If you thought you read Excellence in the title of this post, instead of Elegance, we’re glad you did.
To us, simplicity is elegance. The most successful banks and credit unions operate with an elegant simplicity that includes a clear focus on their customers, a deliberate commitment to knowing what those customers need, and the operational efficiency to deliver the products and services customers value most. And they all possess these attributes:
- Clear market definition and aligned value proposition
- Focused, accountable distribution
- Data-driven product and member-management practices
- Highly efficient operating platforms
- Prudent and proactive risk management
- Disciplined financial structure and processes
- Committed leadership
- Sober and realistic governance.
The transformation to elegant simplicity requires vision, pragmatism, and a leadership team with the capacity to change. Once senior leaders commit to the strategic need for change, the next step is to choose the other members of the team that will lead the organizational evolution. It may not be achievable with “the people who got us where we are today”.
With the team in place, define the strategic scope of the organization; that is, determine the mix of competencies, business lines, geography, and customer/member segments on which it will focus. Starting with what works now and find ways to build on existing success, to expand organically, to extend into related products and businesses, or to acquire other entities.
With the scope defined, home in on your targets. Targeted consumer segments drive deeper understanding of key needs, relationship value, and other elements of a desirable customer experience. Without segmentation, there’s no way to differentiate value propositions, to align brands and customer experiences, to fully realize the potential value of your customer base, or to determine channel strategy, branch locations, product mix, and more.
Keep it Simple
Making your organization elegantly simple will ensure it’s primed to be exceptionally effective and efficient in serving your customers. But you’ll need commitment, capacity, an effective operating model, and a realistic plan. Most important, the elegant simplicity requires senior-level leaders who are prepared to make the sacrifices and hard-choices required.