Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Making good

Some nights I feel more like writing, tonight I am writing anyways. A recurring theme with me is to assume the worst, and to be surprised when the best happens. I have been certain of the best at times, and then when everything unexpectedly changes, I recognize that as something less than the best ... I have decided to change that about myself. It is a common trait that runs in the family. It doesn't make it right, just common - and common is rarely best.
I had a meeting today with a very important customer - in many ways they define my role at Umpqua Bank and were a good portion of the impetus for Umpqua to enter into the environmental financing field; that and Obama's recurring call for energy independence, echoed by the Governor and the Mayor. My customer and the bank have an agreement of a shared focus on energy projects. They are graded by their ability to show that they are supporting those projects, we want to make loans that add to our bottom line, as well as that support our care for the local community and the environment ... recognizing me as a banker, the priorities are pretty obvious. Regardless, it is admirable to do well while going good - so we persist.
The meeting was to discuss the program's performance to date and to look for ways to improve. What I assumed would be a gripe session, clearly from the start was an acknowledgment of the difficulties of business in the current environment and a collaborative effort to agree on ways to improve where we can - in all ways a very productive meeting. Not the meeting I was expecting. I walked away shaking my head in semi-disbelief. I know that we are executing the deliverables well, charging to market with guns blazing, and seeing some small but measureably positive results. I did not think that they would view it the same way. Why is that? Why is it that my first inclination is to think that whatever is being done is not quite as good as what could be done?
I must remind myself to clean my mental lenses before entering into a meeting, a discussion, a new setting, and look with available faculties ... open ears to intently listen, open eyes to read body language and non-verbals, an open mind to consider what is being said and to creatively approach the project with a loving heart.
We make our own good - with whatever is at hand. Words to remember and consider often.