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Seated from left: Rita Baron, Renee Samuels and Randy Johnson; Standing from left: Aaron Jernigan and Mark Bybee
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
Seated from left: Rita Baron, Renee Samuels and Randy Johnson; Standing from left: Aaron Jernigan and Mark Bybee

2019 Dynamic Dozen No. 9: OakStar Bank

Posted online

Springfield Business Journal: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Randy Johnson: We have spread out over several communities in Missouri. At one time, we were fortunate to all be housed in one physical location. That’s not the case anymore. The largest thing that is an obstacle, if you will, is trying to do everything you can do to make sure you have good communication. One of the things that’s appealing about anything to do with community is that sense of smallness and that sense of being served. (We’re) working very, very hard to … empower everybody to do everything within our ability to keep the bank small in the way we deal with people we’re fortunate enough to serve. Whether that’s our team members or their families, or whether that’s our customers or shareholders, at the end of the day, nobody wants to deal with any company where they’re just treated like a number.

SBJ: How do you balance personal service and technology needs?
Johnson: It doesn’t matter which age group you happen to fall in. The reality is people do want to have personal contacts. There is a huge distinction between service and being served. We’re going to get service no matter where we go. It can be bad service; it can be over-the-top service. The thing that we do and that we have defined within our organization and the culture within our organization is truly our desire to build a team of individuals who want to serve people. That difference between service and serving is huge. It’s the ability to meet the customer at their point of time and need and create a solution that’s very personal to them. Technology plays a part in that. You have to have solutions that work and that are easy to use, and at the same time have the appropriate amount of safety involved because there’s a lot of folks out there that are trying to electronically steal people’s identity. At the end of the day, it’s still a people-based business. What we have found, and it’s exciting, is that people do respond to people who have a genuine interest in serving their needs. That’s something different than service.

SBJ: Do you have processes in place to keep your company from growing too quickly?
Johnson: It might surprise you. We do not put sales quotas in place. We do not set up sales meetings for our team members. The growth that we’ve enjoyed has been driven by the way that our team members interact with the people they serve. There’s no charted course that says next year we’re going to be a billion-and-a-half-dollar bank. We don’t approach it from that perspective. We approach it from the perspective of how well do we accomplish our own [service] goals, which are pretty lofty, and that is to take the time to be that resource that the customer needs for whatever the transaction is.

SBJ: What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
Johnson: Be true to who you are. You really can’t fake this stuff, so you either believe it and you manage toward that and serve toward that or you’re faking it. If you’re faking it, your people know. Enjoy what you do, be true to who you are, and love, serve and care for people.

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