Case Study – Banking on Performance

Two years after the credit crunch, a medium sized, foreign owned bank set out on an ambitious growth programme to help it survive the coming years.  The plan was to pick some of the highest performers within the bank itself – an elite team who would be responsible for a new offering for the Bank: an integrated product for high net worth individuals.

Called ‘the growth engine’, this team had to deliver most of the growth for the whole bank and render the bank competitive with much bigger banks that had major economies of scale.

To say the targets for this were a ‘stretch goal’ was an understatement.

Six months into the project there were visible signs that nerves were becoming a bit frayed.  The ambitious aims were nowhere near being met and the gap between expectation and delivery was taking its toll.

Too different to co-operate

Bizas were called in to see if we could help the process along. We wanted to make the goals attainable and even enjoyable.

We agreed to run a version of Project Metamorph.

Individuals were interviewed to give their view on what was clearly a fragile set of working relationships.  After 15 hours of interviews, what emerged was a picture of a team that perceived itself to be too heterogeneous.  Each member thought they were too different from each other team members to get on properly – hence the conflict.  As part of the Project Metamorph Bizas implemented, we ran a workshop to establish a clear set of goals for the group – ones that everyone could sign up to.  Two days and 24 pages later, we’d achieved this.

Underneath the ego

One of the biggest surprises of the overall process was that once the anxieties were overcome and everyone had had an opportunity to put across their point of view, we were able to identify that actually what people wanted was pretty much the same thing.  This was the major achievement of the workshop and one which enabled a new level of productivity to take place.

Three months later the team was in action to deliver the goals and saw that working as a cohesive team, they could do it.

What the case demonstrates is how much energy gets wasted by people operating in survival mode, and once you get beyond this and work as a team, you can turn threatened ego into heightened professionalism.

The other thing it demonstrates is that when an organisation feels that it is threatened, that fear finds its way down to the individual level.  It is only by enabling the individuals to have confidence that the bank itself can be confident.