Money talks

Be consistent in your tone

Villar says that it can be much easier to put an emphasis on a culture of communications when things are going well, but the true
merit of your ability to motivate people through communications
comes through consistency — particularly when the chips are

“Probably the biggest challenge comes when things get tough, when
things are difficult, and I have had some share of that,” he says. “That
requires you to be well balanced.”

Like with other communications, Villar says you have to set the
example by being willing to talk during rough patches. You can set
a tone by very clearly addressing the issue and, while letting people know the gravity of the situation, giving them a reason to be

“The first thing I try to do is be calm, not to project that I am overly worried about the situation,” he says. “I tell people, ‘Listen, we’ll
deal with this and get out of it, let’s do the proper analysis, let’s see
what our options are, and then we’ll make a decision, and I will make
sure we make a decision as soon as we are ready to do it.’ It’s very
important to remain calm, if you get overexcited, chances are the
decisions you make are not the best, so make it a point to remain

If you’ve established a culture where employees are encouraged
to talk through their issues, but then management closes all of its
doors and stops answering questions when things get bad, all the
effort has been wasted. Instead, being a steady hand during times
of crisis will go a long way to ease concerns.

“I’ve had situations in my career where, after the crisis, people
come to me and say, ‘You know, the fact that you showed that we had
the capacities to solve it, that it was nothing that we could not tackle, and the fact that you remained calm was very important to us,’”
Villar says. “They’ll tell you, ‘When we went home at night, we felt like
this was OK, this also shall pass, and this is not the end of the world.’
So when I have people saying that, it’s very satisfying to me.”

Keeping that consistency during the bumps that come with
growth is the key to fully getting people comfortable and motivated by the culture of your company by showing them that the message from the top is sincere.

“Quality of services is what really matters,” Villar says. “And to
the extent that people feel good about the organization, they will
be motivated and treat the customers well. If they are not comfortable, or they don’t feel good in the organization, that reflects in
their relationship with the customers, so it’s sort of a cycle there
that good things lead to better things.”

So however big the bank gets, Villar will keep stopping people in
the halls to formally introduce himself. In whatever way he can, he
wants to be the example for communications at his company so
others follow suit. If you can keep that in your mind every day, you
can create a culture where that bleeds to every level.

“The tone is set at the top,” he says. “If at the top you have this
kind of management style, it permeates to the rest of the organization. Then, when you have some people that come from other cultures and other organizations they have a different mindset for a
while, but what comes down from the top will eventually be what
goes for the whole organization.”

HOW TO REACH: Mercantil Commercebank N.A., (866) 806-8125 or

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