get promoted, they can make more money, they can have a greater career, they can do more things,
STEVE: So you’ve got to participate and be a part of the problem solution.
REITER: Oh absolutely!
STEVE: so delegation doesn’t mean that you just run away and hide,
STEVE: and yet, many managers do it they will call it leadership, they say well am delegating,
REITER: But see you’ve got to teach these people when you delegate. Like, let’s say we have five employees on a teller line and we took one employee and made them the head teller. Now their job is to bring these other four people up. But what happens is these four people don’t know it. Their job in their mind is to bring this person down, it’s to make them one of the group again.
REITER: And so the person that gets back into the group is not a leader. It’s the one that makes these four people become the next head teller.
STEVE: Isn’t that cool,
REITER: and then the next head teller, and then maybe the assistant manager and then the manager.
REITER: It works just the opposite.
STEVE: Absolutely the opposite, isn’t it? Kind of counter-intuitive to what most people believe and what most people are taught. They don’t get a chance to have these kinds of conversations where they can understand exactly what’s going on.
REITER: That’s right. You see, again it is the lack of people understanding, the more you can do that, the better off you are.
STEVE: Right. Well, when you look for leaders, and if you don’t mind I would like you to kind of tell me what do you think are maybe the top two or three things that if you were really focused on the becoming the best leader you could be and you would be the leader that others want to follow, tell me what do you think those top two or three things would be?
REITER: Well, I can tell you exactly, and I’ve based this on my military experience. The military had certain principles of war, and they were objective, offensive, simplicity, unity of command, mass maneuver, economy of force, surprise and security, and with that you could win a war if you manage all through all these things. But the first two were the most important — offensive and objective. Too many companies sit on the sidelines. They are defensive. They wait for customers to come in. They wait for things to happen. They wait for something to go wrong. They wait, they wait, they wait. It’s like a car salesman. They wait for you to come in the door. You’ve got to get out of the door. You’ve got to get out. You’ve got to do all these kind of things. And then as I talked about earlier, Management by Objectives, you’ve got to know what you are supposed to accomplish. If a person knows what they are supposed to accomplish, then they know whether they are doing good or bad. And there is no sense in doing something good if it shouldn’t be done at all.
REITER: It makes decision making for managers really easy. Somebody asks you a question, should we do it or not do it? Well, how does it fit into our objectives? If it doesn’t fit into our objectives, then the answer is no. If it fits into our objectives then the answer is yes and you go on your way. You don’t sit there and stew – we could do this, we could do that.
STEVE: So that’s really……..
REITER: Oh my gosh – offensive? Get out there and do the job. Get out there and find out what’s going on. Get out there and help. Get out there and see what’s going on.
STEVE: People don’t, they just really hate it when there is indecisiveness, don’t they?
REITER: The worst thing that you can do when there is someone like that is to give them a desk.
STEVE: Yeah —
REITER: You know, you give the head teller a desk. You’ve got a desk so you think you’re supposed to be sitting there. Pretty soon they aren’t waiting on the customer anymore. (laughs) They’re not standing next to the teller that needs help, to help with the customers, to say, ‘oh you know if you would’ve done this different….’. So there are a lot of things that you learn from that aspect.
STEVE: yeah, absolutely!
REITER: Those two without question are really important.
STEVE: Awesome, awesome! One of the things that I also like to talk about is that, to me every leader, it doesn’t matter what your title is. It is irrelevant what you are doing. You’re in the business of selling and solving problems. I’d like your take on that. What do you think about that?
REITER: Well, without question. When I was in high school I was a DECCA student, distributive education — selling and retailing. I have always grown up with selling attitude. I was at the gas station with a selling attitude. Even though I washed cars I had to sell gas, which was great. Selling is 100% a job by everybody. If you walk in to work and you have an outside, and there’s a beer bottle on the lawn, pick it up. Why? Because people will look when they are walking in the first time and see what kind of outside your place looks like. If there are beer bottles, cigarettes butts, all those kinds of things around, you know. Take care of it. Sell all the time.
I remember we had an employee that took her accounts to another bank because they paid a quarter percent more. And I explained to her, you know, that other company that you are dealing with, where you’re giving your deposits, wants to put you out of your job, and you are going there for ¼% more. You know what happened? She couldn’t understand it.
REITER: She got very mad at me because I even mentioned it to her. Well, I didn’t care. Finally, after years, it finally dawned on her that she had to continue to sell and be part of our organization. I mean we gave her stock. We did for all of our employees. So everything that she was taking her business and giving it to somebody else was trying to put her up out of her stock value, everything. (laughs)
STEVE: You know, I see this everywhere. I get a chance to teach managers, they are in class and they’ll tell me, ‘Steve, I’m not in sales. I’m over here in programming, or I’m in operations.’ And I’m like “Wait a minute! Everybody is in sales.”
STEVE: And if you are in management, how can you get people to achieve objectives if you are not selling them?
REITER: Well the thing is that they have to understand there is a different part of sales.
STEVE: OK, talk about that.
REITER: There is sales where you get out and say, ‘I want you to buy a new shirt from us.’ Or you are a person that tries to get money for a foundation. You’re asking people for money. That’s one type. If you can get five percent of the people in the country to do that, you are lucky.
REITER: Most people are afraid of sales, so they have the wrong feeling about sales. Sales is how does the place look? Sales is how you act in front of an individual when they come in. How do you talk about your company when you go home at night? Sales is everything you do with how you react to everything. It’s not just selling an item and asking people to buy it. I mean, if you are behind the scenes, you are an accountant, it’s the neatness of the report, it’s the accuracy of the report, it’s giving the proper report at the proper time. That’s sales.
STEVE: It’s all part of it, isn’t it?
REITER: Everything is sales.
REITER: And so be the best that you can in all these kind of things. And when you do that, then recognize these people for their sales, recognize them for their accuracy. Don’t just give awards or rewards for people that actually sell something. Give people that have to take that sale that they made and turn it into a different type of sale.
REITER: Because if I am an accountant and I send a customer an ugly statement, that is sales.
STEVE: Thank you for that. I really wanted to hear your thoughts on it. So, I want to ask you a different question, because I want to orient this toward those who are just beginning in their career. If you would, I’d like for you to share, what would you tell them that they should focus on so that they can become the very best that they want to be and achieve the goals in their life? What would be your advice to them?
REITER: Well my first advice would be for them not to worry about themselves at this point and just to learn as much as they possibly can learn at this point. If you’re in accounting and asked to go into an area that’s not accounting. If you want to go to school. You want to learn. Don’t worry about how much you are being paid, even though that is important in your life. Worry about how you can learn more about the job, how you can get more authority and be more delegated to. Actually come out and tell people that ‘I can do that job.’ remember what I said right in the beginning?
STEVE: Yes you did.
REITER: The branch manager was leaving and I said “I can do that job!” And volunteer. The other part is don’t be afraid to work extra. I’m amazed at the people who work from 8:00 to 4:00, or whatever it is you know. They are right in there at eight o clock and ready to go at a quarter to four.
STEVE: They watching the clock all day.
REITER: And what I find out over forty-some years of managing, and that’s just the banking part, the people that worked an hour, hour and a half, two hours a day, maybe eight hours more a week, made 100-150% more than those people that just had their jobs.
STEVE: Wow, I hope everybody heard that. It’s just a little bit of extra effort.
REITER: Oh it’s amazing how much per hour you can make when you dedicate your life. I used to see people come in and say they were working two jobs. Well, just think if you took one job and just enhanced that. And then your boss saw that you were working hard, and you were taking care of the customer. Who do you think they will pick to take the next step?
STEVE: They are going to go to the one who is invested completely.
STEVE: Without question.
STEVE: Well let me kind of wrap up a little bit from some of the things that we’ve done here today. We’ve covered a lot of great topics. The only one that I don’t think we’ve talked about is, and I’d like to hear your take on it, is personal productivity. You know, you’ve been involved in a lot of stuff. I mean, that’s a lot of activity!
STEVE: And people tell me all the time ‘Well you know Steve, I’d do all those things, I just don’t have the time.’ And yet high achievers do have time. They find time to do things. So what would be your secret to personal productivity?
REITER: It’s literally monitoring what you are doing.
STEVE: What does that mean when you say monitor what you do?
REITER: It means to look at what you are doing during the day and where can you do more. Let me give you an example. We bought a branch in Edgerton, Ohio. There was a woman there working 38 hours a week in a room just full of computer things. Well, we monitored her job and it was a fifteen minute of week job rather than 38/40 hours.
But what people do is they expand their time to meet the job. So they expand their time and it takes longer to do certain things. And as I said earlier, there is no point in doing anything well if you shouldn’t be doing it at all. Human beings do that. And another thing, by delegating and learning from that. Don’t be afraid to spend some extra time to do certain things. People say to me, ‘Ed why are you bothering to do so many other things outside of work?’ And I say “It’s simple, because those people if they like me, if they trust me, if they feel I’m a good person, they are going come to our place and do business.” And you know what? I can’t tell you the people who came through, that we got as a new customer. It doesn’t happen right away, but over a period of time. You planted the seed. A year or two later they’d come in and say, ‘Hey Ed, we talked a year or two ago and you mentioned such and such and I’m here to see if you can help me.
REITER: And the other thing…. There is actually a box, if I can explain…. There is a box, and there’s a line that goes up on a diagonal ok? This is operations and this is management. When you first enter your job, about 99% of your job is operations. OK? As you move in management, the amount of operations gets less, and less, and you get more management. So what happens, too many people want to hang on to their operations jobs, and they don’t trust people to do it. That’s where delegation and caring. They can do my job. There wasn’t anyone who couldn’t be better president than I was — in my mind. So it was just a matter of doing things that I should be doing as president that had meaning to the community and get more and more business and I gave up operations. I knew when they were wrong.
STEVE: That’s awesome. So you knew it, but you didn’t allow yourself to expand your time ….
REITER: As you go farther in management it’s less operations.
STEVE: And spend that time wisely.
REITER: I have seen vice presidents do 90% of their time in operations and 10% in management when they should be doing 90-10.
STEVE: It should be the other way around.
REITER: Right — that’s key. And the other thing is that everybody says you’re like a spear, or an arrow, that goes on this type of thing and you’re on back here somewhere. As you bring more people into management you shouldn’t keep the spear. You should open it up so you become a roller coaster you know so that all these people can be part of that and when you know you just roll over and it a certain part
STEVE: Awesome. Great analogy!
REITER: Great, just a different thought.
STEVE: I want to thank you so much for your time here today.
REITER: Anytime. I enjoyed it!
STEVE: I want to kind of end this and ask is there anything else you want to share that I haven’t asked you today.
REITER: Well, a lot of people ask what I’m most proud of.
STEVE: Yes, let’s talk about that.
REITER: You see, I have been retired almost ten years, in fact maybe ten years. And I look back at the people. I don’t remember a lot of the years how much money we made, how fast we grew, all those kinds of things that we would be judged on. But when I walk down the street and somebody that worked with me comes up and hugs me, I know I did well.
STEVE: that’s when you know don’t yah?
REITER: Ya, that’s made by a whole career worthwhile. It’s when they walk down the street and they cross to the other side which is never, I can’t remember that ever happening to me. That’s when you know you really messed up, and no matter how profitable you were, or how much all these other supposedly important things. I looked back, and one time we had, I had count 17 of our former employees that were CEO’s of their own companies.
STEVE: What a great testimony
REITER: And people that have gone on to different things where they gained the experience, they gained the enthusiasm, they gained the knowledge, and its made them different in a field. If someone had come to me and they say they have to leave and they want a go someplace else, I never tried to keep them per se. I say make sure you’re thinking the right thing. And if you go, God Bless you. Enjoy it.
REITER: That’s more important, frankly, than this job. It’s for you to continue to engage and try to get better for yourself and for your family. That’s what I really love. That’s why I am so happy today.
STEVE: That’s awesome! What a great way to finish because we started with you talking about people and valuing people and your final statements to me were about what those people meant to you through your career. Congratulations, Ed Reiter!
REITER: Thank you.
STEVE: Thank you so very much for sharing today with our Manager Mojo group
REITER: You know, it’s so easy.
STEVE: Thank you so much today for joining us on the Manager Mojo podcast. Lets rock the world. Please encourage your friends to subscribe to the podcast and I would love for you to share and connect with me on social media. I am on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Manager Mojo. Until next time, I encourage you to be the leader others want to follow.