Around Thanksgiving each year my family puts up our holiday decorations. My wife and I are suckers for the classic holiday movies (“White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” are our two favorites), and this year while decorating our Christmas tree, we had “It’s a Wonderful Life” on in the background. My eldest son Jack, who will be six at the end of the year, kept stopping to watch the movie. He asked if I worked with money, and I said yes, indirectly. He was fascinated by the way people would go inside the bank to get money and that people had these things called a wallet to stash the money in.
A few days later, Jack, who is an early riser, and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, and he wanted to start his Christmas list. He mentioned to me how he wants a wallet and a piggy bank and then went on to discuss all the toys he wanted. When he was done with the list, he went to get another piece of paper to rewrite the list. I asked him, “Jack, why do you want to rewrite the list? The one you have is perfectly acceptable. I bet Santa will be proud of how well you wrote the list.” Jack responded, “Dad, I am going to prioritize my list. As you know, Santa will get the items at the top of the list first, which is a wallet and a piggy bank (shockingly!).” For a moment there, I was proud of him as he went on to share how important it was for him to save his money. But then he went on to say that if Santa doesn’t bring him the other items, he would have a place to store his money, so he can buy anything he wants or anything mom and dad won’t let him buy.
As I went to work that morning, it made me reflect on some of my recent visits to clients and the constant liquidity risk issues and the ever-evolving strategic management decisions that are being made. As a five-year-old, Jack is already thinking about his strategic priorities (“How can I ensure I get the toy I want?”) related to how to best utilize his available resources. What are you doing today to ensure you are ready for the next obstacle in your way or how to best utilize the resources available to you to take your institution to the next level?