Since 1952, California Bank & Trust has been helping Californians, and their businesses thrive. Today they are among California’s leading banks, with more than $12 billion in loans, $16 billion in deposits, and more than 80 branch offices throughout the state. They strive to deliver customized solutions, tailored loans, and full-service private banking. The driving factor behind everything CB&T does is building strong relationships among team members, intuition, and excellent customer service.
“I always considered myself pretty intuitive, open, and honest with people,” says Dr. Betty Uribe, Executive Vice President of California Bank & Trust, “and I mentor my team to be empathic with each other,” Dr. Uribe, along with Rocky Bandeladze, Senior Vice President, set out to create an environment where individuals can grow, collaborate, and help each other. Their goal was to create a culture where individuals didn’t feel alone, isolated, or cut off from the rest of the group.
They wanted to become more effective in their leadership, communication, conducting meetings, and improving overall team productivity.
Unwittingly at first, the Emotional Connection model from EmC Leaders shaped the way Uribe and her Senior Executive Team guided and cultivated, nurturing the culture at CB&T. While Uribe and Bandeladze had instinctively followed the Process of Emotional Connection in resolving challenges, they decided to integrate the EmC approach into their 15 bank branches across Southern California. Based on their experience, they had already envisioned what they wanted their bank managers to exhibit on a daily basis:
After identifying key elements for improving performance, the team adopted strategies and practices consistent with the EmC process aimed at restructuring interactions and creating strong relationships. EmC Leaders’ experience with dozen of companies has shown that leaders who actively use the EmC process are much more successful in changing and creating a connected team culture throughout their organization.
As a result of the Emotional Connection training, Uribe and Bandeladze saw immediate results. “The first thing I noticed is that I didn’t have to remind my direct reports anymore to follow the work procedures,” Bandeladze says. “Previously, I was allocating 20 percent of my time being on calls or meetings with my direct reports figuring out why they did not complete this or that procedure. That doesn’t exist anymore.”
When people feel connected, they are more focused on catching errors early in the Process and asking for help when in doubt, cutting the time on making errors. The collaborative effort ignited the collective human energy of everyone on the team.
“Everybody got the message of how important the emotional connection is to our work. The reaction from the men and women was equally astounding, “Uribe says, “I know that this particular group is far better off and are far better communicators. This is going to spill over to their personal lives, which is wonderful for us because we want balance, we want everyone to have a better life, better communication with people that matter most to them.”
When people can embody the Emotional Connection way of building relationships, they come with a better appreciation, they get to be one hundred percent at work, and their productivity goes way up. “Not only this has caused our trust to go up, but it has caused our bottom line performance to go up as a result of this program,” Uribe says, “I am definitely a champion for this program.”
“From the beginning, we knew that in order to experience different results and overcome industry challenges, we needed to work differently,” Bandeladze says, “So, now I am approaching every meeting from the standpoint that my direct reports really want to be connected with me. This model provided a framework for us to have deeper conversations. So, instead of avoiding them, we are now addressing the underlying issues directly without fear and hesitation. And we can see the results. With a higher degree of accountability, it feels fantastic. We trained our entire staff in Emotional Connection, and I feel like there is no battle that we can’t win.”