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Lessons From My Father: Never Stop Learning

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“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” 

Vince Lombardi once inspired his players with those great words, and my father and former chairman of Country Club Bank, Byron Thompson, believed wholeheartedly in that sentiment. After my father's passing this past August, I've been thinking a lot about the values he passed down to me and my siblings and our children, the same values that form the bedrock of our bank.

The lessons he taught us and the values he instilled in us while sitting around the dinner table are the same he brought to his business—and the same qualities you will see reflected in our culture and in all of our associates. One lesson that serves us particularly well, both at home and at work, is to never stop learning.

Keep Informed

One of the ways in which my father constantly pursued excellence in his life was by always striving to be a lifelong learner, a perpetual student. He was a voracious reader and always interested in a wide range of topics and subjects. In fact, as far back as I can remember, he would periodically send articles for all of us kids to read. I would think, "Why is he reading this, and where does the man find the time?"

His quest for knowledge made an impact on me and how I look at life in general, and more specifically how I approach business. A big part of running a successful bank is a constant quest to learn. We need to never be satisfied with the status quo. Too often our industry is associated with "how things have always been done," but our entrepreneurial spirit drives us to continue seeking better ways to serve our customers and community. We want to always listen to our customers' needs and feedback so we can keep fine-tuning our services. Only through that willingness to evolve and improve can we become the best possible financial partner for you.

Admit Mistakes

Of course, as we continue to learn, we often realize a better approach. My dad always taught me to admit my mistakes, something that he never shied away from himself. He often remarked, "See my #2 pencil? The eraser is used more than the lead." He knew that the only way to achieve excellence was to recognize and learn from the inevitable missteps along the way.

The process of fine-tuning the way we work and the services we provide keeps us on our toes. It's frequently been observed that our brains develop most rapidly when we are responding to major changes. Being able to observe when things aren't working to their highest potential gives us the opportunity to continually grow and change, and in today's rapidly evolving marketplace, this perspective is vital to innovation.

Believe in the Moral Value of Work

My dad taught us a work ethic that continues to be a benchmark for every associate at Country Club Bank. He taught us to not just approach our daily work or other activity with a "Got that done" approach and attitude but rather a "Did that well" mindset. We know that when we give our all, we will create deeper and longer-lasting relationships with our customers. And if you knew my dad, you knew he was all about relationships. Staff meetings at the bank were a great opportunity for him to provide coaching and mentoring, and associates always left those meetings feeling truly inspired.

While my dad's passing is a loss to all of us here at Country Club Bank – and to the community as a whole – I'm comforted by the knowledge that his legacy lives on in each one of us. The values he passed on influence every transaction every single day—everything from cashing a check to securing a mortgage to teaching kids about saving money. When we walk through the doors of the bank in the morning, he is with us through the values he instilled and the lessons he taught.

As Country Club Bank's chairman, I promise that my father's commitment and dedication to learning, growing and serving our community will always be our top priorities. Together we truly can "catch excellence."

What values do you apply to your daily work? Share your thoughts by tweeting @CountryClubBank!


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Paul Thompson

Chairman & CEO

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