The Power of People in Digital Banking Transformation

The Power of People in Digital Banking Transformation

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The Power of People in Digital Banking Transformation

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    Lesson Four: Embed a Digital Culture to Disrupt the Business Before Attackers Do

    It’s not news that traditional banking cultures are often rigid, siloed, and risk averse. Failure can have severe consequences for a business in which a large amount of value is at risk.

    The cultures of digital attackers, however, could not be more different. The digital leaders we have studied share five important cultural attributes:

    • Customer Centricity. They keep the customer first and innovate on the basis of customer insights, not on the basis of product or technology. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, brings an empty chair to meetings to remind top executives that the customer is the most important person in the room. Every year, thousands of Amazon managers attend two days of call center training, and they field calls periodically.
    • Experimentation. They encourage their employees to try new things and to learn from failure. As tech guru Tim O’Reilly says, “Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried.”
    • Agility. They act quickly through sprints, rapidly adapt to changing requirements, and remove barriers to the fast implementation of ideas and innovation. For example, 12 principles guide companies that adhere to agile software-development practices. The first principle: “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
    • Collaboration. They remove silos and encourage horizontal collaboration and openness. For example, selflessness is one of the nine key behaviors and skills that Netflix values in its employees. The company gets rid of “brilliant jerks” who can’t collaborate.
    • Continuous Innovation. They build an atmosphere of innovation to keep pace with evolving digital trends. LinkedIn, Apple, and Microsoft, for example, give employees time and resources to pursue their own projects.

    We have found that successful companies are clear about the winning behaviors they expect from their leaders, and they tie those behaviors to specific actions. They go beyond the so-called moments of truth—such as when companies hire, celebrate, promote, and fire employees—and instead treat every day as this kind of opportunity. (See Exhibit 4.)