The February/March 2017 edition of Banking Exchange contains a lengthy interview between Bank Exchange’s Executive Editor, Steve Cocheo, and our own Walt Moeling.  Framed in the context of seven questions asked of Walt, the interview does a great job illustrating Walt’s use of stories to prove a point.

Talking to banking attorney Walter Moeling about an organization that forbade talk about mergers and acquisitions—because it may make folks unhappy—leads to his gentle scoff: “There’s nobody involved in banking who is not interested in mergers.”

And then, in typical Moeling fashion, a short point brings him to a story. Walt Moeling always has a story—nearly always with a point or moral for the listener to let sink in.

“I was called upon to do a board session, a strategic planning meeting. I told the CEO I was going to talk about mergers. ‘Oh, you don’t need to do that,’ he told me. ‘My board isn’t interested in mergers.’

“I told the CEO, ‘If I’m going to talk about strategy, I’m going to talk about M&A. You can’t plan a strategy without knowing where you are heading.’”

So the day of the strategic planning meeting arrives, and off the bat, Moeling tells the gathered directors that he is going to discuss mergers.

“I like to call it the buy, sell, or hold discussion,” he explains.

Everyone froze, Moeling recounts. He decided to speak plainly.

“Now, I know you folks sitting in this room do, in fact, talk about this regularly. In fact, that’s what usually goes on out in the parking lot after the board meeting, right?”

It was then that a board member gasped and turned to a fellow director: “Joe! Did you tell Walt about that discussion we had last week?”

Moeling is a man who laughs, and he guffawed right there in the boardroom.

The president, who truly believed that his directors never talked about mergers, turned white.

“No, Joe didn’t tell on you,” said Moeling. “I just knew it was going on because you fellows are directors, and directors are interested in mergers.”

Read the rest of the interview, and enjoy the additional stories, on the Banking Exchange website.