Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 8 months ago

192) #ExponentialInsights - The 1% Barrier in Digital Transformation


Financial institutions have only scratched the surface of possibility in their shift from analog to digital services.

What’s holding them back?

My guest, David Brear, believes that financial services have grasped a mere 1% of their digital growth potential. The CEO and Founder of 11:FS, Dave believes resistance to fundamental change is the culprit.

But he is excited about what the future holds once that change has been realized.

Join us as we discuss:

- How the melding of ‘digital’ versus ‘digitized’ has compounded the 1% problem

- Roadblocks to innovation, including culture and misalignment of purpose

- The relationship between personal and professional failure

Today, we progress past the 1% barrier in digital growth - together.

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- David Brear


You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.

Culture for me always misses one word, which is performance. And actually what you're trying to do is create the right environment to create the right performance that you won't to and if you get that right well, you can achieve amazing things. You're listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Laigh, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series, where James Robert Lay interviews the industry's top marketing, sales and FINTECH leaders, sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings and hello. I am James Robert Lay and welcome to the one hundred and ninety second episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome David Brier to the show. David is the CEO of eleven ffs and believes digital financial services are one percent finished, and that's because at elevenfs they are building next generation propositions for challengers in the financial services industry, from existing firms looking to Nimate, two startups looking to scale and everyone in between. Welcome to the show, David. It is so good to share time with it today. Buddy. Yeah, I lovely to have to be here. Thanks for having me on. Before we get into talking about why you believe digital financial services or one percent finished, I was like to start off on a positive note. What is going well for you right now, personally or professionally? It's your pick always to get started here on the show. Oh Man, what is good? I'm healthy and I'm happy like now. Let's start with that one, because I think that kind of builds on everything else really. But thankful to be alive in this way and wonderful times with everything that's happening. And I guess from a professional perspective, nothing kind of makes people realize digitals good, just like a global pandemic, right. So I guess from a professional sense then everything's looking in a really good sense as well. Yeah, and I think it's this idea of mindset, health and happiness and trying to make the best of what we have been given to us, the hand that we've been played to turn that into a positive, optimistic because I think you know, when it comes to money, people are looking for two things. They're looking for help they're looking for hope. Hope often has to come before even someone is ready to receive help, and right now it does. It feels like there's a lot of chaos going on in the world and, and I've been saying this since the pandemic started. What what we've experienced over the past couple of years, I'm predicting is just a preview of a lot of exponential changes that we are going to experience at both the macro and the micro levels. And and there's no doubt that changes... hard, it could feel scary, you can feel painful. And of what it? Industry is experienced massive amount of change. It is financial services, and you do believe financial services are just one percent finished? I want to start here. What do you mean by this? And from that, what we really mean is absolutely the financial services industry has gone through a lot of change, but equally, I think it's resisting the most significant change that it really can come about. You know, financial services organizations, the big ones that we really sort of know, the high street brands, in the sense of the wells Fargoes, the Bank of Americas, the you know, the city banks of this world, and they are resisting the level of change that digital can really bring about, and that's understandable. I mean they were created in an analog world when the physical nature of cash, you know, those dollars in your hand or or the the branch network was was really what was known when financial services was there. You wanted to borrow money, you went and saw the Nice Guy in the branch and around the corner and had a conversation around it. But digital has the potential to fundamentally shift really everything that financial services has to offer, the business models, the operating models and everything that comes with it. And my point really is that, you know, digital banking really is only one percent finished, because actually the power of what we're carrying around in up pockets. Yes, he's only being scratched and and I think I completely agree with what you're saying about that, that that tension between what conshume is really really need. Now we alwill say it's that we're hunting for people who are undeserved, overcharged or overwhelmed, and actually, when you look at what those three things are, that overwhelmed one right now is happening at a greater paste than ever before. It's interesting you use the word overwhelmed because, for through some of the research that we've done with a digital secret shopping studies, we tend to find a common pattern around, you know, money feels confusing, it feels frustrating, and then the other descriptive word is is it feels overwhelming and there's a lot of inherent cognitive load tied to money and then that cognitive load is just exponentially increased, particularly digitally, with experiences that add unnecessary friction. And then we'd think about friction. Experiences are getting benchmarked and baseline against other experiences outside of financial services. You touched on a lot of the incumbents being built for a an analog of physical world, and I think there's tension to where not only does money feel confusing, frustrating and stressful and overwhelming, digital transformation internally feels the same way at a lot of these organizations. So there's an empathetical Lens that we could look through. And what of the things that you note in your truly digital manifesto,...

...and I love Manifestos, and you have eleven principles to build intelligent customer solutions fit for the modern digital landscape. One of the things that you know, and I think it's important to unpack this, digitize does not equal truly digital. What do you mean by this? Yeah, absolutely, and it's it's an interesting one. I mean the film factor that people and this is so hard because again, this is a mental state. Yesoll understand the current state, they underscount and understand the current landscape and actually just taking that form factor and putting it into a website or a mobile APP does not create a truly digital capability. And we often say I mean there's a we use digital riches, which is it has to be real time, intelligent, contextual, human, extendable and social. And if you're really wanting to embody what digital can do, then actually you need to be ticking all of those boxes when you're building products, because I think the thing that people lose in this, this period of transition between analog and digital is like people are really good, like, you know, we should kind of like point out they are really really good at being empathetic. Yeah, you know, if you go and talk to somebody as your financial services life, they are experts like they are regulated experts who can talk to you about what the best thing is to do. What we have now in the digital world when it comes to financial services is self service, and what that's doing is it's putting the emphasis on you to make decisions around your financial life. And you're not a financial expert. I mean you are a financial exper but because it's what you do, but most people on the street are not a financial expert, right. So, and they say this is a shift. You know, like this is a real shift in if you look at every other digital service that we every other APP that you love on your phone right now. I mean the Uber driver who turns up can drive an uber pretty well, you know, if you cut, if you can't drive, that doesn't work. Deliver row or you know the the you know food delivery services that turn up to your house. They don't ask you to cook it for yourself. Right. So, you know, banking is a service, it is financial services, it's not just a product. Yes, and what people are looking for is not to do more banking. They're looking for banks to use their expertise to do the banking for them, and I think that is the major shift that we really need to get to see as I mean, Tesla's can drive themselves down the down the road right now, but my bank will still charge me if I go into my overdraft like it's like that doesn't make any sense. We've got algorithms that can drive cars but can't drive my money for me. Makes no sense to me. Yeah, that's a great example. Whether it's Tesla or, you know, you call it Uber. You have an Uber, you have an expert who's who's driving that Uber, who's take you from point a to point B, and that's, you know, driving a car, not dealing with... transactions. You're essentially your future. I look at this a lot through the lens of Health Care Right because, to your point, we've been given an opportunity of ownership, to make decisions for our self, a little bit of autonomy, and that could be a very good thing, but it also can be a bit of a dangerous thing too, if we're not well versed or have that knowledge, expertise. It's the same as if I was to go to Google. I'm not feeling well, I go to Google and I start googling my symptoms. Well, pretty soon I'm going to die and the next week, based upon what I know, because I don't know how to filter that out through a lens of expertise and experience. I see there's that opportunity, back to your point, of really injecting expertise through the digital experience to provide that knowledge, that guidance, that wisdom and, if and if nothing more, to put people's minds at ease that hey, it's okay, we're going to show you exactly what you need to do next. And and this type of experience. I think it takes time to transform hearts and minds, to transform the thinking beyond the physical world. Like you said, they're doing a great job empathetically there to then inject that type of feeling into the digital space. And when it comes to time managing time, time, time is the great equalizer in and you wrote a really fantastic article on Linkedin with a call to action to stop wasting time on low impact activities and you ask a great question the article and I think it's one that we could touch on here, when it comes to this idea of just digital transformation, digital growth, is the impact worth the effort? Because when it comes to looking out at the future of banking, how can financial brands apply this one simple question. Is the impact worth the effort when it comes to managing change and transformation? Yeah, I mean, it is the challenge and I would say, how can they manage it? I mean it's honestly, it's not just an article. It's something I literally ask myself every day for everything that I'm doing. It's a post it note on my Imac that I kind of refer to in almost every meeting that I go to because, you know, any business should be looking always to maximize the the impact, to minimize the effort. Think is actually that's where efficiencies really sort of live, and I think it comes back to with with a bank. Actually, digital isn't a channel, like it's not an APP, it's not a website like. Digital is an operating more. Yeah, and actually the beautiful thing about that really, for for everybody listening to this, is like that used to be sort of like a great narrative for some powerpoint. But we've got fintech startups around the planet with, you know, mcguiva levels of tiny resources. You know, we've... start up starting with like five people and ten paper clips and out, you know, a shoe box and they're suddenly able to build capability that banks have been trying to do for three years with thirty million pounds and not being able to achieve so what's in that? You know, like being able to structure yourself. Highly motivated, highly trained, highly structured people with a desire to achieve something can achieve more than gigantic corporate organizations. And and look, this isn't something that just playing out in financial services. We've we've seen this trend in three or four other industries around you know that are really have struggled with this level of change. Yes, and but when they get that this is an operating model, not just an outcome, then it changes for me actually how everybody operates. That's a great point about it being an operating model, not just an outcome. Into your point of these small teams mcgivering it. I think that's where mindset comes into play and it also just how you view the world, because things like lowcode, no code, or allowing teams to build skill faster quicker than ever before. In a lot of it is just being able to see differently, to think differently, to feel differently and ultimately act differently than what others might be doing because they don't have that level of awareness or perception based upon their own experience. And I want to come back to this idea of innovation when it comes to incumbents. What what might be some of the biggest road blocks to innovation around thinking about maximizing future growth through the Lens of digital? What might be some of the road blocks that the dear listener might need to be thinking about that could be an impediment to their future growth? Yeah, I think I think innovation in banks, I think there's always to the two biggest hurdles really is that, first of all, culture kills it really quickly because, and I think they're the challenge with that is the purpose of digital being really unclear. You know, the the advent and I'm sure a number of people that you've worked within the past, the advent of digital wasn't really about customer experience improvements like you know, we should again be really honest about it was about taking people and paper out of organizations to reduce costs, right, because because actually that seems like a good idea. So everybody's transformation investment was based on reducing cost and actually, with an organization that's geared up towards reducing cost suddenly you're trying to focus on increasing experience and increasing the level of service to customers. Yes, well, that is a huge shift in in culture within those organizations to really make those things...

...happen. So for me that's first and foremost the the biggest hurdle, which is a culture actually needs to be set up correctly in order to create the right outcomes that you want in the first place. The second bit is, I mean innovation in most organizations is is just theater. It is a thing that is being done not really to deliver capability through to the customer to change them. It's predominantly being done in order to make the board feel comfortable that progress is being made. Yeah, and that's scary, like when you look at the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being spent on sort of theater and the theater that goes around that. And that is a really scary thing to kind of face into because often when a boarder a set of senior managers think that something's done, it isn't. And often, you know, when you start unpicking the layers of bureaucracy or the layers of legacy technology, you realize that actually a lot of money has been spent, but not really much has been changed. Digital growth is a journey from good to great, but sometimes this journey can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone, because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and Finn text who are all learning, collaborating and growing together. Visit Digital Growthcom, slash and side to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show. That's a great point. It's I can't help my think of of Shakespeare. You know, all the world is a stage, all transformation is a stage, and when it comes to this idea of culture, I want to dive a little bit deeper into that because in the back of my mind I could think of one financial brand that is in the banking on digital growth program and their chief digital officer has come into this organization to really try to like stir some things up and and and get some progress and momentum, and it's from a positive place. And one of the things he keeps saying is, you know, we can only move with a speed of culture. And when it comes to culture, you use that word a couple of times. What might be one or two key elements of culture the dear listener should be thinking about, because I'm really and and I would say this is the big lesson that I've learned through the through the pandemic experience, you know, writing banking on digital growth in starting in two thousand and nineteen and then publishing in April of two thousand and twenty. I was really focus, you know, around digital experience plus human experience equals digital growth. DX plus hx equals digital growth. But I would go back and rewrite this in and and I am I'm actually writing at...

...the second book baking a chain around this, this idea of x employee experience, because I think so much of the thinking and the conversation is around technology, technology, technology, digital transformation. where I'm I'm starting to believe for digital transformation to be a success, really need to focus on human transformation first and then use the tools of digital to as to achieve this next level of transformation organizationally or back to your point, culturally, where? Where might there be one or two things culturally that we should be thinking about. So I completely agree. I mean technology is just to facilitate. Yep, it isn't the it isn't the outcome. And actually, look, every every business on the planet is just a collection of people with a different badge like you know. I mean it's like, even if you're a product business, your product is being made by people, maintained by people. You know. So you know, culture is just a group of people. And what the norms is? Yep, and I think the challenge is is particularly large corporate organizations, is the mentality, the desire and actually the the purpose. And you know, we've got to kind of remember again within gigantic corporate organizations they've had, you know, maybe two or three hundred years of amazing success. You know, the purpose in which they were well founded on was probably quite a simplistic, very customer centric problem that they were trying to solve. And you know, through two to three hundred years of success, then maybe those nerves have been dulled a little bit in terms of what they stand for and why they're there. And I think actually bringing that back that purpose. What's the what's the real underlying purpose of the organization? Who you serving? Why are you serving them. What problem are you really solving and reconnecting your your employees with that is really, really critical. But I think the challenge is is that many people have heard these things as lip service. They've heard these are our values, this is what we stand for, you know, this is what we believe in and this is what we don't accept. But actually the reality of what they say and what we're actually happens on the shop floor as it where, are dramatically different. Yeah, but I think that level of then skepticism within organizations leads to to a real, you know, issue for senior managers, which is people just don't believe them anymore when they say they want to achieve something or that there is a democratization of these things. And I think in this period as well that's even harder because actually, when you're the CEEOVER, you know, when you're Jamie diamond and you're standing in front of a thousand people at a conference, then actually, you know, the feedback loop is quite difficult. You might get an email from somebody who's upset when they're leaving or whatever, but when you just as a square on a zoom call with like four hundred other people, the leveling. That actually has happened in this period. People are a more vocal now, yes, and I...

...think that's a good thing. But I mean, I always say with culture it's like it's what you hire, fire, train and reward on. Yep, and that has to be consistent. There's no CEO Flying First Class and you know, you know your head of product flying coach. That's something that doesn't work. And in today's you know, modern culture set up and because all of these things, I always say this culture for me always misses one word, which is performance. Yes, and actually what you're trying to do is create the right environment to create the right performance that you want to and if you get that right, well, you can achieve amazing things. Well, it's funny. I looked up a definition of how I've defined culture previously for an organization and you touched on purpose. Purpose is at the center of the digital growth blueprint, because everything then really expands out from that core. And from the point of culture, I said culture is the result of positive or negative alignment around the shared purpose, further unified by common values, that spreads throughout all departments to create value for the organization internally and externally, and I keep coming back to this idea of purpose, because I do think it is is by reviewing not what we do or how we do it, but by ascending a little bit higher into who we do it, for getting really clear about that, and then, ultimately why we're doing this for these people, and then we can worry about how we're delivering it and what we're positioning is. It's getting stuck in the what and the and the how. That's where I see the commoditization kicking in right. Yeah, I mean we alway say on these things that I mean there's two types of purpose. There's there's on purpose, which is, you know, we are active in this, we are not passive. There is a we are actively taking a role in making these things happen, and then with purpose, which is for the good of something that you're trying to establish. I mean, it's a nice little, nice little sticker kicking around the levenfs office as well, but it's like if you're on purpose and with purpose, actually that's the type of stuff you get out of bed for. Yep, if you if you're passive and you don't believe in why you're doing what you're doing, it's really difficult to motivate people to get there. So and and again it's it just makes total sense to me, and I might my background is is, you know, been in business for a while, but sports, you know, how do you unify people in Sports Team? It's like everybody has to believe even the same goal. Everybody has to believe in the the rest of your teammates being there for you when you need them. Everybody really has to believe in the fact that everybody is playing at the same level and can support the rest of the team. And if all of these things are free, teams can achieve amazing...

...things. Yeah, and I think coming back to the point of purpose and the role that it plays within an organization, with within innovation, even we're going to experience some type of failure along the way and and and the challenges is when we tie emotion to failures of the past, that's where we start to anchor things in and we're not able to break free and move beyond those failures. Failure is part of the learning process and and it as part of the growth process. You wrote a another beautiful article. It was it was a beautiful tribute to your mom and one of the lessons that she shared with you. She taught you was just how to get up, just get up, and and you tied this back to the sports, to and it just I love this perspective because I even think about my own wife. Yesterday she took our oldest son skating. They had a skate party at the roller rink and he fell down and the teacher who was there was like you did it really kind of stop and caudle him, and my wife's like no, just get up, like you got to keep you got to keep skating. And so I want to get your take on this. When it comes to struggling with failure, whether it be organization, reasonally, culturally, at a team level, maybe an individual level, what are opportunities that you see to inspire others, maybe it's leaders or others around them, to get up like your mom tight and inspired you to do. Yeah, as you say, I mean, sadly, my mom passed away in January and you know, all of the many lessons she taught me in that sense was this and it's and it feels like it feels harsh, doesn't it? As a as a teaching your child to that you're you know, you wanting to give them the tools to solve problems for themselves. But that's really what parenting is. It's your the reaction is to just make everything better and make everything perfect, but the reality the world is your parenting to help them be great when you're not there. And it's funny, I mean we often kind of give people that metaphor when we're working with them. Is like wait, did you expect that we were here to do all of the stuff? Because, I mean it's like going to the gym and getting a personal training to do all the precepts and set ups for you. It's like what do you learn? Like, how do you get fit? Yes, and so so I think it's an interest. You know, the point on failure, I mean it's interesting. There's a there's a real kind of, you know, Zeke geist move with failure to, you know, embrace it and it's part of the journey and all those things. Now, like I do believe that in the sense that mental...

...resilience needs to be built up to to see feedback. You know, the feedback loop of me missing a shot is well, I know I chant that one and therefore I need to, you know, do better next time. But but actually I think there's a difference between acceptance and excuses and I've I've kind of always been brought up to to accept no excuses from myself and to use, you know, negatives as flips to move towards positives, which is well, I didn't do it great this time, but next time I will. And I think within the business context, that the hard part about that is. I mean, I I'm sure I've messed up about fifty things today. That's okay because I've learned that, I've moved forward and I've resolved those problems and it will happen every day of my life. You know, I'm by no means are my perfect everything that I'm doing, but I will try and perfect it and I think if you get that mentality that again it goes back to the one percent finished piece. One percent finished is not a quantitative study of the Financial Service as landscape that we've done. This is a mindset. Yes, it is saying that if you believe you're done, you're wrong. If you believe you've got so much more of the journey ahead in order to achieve greater things and move further forward, then you're right, and I think breeding that mentality into you know, I've got a ten year old and an eight year old. If I can take one thing that my my mum brought me eat even that period of time, it's the the mentor resilience to file but just keep getting out. Yeah, I agree with you like on this. This point of failure one of our what I call eight elements for exponential growth, and exponential growth is what I define as when you're growing personally and professionally at the same time you're being even better than what you were the day before. I think about James Clear and his whole you know, thinking in automic habits like one percent better. The way that we define this failure is learning, but don't keep repeating the same mistake, because then you're not learning anything and it's okay. And I think this idea of what I'm viewing as a growth mindset from a place of abundance. The future is so big and that that one percent is really resonating with me because in an executive coaching program that I'm in with Dan Sullivan called strategic coach, you know, one of the big lessons that he has taught me over the years is always make your future bigger. Than your past and this idea of one percent. It's like, man, I still got ninety nine percent more to go. I'm excited. Buckle up, buttercup, because we're going to go on this ride together. And and speaking about going on this ride together, this has been a great ride with you today. I appreciate the conversation, the knowledge and and I'm with you. You know, digital financial services is one percent finish and as we begin to wrap up, I want to look ahead towards that...

...bigger, better, brighter future. What are you most hopeful and excited about as you continue through the work that you're doing at eleven a verse? You continue to build the other ninety nine percent were excited about. Yeah, I mean I really think the the potential for artificial intelligence at that I really do think that is the thing that probably excites me most, because I actually think financial services, I mean we love this stuff because it's what we do right, and actually we live in this world every day and we talk about it all the time and we get all excited. Normal people just don't care, right, and I really, I really just think actually artificial intelligence has the potential to really democratize the types of experiences that you would only get if you had, you know, fifty million dollars in the bank. You know, a team of people now can be replicated with algorithms to make actually everybody financially better off. Yeah, the industry that we working, I mean financial service, is the business models of financial services are really predicated on, you impunity, of fees and charges. And actually, I think at the point where the industry moves towards really replicating and and, you know, creating services that make all of their customers fundamentally better off than actually, I don't think that's just a financial service as goal. I think, to your point earlier on, I think the world is to at that point. You know, we say a vision for eleven fss to change the fabric of financial services, and we think at that point then the whole world will be better off. Yeah, yeah, and it's that idea of being even better, being better off, that I'm hopeful about. And one of the great opportunities I see on this this front is to your point two on the punitive charges, on almost pitalizing people for bad behavior, thinking from a parental perspective. But yeah, when, when we can finally as a whole, as an industry commit to put the transformation of people beyond just the commoditized transaction of dollars and sets. That's where I see like there'll be a big shift and momentum and I want to get repracticals. We wrap up here. You know, we've talked a lot about change. We've talked about innovation, we've talked about fellery, we've talked about culture. What is one small action, and I say small because all all growth begins with a small, simple step forward? What is one small action that the dear listener can take next to create a culture of innovation within their financial brand? Yeah, for me it was begins and endzone communication. I'm never ever in my entire career going into an organization where they're on people who know exactly what should be being done. You don't really fundamentally understand...

...actually how the customers problems and those problems are affecting their lives. It's just go talk to people. Yeah, you don't need, you know, fancy consultants and you know, ten millions pounds spent on a research project. Just need to go and talk to people and they'll understand what needs to change in the culture and then your customers will know what needs to change in terms of the products. So starting in there would be my advice. Communication, conversation, discuss, dialog, discourse. I think of John Jankliss over at Nimbus Q Soo, and he's talked about doing a listening tour and there's an another acronym for that here in Digital Growth Topia called go all in on people, and that's an acronym for ask, listen and learn, and learned a lot I have. David, this has been a great conversation. How can someone who is listening connect with you to continue the discussion that we've started here today? Absolutely, and you can find elevenfs over on elevenfscom and I look predominantly on linkedin these days, so you can find me over that and subscribe to your Linkedin News Letter. It's you got a lot of great insights that you share. was every week? Yeah, every Wednesday, every Wednesday, so subscribe to the news letter. Learn from David. David, thank you for joining me for another episode of banking on digital growth. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you very much for having as always, and until next time, be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Leigh. To get even more practical and proven insights, along with coaching and guidance, visit digital growthcom slash insider to join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and Finn Tax until next time, be well and do good.

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