People, customers, culture … not dollar, greed and cutthroat behaviour

People, customers, culture … not dollar, greed and cutthroat behaviour

Financial Services companies are back in the news again following Greg Smith’s resignation letter from Golden Sachs being published as an Editorial by the New York Times this week. Reinforcing the disdainful public belief that all banker’s are fuelled by greed and that the greedier you are the more career success you will get and that the reward for that success is massive salaries and bonuses.

Fuelling these fires in public may be indeed be driven by the altruistic reasons he states or hide a personal vendetta Greg Smith has against his former employer, but it does ring true. The stench of this fire will drift across more banks and stay rancid for some time. Just when Bankers are desperate to regain trust and rebuild customer confidence, they are facing yet more scrutiny that will achieve precisiely the opposite.

To do this, Financial Companies must focus more on how they work inside their organisations, what their beliefs are, how their culture must support these beliefs and that their people must represent this. To regain trust and improve their reputations, the banks have to put their customer’s front and centre into this process. They will need to ensure that to deliver customer driven initiatives, they change company centric processes. The 2 key words are Culture and Customers.

There is a great article by Shawn Parr in Fast Company Why Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch. A focus on getting culture right brings significantly better return on investment than blindly chasing the dollar…whatever the analysts expect. It needs to start from the top…but those at the top are often the same that got them (and unfortunately all of us) into this mess.

Which brings to mind that Lloyd Blankfein described Goldman Sachs as “doing God’s work”… chasing the dollar at all costs is killing their reputation, their people are noticing and soon their customers will just say no.