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March 22, 2007

News & Opinion: Leading For Growth: A Review, Part II

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 1:44 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

I'm going to build off Todd's review of Leading for Growth. I heard about it months ago from its publisher and started reading it on my train ride down to Chicago the other day. Co-author Ray Davis has helped take Umpqua Bank (based in Oregon) into the limelight; I'm sure you've heard of the bank from a number of Fast Company mentions. It's a model for customer service and building a great experience. Imagine a bank where:
...branches [in Umpqua's world branches are stores] keep dog bowls full of water just outside the door for clients with pets...employees open up the lobby for community events. Recent programs include yoga lessons, movie nights, and a "stitch and bitch" knitting club that meets once a month...Davis encourages spontaneous demonstrations of outstanding customer service by giving each branch a special fund expressly for that purpose. Every associate also spends a day training with the Ritz-Carlton.
It shouldn't be hard to believe but it is. A bank with employees trained by the Ritz-Carlton? In the book, Ray shares a conversation he had with a Ritz bellman. Ray was inquiring as to how the hotel fared in the Ritz's quality program. The bellman explained that they had failed because housekeeping overlooked the TV Guides. Now, get this: housekeeping had forgotten to move the bookmarks every day! And that is the type of attention to details Ray encourages.