Business Agility in Retail Banking


Business Agility in Retail Banking

Build up your agility

How is increasing agility helping banks better manage disruption and customer expectations?

The challenges retail banks face are well known. Yet the rate with which these changes are happening means adapting quickly and successfully is now vital to the future success of banks. 'Agile’ methodologies have been used in retail banking IT teams for some time, however widespread adoption across other parts of the banking business, full business agility, has been limited prior to now.

The current state of business agility

To understand how and why retail banks are using agile, we conducted interviews with banking and start-up executives across the globe to learn what business agility means for their organisations and to get their views on the“why”, “who” and “how” of business agility.


How to implement business agility successfully

The results of our survey illustrate that retail banks are adopting a variety of approaches to achieving business agility. Taking those findings, and our own experience in helping organisations implement business agility, we have set out three key ingredients, embedded in organisational behaviour, for implementing business agility.

1. Start with the "why" and focus on outcomes

There should be a clear and well-communicated ‘why’ regarding the need for the organisation to change ways of working and for constant improvement. A ‘why’ that motivates employees should have a higher level of purpose.

Research shows that employees are most motivated when their work creates an impact on: society, customers, their company, and team as well as themselves. Therefore, rather than profitability, shareholder returns or stock price, the ‘why’ should be based on these five areas: better, value, sooner, safer, happier.

2. Achieve big through small

Organisations trying to achieve business agility through a big capital “T” transformation, in contrast to a small "t" transformation can be faced with behavioural challenges.

We believe it’s easier to focus on small slices of value. This form of iterative, continuous transformation aligned to desired outcomes, implies a series of smaller change curves. To achieve “big through small”, incumbent retail banks need two elements:

  • Scale agility, not “Agile”, vertically and then sideways.
  • Orientate by value stream.

3. Invite don’t Inflict

There is no one-size-fits-all for achieving business agility, no ‘One Way™’ that optimises outcomes in all contexts.

This is due to the fact that each organisation and its stakeholder ecosystem is unique. Apply an agile mind-set to business agility and give people a VOICE:

  • Values and principles
  • Outcomes
  • Intent-based leadership
  • Coaching
  • Experimentation
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