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Adaptors vs. Adopters
To Actively Adapt or Passively Adopt

Taking Charge vs. Taking a Back Seat

In the face of massive changes occuring in the banking marketplace, bank management today seem to react in one of two ways. Some accept the changing environment and move forward with a degree of self-determination and assertiveness; others wait around for the changes to be made and then (reluctantly) adopt or accommodate those changes in their institution. Let's explore how Adaptors and Adopters view and react to their environment.


  • Are proactive. They find ways to maximize opportunities and are forward looking.

  • Are innovative. Their innovative behavior seeks out better, more effective ways to meet the market's needs and expand their bank's market share. By being proactive, they improve their chances of "getting a leg up" on the competition.

  • Plan in advance just how they will execute their vision. They incorporate the latest available marketing data (both internal and external) to focus their marketing efforts.

  • Refine their plans before they are implemented. They "dry-run" the plan and "work out the kinks" before hand. They know that well-crafted and tested plans yield the most rewarding and cost effective returns.

  • Marshal and focus their resources in order to deploy them in the most efficient fashion. Adaptors do not misapply precious resources. They always expect the highest return on their investment (it is often said that the most successful Adaptors use the rifle approach as opposed to the Adopter's shotgun approach).

  • Follow the successful formula of; plan + implement + monitor + adjust.

  • Control their destiny. They leave little, if anything, to chance because they know that a ship left to drift in the wind, in time it will run aground.

  • Take well-calculated and reasonable risks. They expand the bank's horizon while not sacrificing safety and soundness.


  • Wait on the dock for their ship to come in (using another nautical metaphor) therefore missing many opportunities.

  • Follow the crowd. They then become "also-rans." They risk finally arriving at the party after most of the prime fare has been consumed.

  • Lack the imperative or the will to plan. They feel that someone else will define the rules of the game and all they need to do is follow the innovator's lead.

  • Are reactors, that is to say that their actions (or lack thereof) tend to be influenced by a) events b) circumstances c) situations and d) the competition. Not by original thought or a clear mandate.

  • Do not make thoughtful, well-founded evaluations of the risk-reward aspect of situations and therefore fail to move forward and grow.

  • Fail to utilize the target marketing tools that are currently available and affordable to smaller banks, thus enabling them to compete with their bigger brothers and sisters.