Fable Friday: How to become a safe bet? Get lucky!

Everything I ever succeeded at in life was due to good luck. Branch Rickey once said about a ballplayer making a lucky play, “luck is the residue of design,” but I believe it’s better to be lucky than good.

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedIn my first year of banking I was promoted to Operations Manager at our big mid-city flagship branch. I got this job for two reasons.  First, I reported to the smartest Operations Manager in the bank, a guy named Buddy M. and I learned a lot from him.  Second, Buddy ended up getting fired for doing the stupidest thing imaginable, so they gave me the job. Thinking back on it, you don’t see too many top bankers named Buddy.  Maybe he was unlucky to have that name.

So here’s what happened.  Christmas fell on a Monday that year and we were closing the bank Friday night and setting the timer on the vault.  On a normal weekend we would set it for about 62 hours, winding all three of the Diebold clocks on the inner door.  But for a three-day weekend we needed another 24 hours, so Buddy wound the clocks for 96.  Whoops!  Turns out Buddy didn’t do the math right, but he realized his error before closing the door.

“Here’s a trick I learned,” he told me.  “I’ll wedge this small piece of pencil into the clock mechanism, which will keep the clocks disabled so we can open the doors any time.”  And then he shut the door and twirled the big wheel.

Then to test it, he tried to reopen it and that’s when he realized his mistake, that he had wedged the piece of pencil the wrong way, keeping the clocks from releasing the locking mechanism and permanently locking the vault.  It took two days for Diebold to cut a hole in the vault to open it from inside, which was not a pleasant way for us to spend the Christmas weekend, taking turns manning the empty branch while Diebold worked.

But now I was the Operations Manager and Buddy was no more.  Lucky me, not so lucky Buddy.

One day the head teller came to me to say that the note teller had gone on vacation and no one could get into her cash vault as she was the only one with the combination and no one knew where she was. So while everyone stood around wondering how we would wait on loan customers for payments and renewals, I went upstairs to HR and got the birthdates of the note teller, her husband and her son.

And with that, I quickly opened her cash vault and we were in business.  So this episode, along with the known fact that I had once worked for Buddy M., began an unintended reputation for me that I knew how to open a vault, crack a safe or do other mysterious tricks, all of which had no basis in reality.

Later that same year, I got a call from the Regional Exec.  She said that Diebold had gone to our busiest mall branch and changed the combination to the main vault, but couldn’t get it open again.  They wanted me to go over there and give it a try.

When I got there the Diebold guy was still trying to open it but with no success. He told me he knew the four numbers he had set, but for some reason didn’t remember their sequence.

I told him I could open it and he skeptically handed me the numbers.  And next Fable Friday I’ll tell you how I did it and became one lucky banker.  Meanwhile…

Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

One Response to Fable Friday: How to become a safe bet? Get lucky!

  1. Elizabeth Brown says:

    Aggghhh, I have to wait until next Friday? … Can’t wait.

    Have a great weekend!

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