‘I hate this place.’ These were the words my relationship banker whispered to me on a recent trip to my local branch.
I would have been taken aback if I didn’t know her better. She had been working for the bank for more than 10 years, still young, but her face was covered with lines of despair and resignation. She was a banker at this institution, a financial advisor, but did not care to align herself with the bank’s damaged reputation.
You may wonder: ‘Why didn’t she just change jobs? Or move to another bank?’
But you and I both know that after 10 years of hard work, banking is what she knows in terms of a career. Plus the realities of the job market don’t encourage being bold and making life changes. Finally, the big question…what bank today has escaped the negative sentiments of the marketplace, the suspicions of the people…even yours and mine?
‘Once burned, twice shy.’ This little quote never made more sense as our Teams in the financial services industry today struggle to preserve their own self-image amidst a negative climate.
As a leader in this industry, how do you answer the questions:
- How can my team compete amidst the chaos?
- How will this year be any different from the previous one?
Well, in the case of my banker and so many like her out there, perhaps there should be a concerted effort to shift the focus from the organisation’s brand to the individual’s personal brand.
Instead, the questions you might ask yourself would be:
- How can employees clearly and successfully differentiate themselves in today’s grim economy?
- How can they differentiate their personal brands from the damaged reputations of the very organisations they are employed by?
- How can an employee exhibit the behaviours and characteristics of a strong personal brand, recognising and meeting the Customer’s needs rather than acting ashamed of the unpopularity of their employer organisation?
I believe a big part of the answer to all of these questions lies in transcending their environment. This way, where they work and its reputation is almost inconsequential to their relationship with Clients and Prospects.
Certainly, I believe this is a challenge, but it’s NOT impossible. It requires the belief that today is Day 1. Today is the day ‘We’ can and will make a difference through ‘Our’ interactions with Clients and Prospects. Today, we are not and will not be fazed by the realities of the marketplace.
It’s survival of the fittest and we are as fit as it gets!
Neda Bayat is Global Business Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. and Breakthrough PerformanceTech, LLC.