Leadership & Execution Breakthroughs
The CEO of the bank was frustrated as he dismissed the large consulting firm from the boardroom after they presented an overly complex and high-priced set of recommendations supposedly geared toward driving their operating costs down while positioning the company for future growth. Similar to today’s challenges presented by the coronavirus, the bank was rebounding from the 2010 financial crisis and found itself in the lowest quartile efficiency ratio performance despite being in good markets.
Alignment/Accountability, Architecture, and Ability
Like FutureSolve’s approach, the CEO and executive team partnered with a boutique advisory firm to identify and fix the key factors constraining their performance, in order to achieve breakthrough performance.
Despite the large consulting firms’ complex list of initiatives, the leadership team also recognized there was no one silver bullet fix as well. Therefore, the boutique firm and executive team put in place an integrated model to engage the entire organization around four key elements, which are referred to as the 4 A’s:
Alignment & Accountability:
The company re-assessed their current and future business direction and landed on an inspirational
purpose for all their teammates to facilitate “lighting the way to financial well-being” for all clients. The
team then created a vertical slice task force across the entire organization, to establish the key values
and principles needed to fully execute the new strategy. In addition, the CEO established accountability
partners with all executive teams and purpose ambassadors throughout the company, one of several key
actions to ensure accountability for consistent behaviors and exceptional results.
Architecture: Design for simplicity and ownership
The bank then broke down its age-old silos by redesigning their structure to a flatter, more integrated
structure closer to clients. This key change brought about faster, improved decision making which
resulted in significant gains in revenue growth, while decreasing its operating costs by several hundred
million dollars. A few other key imaginative system designs included:
- A simplification and reduction of over fifty individual incentive plans to enterprise, team, and
individual plans linked directly to the company’s purpose and strategy.
- An investment in new technology and systems (with the savings in operating costs and gains in
revenue) helped provide greater analytics and insights to teammates and more user-friendly
offerings to clients.
Ability: Investment in people
The bank concurrently focused on cultivating capability across all levels of the company. This included an
assessment of critical positions and development of a new behavioral and competency-based learning
system for executives, managers, front line leaders, and teammates. In addition, the executive team set
up a Build, Buy, and Move model, to ensure the bank would have the best talent for current and future
AND NOW THE REST OF THE STORY…
In five years, the bank achieved top quartile performance and improved financial results, with a net
income of $2 billion.
The CEO stated that the assistance provided to develop a simple, integrated model that our leadership
team could implement, and not an army of consultants, helped bring clarity and focus to the entire