The understanding and learning of technical and adaptive challenges concepts brings me back to my retail banking work experience during college.
This small retail bank had a relatively limited presence in states such as New York, Connecticut, Rode Island, and Pennsylvania. While performing well with individual and business customers, the CEO felt that competition and business performance of some locations were creating large challenges for the bank, and this was leading to negative business results for the company. Therefore, management felt that the bank institution was failing in meeting its goals and expectations, and bank locations started to close their doors. Many employees were out of work and business clients were moving accounts to other banking institutions.
These negative consequences push management to physical location revamp, changing bank’s logo, and offering several advantageous discounts on banking products. However, these initiatives did not lead to any improvements and the bank was forced to shut down multiple locations, therefore reducing its market presence.Based on class learnings and by reading Heifetz and Laurie’s article, the challenge experienced by this small bank was managed as a technical challenge without analyzing any of the aspects of a more likely adaptive challenge.
A large organizational change is always very difficult to accomplish in the current business world, Norman and Koski specifically showed us the possibility to overcome many challenges related to employees, organizational culture, strategies, and business results. By applying Heifetz and Laurie’s principles, the CEO of this small bank failed in analyzing and identifying challenges. After engaging with employees and clients, bank management should have understood the structural problems and it should have further analyzed bank competition in specific areas.
Management was not interested in investing in its employees by offering trainings and altering job responsibilities to increase productivity and obtain superior business results. Service offered in bank locations was unreliable and vertical management was dysfunctional, therefore leading clients to choose to bank with other institutions. After identifying these challenges, management should have addressed these issues by identifying different solutions and by starting experimentation of new business approaches.These disrupted situations and the need of experimentation might lead the bank to experience distress. Management might have realized that competition was growing due to higher technology solutions offered on the market and diverse banking products solutions.
While employees in certain locations were losing confidence and commitment to bank’s values and vision. Therefore, CEO and management would need the bank to embark in new technological banking initiatives that would require a large liquidity investment, and management would have had to revamp the workforce. This process would take place by offering superior training, by firing specific un-motivated employees, and by hiring valuable leaders that would marry the company’s goals and values. These actions would lead to organizational and financial distress, but the need of a change was necessary for the entire banking organization. Furthermore, solutions to regulate distress produced by these changes would entail meetings with banking staff and management to understand innovative technology initiatives and how these initiatives apply to current banking products and clients’ needs. Training would educate staff to sell banking products to client and increase competitive advantage on behalf of the bank.
The maintenance of disciplined attention derives from the ability of management to direct everybody towards a unified vision of the bank. This can be achieved through communication and by inculcating a sense of purpose. After training, meetings, hiring, revamp of bank’s structure and workforce, the CEO would be able to ‘give the work back to people’.This is a process that would lead to an increase of clients for the bank. In fact, the organization could empower banking staff to decision-making, and therefore leading to successful banking locations. For example, employees in certain locations could initiate activities such as ‘bank day’ and ‘volunteering day’ to attract more clients and to be involved with the local communities. These initiatives would increase bank’s pipeline of clients by offering for example competitive rates, banking gadgets to sponsor the bank, and engaging with local businesses and communities. Banking staff represent the front-line workforce that has the ability to generate a positive impact and to make a difference.
Lastly, protecting leadership from below would spur innovation and it would consent to discover business opportunities that management might have not taken in consideration yet. Heifetz and Laurie’s principles are crucial in managing adaptive challenges. The learning and use of these symbiotic principles has allowed me to better analyze and understand the landscapes of organizational, structural, and financial problems.This course offered me important learnings during these past five weeks to apply to both business and personal environments. Currently, there are several changes affecting the structure of the company I work for, and these learning have been helpful in developing solutions and future business plans. The opportunity to learn to lead and work with people and teams has been a relevant takeaway. Sun Hydraulics, Zappos, and Asda showed me different perspectives on how to handle employees’ relationships and communication within the organization.
For example, I have successfully applied Sun Hydraulics