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Strategic Change that Works for Banking

After visiting a number of his company’s banking centers, Sam, the retail banking division executive is dissatisfied with what he sees. Core deposit growth has flattened and in some cases, deposits are declining. Waiting lines are long; customers are not warmly greeted by banking center staff; litter is scattered around the building; staff turnover is high; the staff’s appearance is unkempt. One Monday he holds a teleconference with the regional retail managers and says, "Fix it – now."

Elizabeth is Sam’s counterpart at a competing bank. She realizes that her bank’s retail network has similar performance issues as Sam’s bank. Elizabeth charges a task force with transforming the retail network to achieve the high quality sales and service environment she envisions. Elizabeth clearly articulates the results she wants achieved, by date certain, and assigns the taskforce the responsibility of determining the "what, why, how, where, who, and when" for achieving those results. Elizabeth remains active in reviewing the plans made, actions taken, and the time schedule for achieving those results.

Though the vignettes above are overly simplified, which executive is more likely to be successful in achieving their desired outcome; in a sustainable, uniform, and timely manner across the retail franchise? Sam is practicing "blind trust" and, in effect, counting on providence for success. Elizabeth may not be discounting providence, but she clearly is taking disciplined, measured actions to achieve her goals.

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