The paradigm shift of the 21st century branch manager (3)
"The path to success is to take massive, determined action." - Anthony Robbins
Dear Readers, we have been looking at the global challenge facing the banking industry which has created the need for all bank branch managers to also set up their thinking cups to become paradigm shifts in their own outlooks and way of thinking. It is now a simple equation:
Global Banking Paradigm shift + Change in Perspectives = Branch Management Paradigm Shift.
Last week we examined the attributes that branch managers need to have, anywhere they are on the globe. The first of these is the need to be knowledgeable. Knowledge includes skills both technical and cognitive. The ability of managers to garner these skills enables them to virtually join in the esteemed club of leaders and peers on the global scene. With the advantage of e-learning and sharing of scenarios, one can attain a mastery of skills which can be useful anywhere on the globe. One should not have an inferiority complex if one explores the availability of the scenarios with respect to peers in the industry as well as leaders.
I also listed a few areas that one can master knowledge in in an effort to bridge the gap and be more relevant in the industry. Some relevant areas listed last week were basic banking principles, the relevant banking laws that one needs, adequate knowledge of global trends, the facts behind the figures relating to banks performance, product knowledge and peer review.
The Internet…….. Friend or Foe?
Are you a branch manager really ready to update yourself? What is your relationship with the internet like? Do you regard it as a friend or foe? It is a double-edged sword…It can really do good. It is the modern day encyclopedia, dictionary, almanac, and what have you. What do you do with the information? Is it an overload for you or a necessary evil? Is the information you receive always true? How do you sieve the wheat from the chaff? As you think outside the box, are you ready to localize some for the benefit of your branch as you send proposals to head office? Do you involve your staff in some of the branch’s strategies ?
How are you facing the transformation and the on-line threat? The past decade in banking has seen both evolution and revolution. Banks are reinventing themselves, not only to meet the current pressures, but to adapt to meet future global pressures. Current dynamics in banking thrive on technology. I always refer to the internet as the eighth wonder of the world. Even though Internet is an added advantage to the banks, it occupies only a part. … authentication, security, trust, and privacy issues are some of the challenges that online banks have to cope with. It may arise in form of risk in case of unauthorized access of key information of bank accounts. Many people are still not comfortable with online portals, especially from the security point of view. In addition to this, banks also face threats from the internal sources like employee frauds. The Online Banking transformational shift has attracted more number of customers when compared to those banks which are using almost similar products and services. This reflects the fact that customers are looking for better approach in terms of security as well as products and services also. Internet banking is the need of the hour and its future is undoubtedly bright because online banking saves a lot of time. Globalization is shrinking the size of the world. The 21st century branch manager must manage the online banking transactions closely to ensure minimum risk to customers’ banking transactions and gain the confidence of customers.
Combining the traditional banking with on-line banking
It is very important for the branch manager to keep the customer’s point of view as the top priority. Banks must offer a fair blend of services with an ideal combination of traditional banking flavour and new emerging internet banking tools. In short, we can say that internet banking is relatively a new concept in the global banking. It is passing through into growth phase of its development cycle. Results of recent developments and experiments in online banking are yet to come, but it is assured that Internet banking will not remain as only a value-added tool as long as it becomes one of the most important key to success into banking industry.
The Branch Manager as a Chess Player
Modern people management involves recognizing the unique role of each team member and directing their strengths as best fit for maximum benefit. This is sometimes referred to as Positive Discrimination. To quote Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in their HBR article “LEADERSHIP & MANAGING PEOPLE” “Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. More important, you won’t win if you don’t think carefully about how you move the pieces. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack”.
In order for you to play chess, you must recognize the unique role each player on the team can play. Like chess players, modern branch management involves identifying certain qualities in others. These are strengths and weaknesses, the triggers or things that motivate them, their temperaments as well as their preferred learning styles.
The Benefits of Knowing the Personality Types
For people management to be effective, a branch manager has to know some basic psychology to appreciate what the workings of the human mind is like. Let us look at the benefits of knowing the personality types:
- Learning about yourself, your strengths, weakness, values etc
- Learning about what makes other people so different
- Helping you get along better with others
- Team development
- Increasing workplace harmony, productivity, efficiency
- Leadership development
- Conflict resolution
A progressive branch manager should revise a few theories on personality types, temperaments, to understand ourselves as managers as well as study the various traits that make people behave the way they do, to understand and work better with them. Why don’t you ask your staff to take one of the many free online personality-type assessments on the internet? Choose a reliable personality type assessment, email them a link to the test, and ask them to print out the results for a professional development session on how personality affects the workplace dynamic. They’ll learn more about themselves, and you’ll be able to find out what motivates the people that drive your business. Remember however that these theories are guidelines to human understanding and the categories are not cast in stone.
Many mediocre leaders believe value must be taught. On the other hand, great managers and leaders identify the hidden gifts in everyone and assist to let it out for the benefit of the banks as well as for the staff involved. While a mediocre leader wants to just overcome weaknesses, the excellent leader identifies the strengths and focuses on them.
New managers always find themselves in a fix when they realize that their success no more depend on their individual efforts, but rather a combination of every team members’ efforts. Gone are the days when you were able to meet or even exceed your sales targets and felt on top of the world. Now you have to be assessed based on every team member’s ability to meet targets, performance, profitability etc. Nothing comes easy. You cannot easily push people around like a jigsaw puzzle to achieve your targets or meet deadlines. This time you have to study the various personalities and actually “play chess” with them according to their strengths and weaknesses.
Let me pause here. I am still thinking aloud. Think globally while acting locally.
To be continued
Do you want better service from your branch staff? Please buy them copies of my books: “The 21st Century Bank Teller,” and “My Front Desk Experience – A Young Banker’s Story”. Check out from the offices of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, the National Banking College in Accra. Call the hotline-0244333051 for special packages.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alberta Quarcoopome is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, and CEO of ALKAN Business Consult Ltd. She uses her experience and practical case studies, training young bankers in operational risk management, sales, customer service, banking operations and fraud.