Leading for Growth: How Umpqua Bank Got Cool and Created a Culture of Greatness

Leading for Growth: How Umpqua Bank Got Cool and Created a Culture of Greatness

by Raymond P. Davis, Alan R. Shrader


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How any business leader can create an atmosphere of competitiveness for exceptional growth

When Ray Davis took over the local 40-person South Umpqua Bank in 1994, many people in the industry poked fun at his insistence that employees answer the phone with a cheery "World's Greatest Bank." Eleven years, $7 billion in assets, and 128 branches (or " bank stores" in Umpqua lingo) later, the moniker seems quite apt. Other banks scratched their heads when Davis sent his tellers to Ritz-Carlton to learn customer service and were intrigued when he hired a cutting-edge design firm to completely re-think retail layout. Now, with a top design award under their belt, a name change (there never was a North Umpqua bank), and a completely new definition of the banking business, Umpqua has become the darling of the entrepreneurial press and a growth powerhouse. The New York Times calls Umpqua "Starbucks with tellers."

Ray Davis (Portland, OR), named by U.S. Banker as one of the 25 most influential people in the financial industry in 2005, is President and CEO of Umpqua Holdings Corporation. Alan Shrader (Moraga, CA) is an experienced writer and editor of business books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780787986070
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 03/16/2007
Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership Series , #37
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ray Davis—Ernst & Young's 2004 Regional Retail Entrepreneur of the Year—is a pioneer of change in the banking industry, revolutionizing how banks look, feel, sound, and operate. He is the president and CEO of Umpqua Holding Corporation and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fast Company, BusinessWeek, Business 2.0, Newsweek, and CNBC. Umpqua was named to Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list in 2007. Ray lives with his wife, Bobbi, in Portland, Oregon.

Alan Shrader is managing editor of Leader to Leader and an experienced writer and editor of business books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: There is No Door Number Three 1
The pursuit of relentless growth has one underlying premise: You get better or you get worse. You can’t stay the same. This book is for all companies that are tired of treading water.

Part One: Prerequisites for Relentless Growth 7

1. What Business Are You Really In? 9
Umpqua started to take off when we decided we were really in the retail business, not just the banking business, and started learning from successful retailers like Nordstrom. This chapter offers advice to help you discover what business you are really in.

2. Never-Ending Discipline 23
Leaders need to realize that growth is not a project, not a quick fix. You must have the discipline to realize you never have it made.

3. Have Positive Passion 30
Be relentless about your vision. Know what you stand for. We call ourselves The World’s Greatest Bank. It helps us stand out with our customers, but more than that, it creates positive passion within the company.

4. Snap the Rubber Band Syndrome 40
Each of us has a rubber band attached to our backside, connected to tradition. This chapter offers strategies to help people overcome the pull of comfortable routines.

5. What’s Going On Behind Your Back? 49
Having the right strategy is meaningless unless you can execute it flawlessly on the ground. This chapter explains how to put systems in place to inspect the execution of strategy at the lowest level.

Part Two: Roles of a Leader 57

6. Support Your People—and Hold ’Em Accountable 59
Leaders have many roles, but support and accountability are critical—and they go hand in hand.

7. Give Them the Power 69
In the past, the leader was the guy with the answers. Today, you have to empower the people closest to the action to come up with their own answers.

8. Rise Above the Battlefield 79
Leaders need to rise above the battlefield to achieve a strategic perspective on the company. I explain the tactics I use to get above the fray and—just as important—how I help the people on my executive team do this as well.

9. Explain Your Movie 87
Leaders cannot delegate the job of explaining their vision for the company—what I call “this movie that’s playing in my head.”

10. Be Real 94
If you can’t be yourself, you can’t lead. It’s as simple as that.

Part Three: Master the Basics 101

11. Sweat the Small Stuff 103
Every great company sweats the details. In this chapter, I talk about how great companies such as Disney sweat the small stuff.

12. Who Do You Want on Your Bus? 109
In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that you’ve got to get the right people on the bus. I think that is exactly right. But who are the right people?

13. Keep Your Board Strong—and Informed 118
Companies can’t move fast if the executive team has to drag the board of directors along with it. This chapter describes how I work with my board to keep us all aligned and on track.

14. Intangibles Matter Most 128
In a service business like ours, the most important metrics measure things that are intangible.

Part Four: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing 139

15. Find the Revolution Before It Finds You 141
Revolutions are going on all the time in consumer preferences, in technology, in marketing, and in other areas. We do a number of things at Umpqua to find these revolutions before they overwhelm us.

16. Your Brand is You 150
People don’t like faceless bureaucracies. They like real people, real personalities. We’ve achieved remarkable success by staying true to ourselves. Some people say we’re corny, but it’s who we are—and people respond.

17. Serve the Customer 158
This chapter details our Universal Associates program: every associate in our stores is trained to be able to handle any task a customer requires. This sharply sets us apart from our competition. What are you doing to set yourself apart?

18. Put Design into Everything You Do 165
Design encompasses much more than just the physical layout of stores or products. When design is used effectively, it brings every aspect of your business into alignment so that everything reinforces and supports everything else.

Part Five: Leading Your Culture 173

19. Be There 175
Maintaining a culture is like raising a teenager. You’re constantly checking in. “What are you doing? Where are you going? Who are you hanging out with?”

20. Keep Your Balance 184
Leading for growth is a high-wire act—and there are many dimensions to keeping your balance.

21. Remember Who You Are 193
The biggest danger of relentless growth is that your very growth will undermine the qualities that produced that growth in the first place. You’ve also got to know what not to change—what to maintain if you want to stay on track.

22. Mergers and Acquisitions Done Right 201
A lot of Umpqua’s growth has come from acquisitions, which have the potential to disrupt or dilute the acquiring company’s culture. We have not allowed that to happen.

Conclusion: Making Relentless Progress 211
The key to growth is making progress every single day.

Acknowledgments 215

The Authors 217

Index 219

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Ray Davis addresses many of the key issues we face in continuing to drive growth at Nike—staying connected with the consumer, leading change, building the brand, and cultivating a strong corporate culture. He offers clear solutions and creative leadership approaches for all business leaders, regardless of industry."
—Charlie Denson, president, Nike Brand

"Leading for Growth presents an inspiring and powerful set of lessons about growing a company from a leader who has 'been there and done that.' The book is relevant to anyone in a leadership position faced with the need to change a culture and/or grow successfully—essentially, all of us."
—Eric Flamholtz, president, Management Systems Consulting Corporation, and professor of management, Anderson School, UCLA

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