I recently became an officer on our local non-profit board and thus was required to visit four area financial institutions to be added as a signatory. While I sought to complete the same task at the different places, I was amazed at the variance in their procedures to do so.

I was at one place for 45 grueling minutes while a manager and clerk tried to figure out the “new federal regulations.” They required not only my license and paperwork but the driver’s license, social security number and signatures of someone who was already on the account. More disturbing, they took two former officers off the account based on my word alone – no verification or review of the minutes required.

Institution #2 required one of the current signers to call in and verify a security question before they allowed me to access the paperwork. They gave me an envelope for the current person to re-sign but required nothing else from him. I was in and out in 10 minutes.

The clerk at my third stop looked at the Minutes listing me as an officer – a Word document that anyone could have forged – and added me to the account without further question. I left there as well with paperwork and an envelope to gather signatures from those currently on the account.

At institution #4, they wouldn’t even entertain talking to me unless someone currently on the account could come in person to re-sign and add me. I left the account to stand as it was.

It is rare that someone attempts to do the same task in a condensed timeframe at four different institutions, but it was incredibly telling. I know which bank places a higher value on “policy and regulations”, which takes security more seriously and which institution places service at a premium.

If you truly want to get a read on how your customers feel, have someone act as a secret shopper. There is nothing like actually trying to do something to learn how a process really works – and, mostly, how it feels to be in your customer’s shoes.


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: