September 15, 2019
Who influences your thinking?
In politics, influence can be a dirty word. But, in business — and banking in particular — influencers are the key to insightful decisions made by the C Suite. When planning for the future, bank executives have three obvious constituents who color their thinking and one whose influence should be weighed a bit more carefully.
- Customers. Fast, frictionless transactions are what they want most. Think of it as a quick trip to the dry cleaners to pick up your shirts. You hand in your ticket, get your shirts, are not asked to buy anything else and are out the door in minutes. A trip to the bank (in person or online) should be just as speedy and efficient. But, when making important financial choices, customers still want a trustworthy ally at the branch who will take the time to guide and inform them. Being flexible enough to offer both kinds of service is what keeps customers coming back.
- Staff. With all the disruption to the banking status quo, it's not surprising that staff want stability. They want to know their career path is on track and supported by management. They want their managers to help them achieve their goals. Satisfied bank staff can make for satisfied customers.
- Shareholders. No matter what kind of business they invest in, shareholders expect a successful enterprise to provide stability, growth and dividends. The challenge for financial institutions in transition: providing steady leadership and healthy returns.
- And then there's a fourth group: Vendors. Make no mistake. Heavy P.R. and advertising can go a long way in having you think that you'll lose out to guys around the corner without their product. At the same time, some of those products and services are exactly what the doctor ordered.
So, to whom do you listen?
Listen to your customers or they'll go elsewhere.
Listen to your staff or they'll probably go elsewhere as well.
Listen to your shareholders or you'll most likely be going elsewhere.
Listen to your vendors with a discerning ear. Do you really have a problem that they can help solve — or is the problem being manufactured? Where does their service / product fit with your strategic plan? Do you even have a strategic plan?
As a leader, you not only need to be able to influence others but you need to be open to influence in order to make informed decisions. Successful adaptation to the Phygital Age requires a combination of sound business practices and an open mind.
"No man has ever listened himself out of a job."
- Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States