Bankers take lesson from expert on digital experience

Erik Qualman

Urging bankers to find their space somewhere “between The Jetsons and The Flintstones,” digital media expert Erik Qualman gave bankers a road map for becoming digital leaders. Qualman, the author of several books, was the keynote speaker March 15 at the annual convention of the Independent Community Bankers of America. Using the acronym STAMP, he encouraged bankers to keep in mind five words: Simple, True, Act, Map and People.

Reminding bankers that human nature doesn’t change even if digital experiences do, Qualman said people still want face-to-face interactions. People are more traditional than one might expect, with 90 percent preferring to read from paper rather than a screen.

When solving a problem, Qualman suggested bankers declutter rather than add things, a concept he summarized with the word “simple.” To make his point, he shared a compelling car commercial that used no words.

Talking about what it means to be “true,” Qualman declared privacy dead, thus eliminating the difference between integrity and reputation. It used to be that integrity represented what someone or a company did in private, and reputation what they did in public, Qualman explained. Today, the lines between public and private have been thoroughly blurred. Qualman said the merging of these two concepts is good for community bankers, “because this is how you have been living all along.”

To make his point about the word “act,” he invited his audience to think about what single word they might choose to summarize their life. He shared words people often cite: humorous, teacher, leader, loyal, fun, inspirational, caring, honest. He encouraged people to identify such a word and then act in such a way as to make the word accurate.

“Map” is a word Qualman used to suggest the importance of defining important goals: know where you are going, he said. Map out a route to the destination you are seeking, he said, but be flexible enough to take detours if necessary.

And finally, he encouraged bankers to always put people first. Real leaders think of others before themselves. In the digital realm, he suggested making Facebook posts and other social media attention about others rather than self.

Qualman has authored best-selling books, including: “Socialnomics,” “Digital Leader” and “What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube.” The ICBA convention is taking place in Las Vegas and concludes March 16.