Trust. Respect. Integrity. Commitment.

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by Jennifer Griffith, Regional President, First Merchants Bank 

These are the guiding principles of First Merchants Bank and likely words you and your network connect with as well.  They are not unique or fresh or even unexpected. They are, however, powerful guides to help teams navigate any and all opportunities.

Opportunities present themselves in many ways. Sometimes with great clarity, sometimes with murky waters, and sometimes with seemingly conflicting paths of progress. Pausing to reflect on the guidance offered by our guiding principles helps us confidently commence our work to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us.

Back in 2017, my BankNotes article touched on the financial impact trust offers when great trust replaces expensive costs.  In short, increasing trust will decrease costs. Stephen Covey defines trust as the sum of character, competence and judgement (people and business).  Trust propels our teams to get out of the gates quickly and get to work on an opportunity.  We trust each other with a zero tolerance policy to deviate from that principle.  Trust will propel us.  It will not slow us down.

Respect is our foundation.  It’s core to all of us.  ALL people will be treated with significance.  I believe that we don’t meet people by accident, but that we meet people to serve.  Relationships need curiosity to grow, and without it they’ll stall.  Treat everyone with kindness because you are kind.  Ask for nothing in return.  Do not judge.  Ever.  Knowing that respect is core to our project teams paves the pathway to progress without unnecessary distractions.  One of our CEO’s favorite quotes is that Actions + Behaviors – DISTRACTIONS = Outcomes.  Respect everyone.  Every day.

Integrity must be demonstrated.  Promoting integrity requires the demonstration of acting with courage to do the right thing, even if there is pressure to do otherwise.  Our leaders that act with integrity will call out disrespect or false trust.  We will balance growth against limiters, we will take the high road, and we will be patient when necessary, and quick when clear. Integrity requires that we will do the “right” thing and we will honor our guiding principles without dilution.

Commitment is our final principle and key to keeping the team together.  Commitment means we can count on each other to show up in good times and in bad.  It is a reciprocal relationship between all players.  Sometimes we call it our “It Factor.”  No one expects rainbows and sunshine every day.  Commitment is the grit that holds us together through the complexities we are certain to face.

I recently celebrated 23 years with the bank.  It’s an incredible team.  It begins with trust and endures with commitment.