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Letters from Our Chairman


Dear Bank of Prairie Village Community~

One of my favorite Roman observations was by a philosopher who listened to two Roman Generals addressing their troops prior to an inevitable civil war.

He noted after the first general gave his speech his men cheered, jumped up and down, clapped wildly, slapped each other on the back, and complimented their general on a most inspiring speech.

The philosopher then noted after the second general spoke, his men silently drew their swords, turned with a look of resolute determination, and started marching toward the enemy.

Thinking it over, the philosopher bet his life and future on the second general. It was a wise bet.

In an era of 24/7, news coverage, incessant tweeting (now Xing) and unlimited access for anyone and everyone to publicly express their thoughts, I fear real determination, action perseverance, and success will fall prey to the aforementioned Roman philosopher’s avoided trap.

Words, slogans, catchy phrases, flashy online zingers and even beautifully delivered speeches do not, in and of themselves, win games, conquer social ills, generate successful business ventures, or achieve unconditional surrenders.

As the Roman philosopher noted, sometimes, well-spoken words designed primarily for public accolades may distort or diverge from achieving the ultimate objective.

As we have listened to endless political debates, press briefings, and candidate advertisements, it becomes hard with so much ubiquitous banality and triteness to separate the fluff from the grit.

I remember, as a young boy watching a televised Miss America Contest and listening to ten of the ten finalists announce with wide eyes and unabashed enthusiasm their “personal life purpose was to achieve world peace” (the only good thing about that particular contest was Miss Kansas won – which is probably why I was allowed to stay up and watch it).

Although I could easily take this analysis into the political context it is equally applicable in the business context.

Increasingly, I hear and read many board & executive discussions ending with two phrases: 1) “Best Practices,” and 2) “Just Smart Business.”

It seems whenever these two phrases are announced (usually by an outside consultant), serious decision-making analysis goes out the window and various executives fall into line as if stating the phrases themselves justify their own logical reasoning.

“Best Practices.” If you want to tongue tie an outside consultant, simply ask exactly “why” their recommendation is a “Best Business Practice.”

Suddenly the crispness of their presentation begins to wrinkle. Their smugness begins to wither.

To keep the momentum going, ask the consultant for specific examples of how their recommended “Best Practice” solved the problem at hand and whether the cost justified the effort.

Don’t stop, ask the consultant if the “Best Practice” recommended should be revised dependent on obvious and significant differences between the actual situation at hand and the normal industry standard.

After enjoying their uncomfortableness, take a deep breath and go for the kill shot. Ask the consultant to be very specific as to 1) how their “Best Practice” recommendation addresses the uniqueness of your organization, 2) how they would implement the “Best Practice” in a cost-efficient manner, and 3) how such “Best Practice” implementation will significantly benefit your particular organization.

At this point, you will likely see the consultant look at their watch and frantically search the room seeking someone to authoritatively explain neither the consultant, the board, or the executive committee has the time or resources to deviate from the aforementioned “Best Practice” recommendation – to determine if it addresses a real problem and if so whether it should be customized to your specific situation.

In the end, analytical reasoning and often commons sense are cast aside for the sole purpose of adopting a “Best Practice” ~ simply because it has been labeled as a “Best Practice” and no one wants to be accused of not adopting a “Best Practice” regardless of whether it makes sense for every organization.

Like “Best Practice” the term “Just Good Business” has become a catchall phase designed to shut down analytical reasoning or consideration of serious attendant reputational risks, client expectations, or given components to the business’ value proposition.

Goodness only knows, how many automated number pressing switchboards have been installed in the name of “it’s Just Good Business sense.” Sometimes when you find yourself in a “1-800 Customer Service Department Purgatory,” remind yourself, you were put there by a newly minted MBA who convinced the executive committee “automated customer service” was cheaper and just made Good Business sense.

At the Bank of Prairie Village, we will strive never to adopt a “Best Practice” that defies common sense, or a “Just Good Business” shortcut that shortchanges our client’s hard-earned trust. Thank you so much for letting us be your Bank and Bankers.


~ Dan Bolen




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Dan Bolen ~ Chairman

Bank of Prairie Village

913~707~3369 Cell

“The Bank of Prairie Village ~ Home of Blue Lion Banking”~ cited March 2020 and~ again in April 2021 & April 2022 by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of the “Safest Banks in Kansas City for Your Money.”

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