Have you ever completed a project – one that by all means should have been an unquestionable success – and been puzzled when the needle barely budged? You’ve got a whiz-bang product to promote and you’re out there promoting – but… nothing.
Unfortunately, to get results you need more than just a great product. Time and again, we’ve seen that when financial institutions fail, it isn’t just about the offer. Your success in any given endeavor largely hinges on asking yourself these three things:
1. Do I have the right people?
2. Do I have the right process?
3. Do I have the right culture?
If you fall short in any of those three elements, you likely won’t be successful in your efforts. “But,” you may be protesting from your desk, “we have the best rate in our market! That should be enough to get people in the door!”
Well, sometimes it’s not. These three elements are like a tripod – if one leg doesn’t quite measure up, the tripod isn’t as stable… and it just may topple.
There’s a moment we’ve experienced in many a strategic meeting when we’ll be outlining a strategic initiative with an FI’s head of retail and we will ask, “Who do you see running this program?” What happens next is either extended silence, or a roll call of branch staff that might be almost-qualified to work with customers to nurture the FI’s best customer relationships and focus on their cross-sell efforts.
Or the bank will host a local event to prominently position themselves as being a member of the community, and the branch staff attending the event don’t successfully engage attendees – if they talk to them at all!
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Your team is crucial to your success. It’s imperative to identify the qualities of a team member who will best help your organization thrive, and seek candidates who fit that bill when you’re filling open positions.
When that’s not enough, outsourcing is an option that allows you to strategically supplement your team with qualified leaders – without requiring an additional headcount of an FTE.
Think of the last time you integrated an enhancement to your online or mobile banking services – adding a new online application or integrating a new LOS, for example. Did those projects seem to take longer, feel more cumbersome, than you initially anticipated? If so, take a look at your process.
A muddy process creates road blocks at every step of a project – delaying efforts, deliverables, and launch.
Large-scale projects rely on a clearly identified process in order to flow smoothly and launch on schedule. Projects with numerous dependent tasks can easily get derailed by one step being delayed.
Before you tackle a large project, set a realistic timeline for the various steps needed to thoroughly execute your initiative. Does that process feel do-able to all involved parties? If not, gather feedback, revise, and adjust. The best idea won’t be successful if it never sees the light of day.
Of the three, culture just may be the most difficult to honestly assess. You’re probably ready to provide a laundry list of your FI’s strengths: How actively you support local charities, how your employees all dress up on Halloween, your diverse workforce, or the sheer volume of tasks you’re currently working through.
But look at your culture.
Are your colleagues happy to be there?
Do they understand the goals of the financial institution and are they excited about working toward those goals?
Do employees have opportunity for growth?
What is communication like?
How is feedback given?
Your organization’s culture is what truly sets you apart, and it is the one aspect of your business that is not defined by external criteria. You already have a corporate culture – but is it one where people thrive and success is born? A strong corporate culture will allow you to connect with customers, attract and retain strong employee talent, and takes you forward to achieve your company’s objectives.
Taking a critical look at those three key elements can help you identify areas of improvement for your team and where you need support in order to drive future successes.