Sort your change

Once again words matter – a lesson in how to miss the details from St George. MICHEL HOGAN

Michel Hogan

By Michel Hogan

Standing in line at St George Bank this week I saw a sign that felt so out of place I had to comment. It said: “You must sort your change.”

I know that large bags of various coins can be a pain in any teller’s day, and it is a reasonable request for the coins to be pre-sorted when bought in. That’s not my issue.

St George is the “people” bank – they tell me that with their bright smiles and helpful attitudes, their cartoon logo and bright red signs, with the way they call me to make sure that the transfer made online was indeed made by me… so why blow a hole in my nice warm fuzzy feeling with a blunt, rude sign.

There are plenty of signs that branches make themselves, but this wasn’t one of them – it was professionally done and laminated, placed prominently on the outside of the teller windows. So it was deliberate – but it wasn’t thought about and they wasted a small but potentially important opportunity to make good on their promise.

Here are some others ways that they could have made the same “deliberate” request with very different results:

  • “Please bring your change to us pre-sorted”
  • “We are happy to bank your change, please sort it first”
  • “Not all coins are alike, please sort your change”

You get the idea.

The culture of your organisation should be visible in the nooks and crannies of your day-to-day operations. The small things are what prove or disprove that you do actually mean what you say. Words and actions matter – make them deliberate.

(For different takes on being deliberate read Walk the talk and How a little word can mean a lot and Give it some teeth.)

See you next week!


Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

For more Cultural Leadership blogs, click here.



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