Agility Means Facing Change, Right?

Tom O'Shea |

nbaLast week I had the pleasure of traveling across a large section of the southeast as I went down to Atlanta across to Savannah and back up through a soggy South Carolina to my home in Greensboro, North Carolina.  After what seems like a lifetime of rain and dreariness for the past couple of weeks, I was greatly aided by some brilliant blue skies and bright sunshine as traveling companions while I made my way across what many in the South call “God’s Country”.  The week has been filled with new insights and affirming validations.  I kicked off the week with a new executive coaching client in Atlanta and was once again blown away with the tremendous capacity of the human spirit to reach deep and rise high when fully committed to transformation.  Not every day you work with a successful executive running a $300 million plus business unit in a $6B enterprise whose life story includes living homeless under park benches in NYC as a young person – still very hungry for learning and leadership nourishment.  No doubt this executive has faced many moments of truth and crossroads where being AGILE really mattered.  Being agile means facing the dilemma of change and not backing away … right?

So I arrived Tuesday in Savannah to a truly spectacular day that the Chamber of Commerce will claim as every day Savannah for sure!  I am coming to speak at the National Bankers Association Annual Conference on the topic of Managing Change in the Future of Banking but sill processing on lessons shared and learned in my previous day’s experience.  I am pleased to arrive in time to catch new colleague, Herb Hecht who is SVP with the Center for Board Excellence, share his presentation about Best Practices in Board Governance with conference attendees.  While it is a fair distance from my previous day dialogue – I find many parallels around alignment and accountability to important operating principles that filled both the earlier conversation and Herb’s remarks.  Kim Saunders, former CEO and client from M&F Bank in Durham, is moderator for Herb’s session as well as mine.  It is clear from Kim’s introductions and the audience participation that there is significant turbulence permeating the world of each of these bankers … lots of questions. 

bankingfutureSo, I have the dubious honor of being the after lunch speaker on the last day of this convention of bankers … talking about CHANGE in a city that has seemingly skirted the need to change over many decades of southern charm.  The platform demanding change and agility in the banking industry is abundantly clear.  In my research for this occasion, I discover numerous recent studies expounding on every aspect of change dynamics – people, processes and  technology drivers.  The most profound drivers of change in banking relate to the consumer’s expectations (us) and the enabling capabilities of ever-changing technology.  It is so very clear that our next and next generations look at banking as a digital transaction – yet very intimate because of how “personal” our finances are to all of us.  The banking studies highlight some revealing statistics such as the fact that 91% of consumers with smart phones have them within reach nearly 100% of the time and that over 10% of deposits are done on mobile devices.  Mobility, security and customer intimacy pose a challenging trio of critical success factors.  It’s no wonder why many banking executives a like the deer in headlights – not sure what to do but know they are in danger!

My message to the NBA bankers applies to each of us, to my executive from the park bench and anyone facing the uncertainty of the future … make the agility to change your advantage.  We all know by now that the only certainty in the future is change – so why not become CHANGE MASTERS.  We call that agility … the capacity to sense and respond better and faster!  I love and use this change formula first developed by the Institute of Alternative Futures in my “How to Manage Change” slide.  We have to come to grips with the three active questions to build capacity to change … change

  • D – why must I change and be dissatisfied with my current state?
  • V – what is my vision for preferred future … how clear is this?
  • F – what are the first steps I must take to get there?

All of these elements must coagulate to be greater than the “R” which is the resistance to change.

So, whether from the despair of a park bench or from where you and your organization sit today … what is the transformation needed in your life or organization and what are your answers to those questions?  Each scenario is different but we know that the organizational drivers in THE AGILE MODEL® will be great contributors to supporting the FIRST STEPS in your transformation.  Love to hear your thoughts or give me a call to discuss how.

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