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Light and Purpose

A Note From the Chairman

As we head into 2020 there are a number of timely topics to think more deeply about, including new programs and initiatives, notable accomplishments and other exciting opportunities to plan for. But as I sit here in mid-January, it is difficult to get my mind off something else, something even more important. And it would be great if just the right phrases could surface regarding what many of us find to be almost all-consuming thoughts, but that spigot of words is nearly shut tight.

My word block arrived after three members of our Allegiance Bank family were recently struck by tragedy; an energetic and, to me, youthful employee and mother of five lost her life due to a senseless traffic accident, the younger brother of another employee also tragically passed during the holidays, and the husband of a recently retired long-time employee whose life was taken in his mid-50’s. All of these were heart breaking and entirely unexpected.

There is nothing that can be said to resolve the sadness that has followed. Attempts to do so would not only miss their mark but would fail to grasp the need for silence in this moment as such events represent a permanence that requires our slow adjustment. Despite being hard, it has been instinctively easy to try to be of comfort, however possible.

Allegiance Bankers have been ever-present with expressions of love and a deep sharing of the real hurt that leaves us all a bit more tender, a bit more aware and even more given to our greater purpose. And having seen our value of caring for one another first hand over these past several weeks, it gives rise to hope.

I am reading a book these days entitled “Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line.” The book suggests that corporate America has for decades gotten it all wrong. Our purpose is not simply to “maximize shareholder wealth.” It should take on much more meaning.

Our purpose should be to serve everyone, which definitely includes employees and customers. It means that we must want to make a real difference for them. The key is in the wanting and the book says it helps to have a written purpose that reflects these values.

Writing a Statement of Purpose is very challenging. It seems so big, so all-encompassing that I immediately get lost in the magnitude of the exercise. Perhaps I will know more when I finish the book I’m reading.

What I do know, however, is that for it to fit Allegiance, our statement of purpose should include words that somehow capture the light that we’ve seen shared among our co-workers.

Our purpose must include such light.

This same desire spills over to our customers whose experiences also include unexpected storms.

Another book I just finished, “The Little Red Book of Wisdom,” includes a chapter entitled, “Shut Up and Listen.” I thought of the digital assistant, Alexa. It (not she) is a good listener but comes up well shy of providing real comfort or light.

So for us humans, to master the art of listening and the response that follows is perhaps the key. It is the way our so-called brick and mortar bank will endure and make our greatest contribution, even in, or I should say particularly in, today’s expanding digital age.  

Allegiance Bank Chairman Steven Retzloff

Steve Retzloff, Chairman

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