Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

47) #ExponentialInsights: How to Redefine Leadership w/ Rich Jones

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The pandemic has created an opportunity. Financial brands, which had been moving toward a digital-first approach at a snail's pace, have suddenly hit the fast-forward button. Now we have to work on making products and services easier with digitalization.


What will leadership look like in this new digital and post-pandemic world?

In this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I talk with Rich Jones, president and principal at Leading2Leadership, about leadership in a post-COVID, digital-first world.

Rich and I discuss:

  • Why leadership does not belong to a chosen few
  • The role of culture in digital growth
  • The one thing a financial brand must commit to do in the next 12-18 months

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

...right. You're listening to banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight Siri's, where James Robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales, and Fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toe exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings in Hello, I am James Robert Ley and welcome to another episode of the exponential insight Siris of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today I'm excited to welcome Rich Jones to the show. Rich is the president and principal at leading to leadership. Hello, rich. Hello, Good to be here. Thanks for having me. It is good to have you for sure before we get into today's conversation. Because, as you and I were just talking before we hit the record button, we got a lot to cover. What's one thing right now that you're excited about that, you're working on the personal provided that a lot of stuff that we've been talking about for the last 57 10 years count, um, about how credit unions need to transform how they need to make their products and service make their brand, making their differentiator mawr available to people so they don't have to get in the car and drive. And this pandemic has created that that opportunity, where those plans that people have had in place for 10 years have been kind of moving along slowly, have kind of hit mass now and there. It's like it's like the fly will affect right now, and they realize that Oh, my gosh, we gotta play catch up now and we've got to get there And most of them...

...have done a good job, but now they're realizing how critically important that's has been. And so this whole thing about digital transformation and making products and services more accessible and easier to engage with for credit unions is absolutely now on fast forward. I think the opportunity that creates, though it's still a lot of that work, and you can identify this. A lot of that work is being done in silos. You know, you've got you've got your your lending and they have their own digital initiative of how toe you know, with with with the online loan applications and the mortgage mortgage applications, the collection, online collection, services and so forth. So they got their own little effort going on here. You got branches doing their own thing you got. I t doing their own thing. You've got marketing and doing their own thing. And so all these silos there kind of working in conflict with each other. And so the opportunity now is to kind of look at digital digital strategy as an organizational initiative and not a departmental initiative on initiative that is driven by a single leader. You know, our ord charts need to kind of be reinvented. You know, work chart should follow strategy. Strategy should not follow or charts. So if a strategic initiative is to become more digitally friendly, whether you call it mobile first or digital first, I don't care. But if that is the initiative, then there needs to be an executive that that bands over all the silos that's driving that initiative forward and has a project business plan toe actually make it happen in the foreseeable future. Yeah, you just recently wrote an article about that because you noted that leadership must be redefined because, you know, leadership is seen as the job of the chosen few dictated...

...by that Orrick chart. But you continue writing that leadership isn't for the few. Leadership is for the masses. And then you continue to share five reasons or five ways to redefine leadership. Let's let's talk about that. Because leadership post co vid and a digital First World is vastly different than what leadership was pre coated in the legacy model. Yeah, you know, it used to be leadership was all about position entitle, you know, So you got to a point and I'm a manager. So now I'm leading a team of people, you know? But that whole concept is kind of dated today because every one of the jobs within a credit, you know, I don't care if you're a teller. I don't care if you're a member service person. I don't care if you're processing loan applications. I don't I don't care if your underwriter it doesn't matter what your role is. You are an expert in that job, and you probably gnome or in a lot of cases, then the S V p overseeing your role. Because if they did it, they did it in time in the past. So having that kind of what I call that distributed leadership model, where because you're an expert, you have to have voice and anything that impacts your ability to do this job well and and to serve your members, whoever that is internal or external better, you have to have voice. And that voice has toe have meaning and has to be heard and has to be more importantly, believe. And I think that's kind of missing right now in leadership development across credit units, it's still kind of this top down. You know, you and I talked about this earlier, and I know you're proponent this. We gotta turn the pyramid upside down. You know, Bill Sterner told me he was a CEO that I first CEO or work for, he said. The higher you get the organization, unless you know what's going on in the front line. And so we need to let the front line drive. What is important to what they're engagements tell them is important, and that engagement, more often or not, is the customer of the member. It's not what the board says is...

...not what the S B P says it's what they're hearing every day. Whether engaging our customer, Let's talk about Let's talk about flipping the Orc chart because that is something that we've done multiple times as recommendations for financial brands. When it comes to their digital growth blueprint at the top, we put the community because that is, ultimately, who were helping as a community financial institution. I don't care if you're crediting and I don't care if a community bank you're in goal is toe elevated. Level up the community and power of the community. After that, you have your account holders, but then you have your front line. Those are the people like you said on the day to day that know the ins and the outs. But as you're talking through, this I was thinking about front line is a leadership to the people that they're helping to the people that they're guiding So leadership training all the way down to the front line. Maybe it's not quote unquote cells training. Maybe it is leadership training because to me, leadership is about transformation, helping someone achieve their full potential that they might not even know that they have the ability to tap into that potential in the first place. So, just like leadership, like you said, is normally for the chosen few. If we bring that conversation throughout the organization top to bottom, bottom to top, that is a transformative exercise. Yes. Yeah, I just think about that a minute we look at. Okay, I'm gonna credit you, Let's say and I'm looking at my staff chart, my Lord chart. And I'm looking at that that whole row of people that air called tellers and this is generally referred to as an entry level position. Now, just think about that a moment. Here it is the face of the credit union, that person that your customer, your member engages every single time that has conversation with that, understands and knows them, that here's what they're saying and what...

...problems we're having, they're considered. We we diminish them right from the get go right from the very beginning. One thing that Coleman is Koven is done. Though I think that is a really plus for the for the whole industry. And that is we have established a new appreciation for what we consider to be essential employees, and that is that person that is breathing in the virus job every day. That is the person that's having that conversation through now. A slice of plexiglass but engaging people on a human level, the face of the credit union should never be diminished as a new entry level job. It should be considered a professional job that is giving riel guidance and assistance to people at the point of contact. What better role is there? Well, it's interesting because, like you said, you talk about the teller, that entry level role that is the we call them the front line. They are on the front line of this financial health crisis, and even just the transformation of the way that we think about them in the way they think about themselves, I think, could be a very empowering idea. So you're not just a teller, you're and I wrote some ideas down your financial coach because I'm a big proponent and coaching as almost a transformative activity for financial brand. You're a financial advisor, your ah financial guide or a financial physician, just something that innate Lee. It says. You know what I do more than just transact with someone? I transform someone's life and the way I do this is financially I love. I love this thinking. Ah, lot of credit unions have somewhere in their mission statement, you know, we wanna we wanna help our members achieve financial success. You know, there's there's some kind of verb ege around that and almost every one of...

...them. And and just think about that. When I was at Elements Financial, Federal Credit Union, Indianapolis, we started a new brand initiative, and that brand was We wanna be financial wellness providers. That was our that was our purpose in life. But what we realized that that person on the front line diminish themselves their value. And we're saying, You know, when somebody comes in and asked you to start a savings account, ask him this question asked him, What are you saving for? Because until you know that you really don't know what kind of account open for right. And so they said, Well, I'm not comfortable. This is what that that frontline teller would say. I'm not comfortable in giving these people that have $150,200 on deposit giving them and financial advice, and I said Oh, time out. Think about this a minute. You know mawr, about what products and services you have available to them than they know you are the expert here. You may not have the same balance sheet, but you have more knowledge than they have about what you can do for them. Once they got that paradigm shift, then those conversations about what do you need to borrow the money for? What are you saving for? Became much more readily available in their in their thought process because they saw themselves now as experts, not just as transaction experts. I think that's a that's a really big point to make, because when you are ill and your symptomatic, one of the very first things that we all do is we've got a Google and we Google those symptoms. And that's a very scary proposition, because Google, you get them self diagnosis, and that's the key you self diagnosis. So what do you do you like, uh, you know what? I'm freaking myself out. I'm gonna call the doctor because I'm gonna I'm gonna go see someone...

...who's gonna look at this objectively. And I think that's the same thing when it comes to a financial matters, and I've been reading a lot of research recently, almost going against financial literacy or financial education. It's doing more harm than good because it's giving a pseudo confidence that you really do need to talk to someone. And that's a cultural initiative right there. And here's my you do a lot of work with culture when it comes to digital growth, digital transformation. What is the role of culture and what are the opportunities? Oh, it's absolutely critical. Okay, so So let's let's go back to that conversation we had a minute ago. The people that are sitting on the phone in the call center or the people on the member service desk or the people in the teller window they've never used because they don't have to, you know, banking services There, right there in their place of work every day. They've never used the online presence. They've never opened an account online. They transaction online, and they are totally unaware of how to do this stuff until they understand the value of that for themselves. They can never, never promulgate that value to the people they're talking Thio, you know, So it starts with make everybody in the organization become digitally savvy when it comes to the breath, their banking products and services and and so that they are in a better position. When somebody comes in and said, Oh, man, I'm really in a hurry But I got to do this You know, they can counsel them on how to avoid the step the next time and really provide a service. Go that step beyond. So culture is absolutely essential. You'd also move up the orange chart and you'll find that you've got executives that have never...

...even used their mobile app before. You know, how in the world can you have a digital strategy when people are in the organization? Are totally unaware of what a cool tool this is? Well, it's interesting that you note this because when we do our diagnostic studies and we're working with a group of key stakeholders made up of typically marketing cells and leadership teams, we do ask them number one. Where is your account primary account and a good 30 to 40%. It's always add another financial institution, and then number two, we asked. Have you ever applied for an account or opened alone at your financial brand. And then it was a follow up to that. Have you ever applied for a loan or open an account at a neo bank or a neo lender? That is where the light bulbs start to go off when you just step back and you just that's your homework. Go do come back. Report. They're like, Wow, I see where the gaps are. And it's a self awareness that and then allows them because you could rich. You could say it all day long. You guys need to change this. You guys need to make this why we were been successful up to this point. How do you How do you How do you overcome some of that? We'll call it what I call the complacency of the cave because the cave it's safe, you know? You know, I haven't done this, but it'll be a really fun exercise to sit in the room with, you know, like 10 key people at different levels. The organization, everything from the front line to the executive suite and have them do an online loan application right there in the room, you know, on their computer just like they were, you know, doing it from home and what they're going to find out is how totally broken the process is. You know, I've been through...

...this a few times. You know, the kind of integration of a new online banking or new mobile banking thing. And you sit in these meeting rooms, you know, and you've got all the subject matter experts around you, right? Who's driving that conversation Mawr than anybody else? Compliance and risk mitigation. Almost always so in. And so they're building in all these protections because they have all these fears of abuse and fraud and all this stuff, which is really, But they are starting to put layers on layers and layers of risk mitigation and compliance, on top of which should normally be a pretty simple thing, You know, the other. The other thing is toe have people sit down and have them. You know, like over the course of week. I want this team of people to go in and open up a new savings account online. And I want this group of people to go into a branch. And now I wanna compare the experience of what It was like to do that and find out where the Miss connections are, where we're doing this over here. But we're not doing over here. It would be a lot easier if we were to do this here and not do it here. You know, how can we get some consistency? Regardless of what channel that members coming in through that experience is the same and the rules of the same. The risk mitigation is the same. The compliance is the same. Everything is the same. So if they start a program online, but for some reason they have to complete it in a branch or vice versa. There's no breakage. Technology has transformed our world, and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch if they...

...walk into a branch at all. But your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader. But it doesn't have thio because James Robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey. Visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book, Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy right Now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show you're making me think of, ah, financial institution that we've been advising on the digital growth journey. And right now, at this moment we've been going back and forth with compliance about some silly disclosure you know of, ah, text messaging call back and I get the disclosure. It's it's totally warranted to let someone know that if they complete this form, they might receive a text message and, you know, data rates might apply. But then they go on and get into this whole thing about telemarketing, and I'm like, Okay, compliance I get you. But at what point does compliance become a cost and detrimental to the experience toe where you will see an exponential drop off in digital conversions. When you put this disclosure there because it's gonna scare the hell out of, no one's gonna want to complete that because they're like, um, I give him away my first born. So yeah, at what point does compliance become a cost? And, you know, it's definitely warranted. It's there to protect things, but it's also ah, big challenge when we're looking at this...

...idea of digital experience and speaking of challenges from your worldview and the work that you're doing with financial brands, what are some of the biggest challenges now that we're kind of we're not completely on the other side of co vid, but we're navigating through this. What are some of the biggest roadblocks and challenges that you're hearing that you're seeing right now is we look ahead to 2021. You know, I think one of the biggest issues that that I'm seeing is that a lot of a lot of organizations have kind of put their entire strategic plan on pause. They hit the pause, but and they have no kind of set time set date to re engage. And okay, so let's get back in. You know the thing about strategic plans is not. Everything goes three years from now, like you expected it to go today. You know, a lot of things pandemics happen, you know, way had that the mortgage crash in 2000 and eight, you know, things happen that they're gonna disrupt those plans. And what we have to do is have a process in place that we can quickly understand what the impact truly is, not what we think it is or what we're afraid it is. But what is it, really? And then what do we need to do to help that vision of the future become realized? And it may not happen as quickly. It may get slowed down in some cases. For example, on the digital side, it may have sped it up. We had to do things a lot faster than what we had planned on initially. But what has changed and toe look at it very critically and and not just hit the pause button until the next planning sessions said, Okay, what are we gonna do now? You know, strategic planning should be Ah, once every 3 to 5 year effort with kind of a refresh. Once a year. It's not a whole planning. I mean, you've got a plan. This is what we wanna be in three years. Let's see how we're progressing towards that and what needs to be amended. What do we not...

...know then that we know now that we need to take into consideration? Well, that's the big challenge, Thio. Let's undo the pause button, okay? Yeah. And you talk about undoing the pause button. I'm right there with you. And when you think about creating a bigger, better, brighter future and setting down on that journey, one of the things that I see when it happens with digital is not What are we gonna do? That's that's very easy to say. We need to do, you know, 10 things. It's what are we going to stop doing, right. How do you have that conversation? Well, yeah, that zoos because, you know, you get into that room, you know where you got the board and you got the senior executives, and they kind of all have their little pet projects, you know? So So sometimes it's a matter of you First have to prior ties and the way I like to do that is let's set the priority but has the most, and it can vary by organization. But typically, what has the most member impact? What is going to really change that member relationship or that member experience? Eso you prioritize them all down and then kind of like the old, you know, G model. You know, the bottom 10% has to go. That's just that's all that you know. And I don't care how much you love that or how cool you think it is if it didn't hit this. So Number one is what is. What is the outcome? Who's gonna benefit the most? Number two is. What is that? The resource requirement? Number three. What is the budget requirement? And once you've kind of built that matrix, then it's really easy to kind of prioritize what comes first. What comes and that doesn't mean the one that's in the bottom 10% goes away. It may have to wait a year or two years or three years before it elevates up toe, where it has a chance of having the kind of impact organization needs,...

...but a lot of it's driven by. Oh, we got to do this This is really cool stuff, you know, And so and you gotta have the matrix value creation having the courage to have the difficult conversations, ask the tough questions and sometimes sometimes more times than not. It takes working with someone from the outside, kind of like you, because everyone else is too close toe. Whatever it is, might be your objective. You don't have a dog in the fight. You could care less is toe. What happens You're in point, though, is growth for the organization and growth for the members creating value for the people in the communities. My job is to help you see the trees, the forest, not just the trees, you know, that's that's kind of what my job is, you know, and and unfortunately, the other the other I think opportunity we have is I don't know if you've seen this, but I was working with Credit unit not too long ago and I was sitting there. I was talking to the VP of lending, and this is all part of my discovery diagnostic piece and and I said, Okay, so you've got these these lone goals, these consumer loan goals, right? He said, Yeah, I said, Who owns that number? And I got this blank stare back at me. Well, I see the same thing with strategic planning. They they say, Okay, we wanna become We want to become a leader in digital engagement. Let's say that's their strategy and they've identified what that looks like and what that feels like in the future. But then they don't go to that next step. Who owns that? Who, strategically, Who's gonna be at the table advocating for the resource and for the budget? Who is going to be monitoring the milestones to make sure we're hitting those Those key projects when they need to be done toe actually make this happen. So, you know, I don't see that kind of that. When I was, I was working for a small catalog company out of Portland, Oregon,...

...and we were acquired by Reader's Digest, and I had a meeting with the CEO at the time of Reader's Digest. This is several years ago in Reader's Digest, still had some value and what he had just gotten off his quarterly call with the analysts. And so you know where his head waas This is a publicly held company, and that called The analyst is saying this is what we're gonna do in the next quarter so they could go out and say, Okay, this is a by this is not by this is a whole They could do their job, right? He sat down with me and says, I want to tell you one thing that if you give me a number, that is a covenant between you and me. And if you don't make that number, then we're gonna have another conversation. Okay, so right there, there's an ah ha! Moment for us here. How many? How many credit unions have that mentality of a publicly held companies Say, You know, if we're gonna commit this number, then we we have to make it. That is our job. And if we can't make it, we gotta figure out what we need to do differently. So we don't miss it again, right? You know, im I wrote about this in the book because it's one of the 12 days I it is. It's accountability, accountability. It's a you. If you're gonna make the commitment for X, make sure that you have Why toe hold you accountable to get there. This has been such a good conversation today, Rich and I thank you for the exponential insights that you have shared with us today. As we get close to wrapping up, I wanna look out to the future. You know, it's 2021. What is one thing that you feel that you believe? Ah, financial brand must commit to over the next 12 to 18 months because there's office. There's so much that they could. But if it's just that one thing, because because that's easy thio track and put a metric to and and hold...

...accountability against, What's that one thing from your world? I don't think I could do one thing. I really don't. I wish I could, James, But you know what? But I think they're kind of three priorities right now. One is whatever they're doing now, digitally, they've got to refine that and they've got to define it, and they've got to get much better at it, and and that has to be essential. And if they got the wrong core, if they got the wrong m l o s or whatever it is, they got to fix that. The second one is around. Data data is such an organizational asset. If we don't get our arms wrapped around data and where we can trust the data, regardless of where what source that data is coming from, then we're gonna be making bad decisions because the data is bad. And the third one, I think right now and this has been driven home here in the last in the last two weeks. I think that we have got to figure out how to make our workplaces safe for everybody. I don't care. I don't care what race, religion, color orientation. Everybody has to feel like they have a safe place at work and that they have voice at work. And and so we've to me, you know? So you've got you've got the digital thing. You've got the data thing and now you've got the culture thing. We've got to HR has got to do a much better job in making the culture work for the employees because it works for them is gonna work for the member is exactly right. Then there's no better way toe to wrap that up. Those three points, I really appreciate that it's been a good conversation. If someone wants to continue the conversation with you rich, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hello? LinkedIn is a good way to do it. You can go to my website. Rich are leading to leadership dot com. That's a number two or just emailed me at Rich at leading to leadership dot com. Excellent rich. Well, thank you so much for again for joining me on another episode of banking on Digital growth.

It's been a pleasure, James, Thank you until next time be Well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening to another episode of Banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like what you hear? Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on Apple podcasts, Google Podcast or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even. Mawr Practical in proven insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts bestselling book Banking on Digital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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