Regional Team of a Corporate Bank
The Region had ambitious plans for growth over the three-year period. The team had been expanded to provide wider coverage across Central England – Coast to Coast, Wales and the South West.
The business imperative of expanding the client and customer base held a high priority. In the corporate financial services sector the challenge of balancing the drive for ‘sales’ and the demand for effective risk assessment through the credit process was high. Building a strong foundation of well- developed Credit Analysis skills was the priority in development terms for the Relationship Managers. This is at the core of the Bank’s organisational values and underpins the market leading performance.
To support the development of Sales, the Regional Director focused on putting sales effort into those organisations that would meet the key lending criteria. This required the pre-selection and initial vetting of prospects before the sales approach could be made. Given the competitive nature of the market, there was always a need for high levels of activity in sales so that the Relationship Managers have a ‘higher than average’ chance of meeting the customers’ expectations in terms of products and service and also meeting the credit underwriting criteria.
This called for a structured, systematic approach to ensure a constant and growing prospect base. The Regional Director planned his approach and introduced a new organisational team structure was developed with the aims of: –
- Providing a means of dedicated development for individuals within the team
- Developing well grounded relationships with current customers
- Ensuring focused coverage of the territory for new business activity
- Establishing a means of replicating the teams as the business and the Region expands over time
To support the development of business, the team and its members, the Regional Director adopted a coaching approach as the preferred leadership style. This emphasised the need for all members of the team to demonstrate leadership within their own roles. His strategy had been to employ Graduates with drive and ambition for the Relationship Management Roles and develop the role of the Regional Administration Manager into a business development focused role.
Coach / Mentor Support
We were engaged to provide independent Coaching/Mentoring to enable the team as a whole, including the Regional Director, to work together in defining priorities and to focus attention on the development needs of the team and the individuals. A programme of coached support was established which included:-
- Determining the objectives for the programme
- Bringing the team together to define the team’s Common Purpose,
- Explaining what Coaching is and what it isn’t
- Providing a clear explanation of the programme and what would be expected from all the participants including the managers, team members and the coach
- Engaging in a series of four one to one coaching sessions for all members of the team
- Coming together for a review of progress towards the objectives at an individual and a team level.
Individual development plans were developed and worked on by each team member and the programme of coaching support for the full team was developed to include the following objectives:-
- Validate the sales and business development process and structure that had been put in place
- Support all the team members in committing to making this work
- Support the team members in the sales process
- Support the team should there be disappointments along the way
Underpinning these were some specific aims to:-
- Secure a buying platform for committed business that will generate volumes that meet / exceed current targets
- Develop the Sales individuals to the point that they are out selling in the own right and driving the business development for their own territories.
- Develop the team to the point that the team functions as a smooth operation with ongoing headline performance indicators visible for all.
- Develop enthusiasm in the team with evidence of good communication and mutual support
- Establish the team as creative and innovative, and recognized as role models in the organisation
- Introduce the Business Activity Manager Pack
The team progressed well and achieved the planned growth in volumes and new customer gains.
Responding to Market Demands
The challenges experienced within the economy and the banking sector triggered radical change of focus for as the Bank sought to protect assets and relationships in a very difficult trading period. The priority shifted from business growth to safeguarding exposure.
This required a redirection of resource to close monitoring and management of outstanding lending by implementing thorough Credit Review processes for all relationships.
Restructuring the Team
A number of organisational changes were implemented to underpin the refocus and as part of these some changes in personnel were made. One Account Manager relocated to Manchester to work with the Property Portfolio. Another took on full time focus on the development of deposits through relationships. Deposit taking had been a core activity promoted through Birmingham and had been a helpful strategy in generating value for AIB and a means of retaining connections with clients.
The Sales Co-ordination Role was redefined to support all the offices of the Division.
An Account Manager was transferred from Manchester to maintain cover across the client portfolio.
Supporting the Revised Priorities
The Regional Director was aware that the shift of emphasis for the Relationship Managers from a proactive sales focus to that of managing and monitoring exposure was a significant change for them and re-engaged the Independent Executive Coach to supporting the team through this change.
As a first step for the two-hour meeting, the individuals identified what they wanted to gain from the time together. The responses included
- Ideas to help them reach the new objectives
- Keeping motivated under the new market and organisational conditions
- Re-invigorating themselves
- Galvanising the team to look out for one another
They were bringing a number of things too
- Open mindedness
- Different perspectives
- Enthusiasm and willingness to embrace change
- Some new ideas
- Strong messages and a degree of control from the Bank
There were a number of concerns they had
- Hitting the business targets
- Missing out on learning about credit with the focus on deposit taking
- Organisationally –what will the Bank do next, will there be more change, what will be the shape of future roles
- There was a feeling of being too bogged down in reporting rather than business building
- How they could really add value under the new regime
- How to ensure that the team were doing what the Bank wants
There was a sense that to make the Coaching Session meaningful they wanted to ensure that
- It wasn’t just a talking a talking shop – there had to be clear action coming from the event
- There needed to be honesty from everyone
- There would be an element of fun and enjoyment in the process
- There would be buy-in from all to the agreed way forward
Current Perspective of the Team
The team members were asked to consider how they rated themselves on a scale of 1-10, in terms of their Achievement, Growth, Enjoyment and Satisfaction with their Meaning and Purpose for the past twelve months.
|Name||Achievement||Growth||Enjoyment||Meaning and Purpose|
The open and honest discussions following this exercise hi-lighted that the change of direction and new focus had had a major impact on the individuals. Their sense of fulfilment had shifted and some for the better (relating to the new opportunity they were accessing) others not so.
The Team considered what would make a shift from the current scores to raise them to 10/10. They considered this in terms of action or input
- For and from each other and
- For and from other Colleagues within the Bank.
Their responses were
|Define the new roles clearly – gain acceptance of those – establish how they are going to be developed – secure commitment to them|
|Get to understand each other in terms of dynamics (personal and professional)|
|Support each other|
|‘Gang Tackle’ problems|
|Build a mindset that understands that problems belong to all of us not just the manager|
|Become the ‘Best Checkers in Town’|
|Keep up-beat and ‘Hold the Line’|
|Don’t forget ‘Deposits’|
Working with Colleagues in Birmingham
|What I can do for them||What I would appreciate from them|
|Give help and advice on issues||Buy-in from everyone on the message from the Bank|
|Provide a sounding board||Ongoing evidence of working as a team|
|Offer support||See the vision|
|Be flexible||Observe the practical ‘rules’ – doors locked, security, etc|
|Provide assistance||Know that sales will come sooner than we think|
|Keeping everyone up to speed|
Working with Colleagues Elsewhere in the Bank
|What I can do for them||What I would appreciate from them|
|Share our best practices||Support in a crisis – on mark ups, help with visits|
|Identify buddies to counsel and advise||Empowerment|
|Call statistics to other offices||Flexibility|
|Share our experiences||Guidance and leadership|
|Understanding / Empathy||Understanding / Empathy|
|Provide Market Information||Understand our model / how we do business (we can help them more)|
There is an going focus to identify what these aspirations and intentions will mean in terms of specific actions at Individual and Team level.
Following the Team Meeting the Individuals were able to specify what they had learned through the meeting. These included: –
- How different our goals and objectives have become compared with the original Common Purpose prepared two years ago
- Why I feel the way I do about the current position of the Bank
- That there are things we can do together to support each other to help improve everyone’s enjoyment and sense of achievement
- What I need to do to succeed here
- Where as it has been a difficult few months for me, it has been better for others
- I need to work smarter
- A bit more about the ‘worlds’ of my team colleagues
- More about my own goals
- Plans to reach my goals
- The need to reassess my goals and aims
- There’s a need to constantly re-appraise yourself
- Different things bring different opportunities to people
- Think as a leader
- When I sense that something is wrong – take action
- Not everyone is the same
M J Hurley