Ken Wilcox on Motivating Employees
Ken Wilcox has been president and CEO of SVB Financial Group since January 2000. He joined Silicon Valley Bank in 1990 when he co-founded the company's East Coast Technology Division. In this role, Wilcox managed the first regional office of Silicon Valley Bank and was responsible for all lending activity east of the Mississippi River. Upon promotion to chief banking officer in 1997, Wilcox moved from Massachusetts to California and became president and CEO within four years. Prior to joining Silicon Valley Bank, Wilcox spent two years as a member of the Technology Lending Group with the Bank of New England and five years at Shawmut Bank in Boston. Prior to his banking career, Wilcox was a professor of German at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilcox received a bachelor's degree in German studies from Oakland University and a Ph.D. in German Studies from The Ohio State University. He also earned a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School. Wilcox is a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Asia Society and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. He is also an executive committee and board member of both the Bay Area Council and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Wilcox: The two most important ingredients from my perspective in motivating employees to stay ahead of the competition are these. First of all, we go out of our way to hire highly conscientious people, people that drive themselves. I don’t think that anybody stays at SVB who isn’t inherently conscientious. Our folks work really hard but not because anybody tells them to, simply because they want to. The second factor, though, in motivating your employees to stay ahead of the competition is culture. The kind of culture that you build will make all the difference in the world in terms of whether or not your employees work hard to stay ahead of the competition. The two most important aspects of any company are strategy and culture. And I would say under any circumstances, culture trumps strategy. By culture, what I mean is the common understanding that you build among your employees around the way they treat each other, and the way they treat their clients. You could also describe culture as values, a set of values that you mean, that you live, that you not just talk about but you also exhibit on a daily basis and that people will identify with or not, sign up for or not, and that will either cause people to stay in your corporation or because they can’t identify, move on.
Ken Wilcox knows the importance of keeping employees creatively engaged.
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