White Paper
Six Steps to Support Innovation Through a Culture of Change
March 7, 2018
Most financial institutions recognize that continuous innovation and the adoption of new technology are necessary to keep up with evolving consumer demands and the relentless heartbeat of competition. Where many organizations fall down, however, is in the execution and management of change, especially in today’s fast paced on-demand environment.
Without the proper alignment of culture, process and technology, banks and credit unions will inevitably struggle to support the rollout and iteration of new technology, meet customers’ evolving needs and embrace a change management mindset.
Culture is the most significant barrier to achieving internal buy-in for any business process or technology transformation, whether the project is organization-wide or limited to a single department or function. Leaders must be aware that culture may change on its own terms, and not always in ways intended or expected. Previously hidden aspects of a corporate culture may raise its ugly head during times of turmoil, crisis or transformative change. For this reason, before beginning any major change initiative, senior leaders should assess their organization’s corporate culture, to understand where any potential pitfalls may lie.
To address these common challenges and instill an effective change management culture within their organization, financial institutions must take a rigorous, multi-step approach. Every situation is unique, but the following six-step roadmap should help your institution get started on the path to creating a culture of change.

Step #1: Have a clear and compelling vision

Any change mandate must begin with a coherent and exigent picture of the project’s future end-state. However, this vision shouldn’t come solely from the top of the organization. In fact, transformative changes will be longer-lasting and more effective if institutions incorporate the ideas and feedback from line staff and management—i.e. the folks who are dealing with the processes, technologies or customer challenges every day.

Step #2: Employee active, engaging two-way communication

Once the executive team has formalized a vision and chosen its path, it must create a plan to communicate the vision and associated impacts clearly, consistently and continuously across the enterprise. The communication plan must include an open feedback loop, to allow employees at all levels and functions within the organization to be heard.

Step #3: Select the right solution

Even with a clear, compelling vision and a solid communication protocol that allows all key stakeholders to be heard, if the wrong solution is selected the project will ultimately fail. When the change is related to implementation of a new, digital solution or internal piece of technology, it is essential that the solution effectively addresses the core problem assessed during the vision phase.

Step #4: Create a process for ongoing improvement

Process is where the rubber hits the road in change management. Financial institutions should adopt an organization change methodology enterprise-wide and employ it religious. Organizations that apply the Agile method focus on implementing continuous improvements over time. Many set targets of producing incremental product changes on a weekly cadence, toward meeting a goal of launching major projects monthly, if not more frequently.

Step #5: Establish centers of excellence

For a major change initiative to have a change at sticking over the long-term, organizations should form teams of internal champions from different levels of the organization. One of the most effective and popular structures is known as a “center of excellence,” a corporate group or team that leads other employees and the organization as a whole in some particular area of focus such as a technology, skill or discipline.

Step #6: Support change with best-in-class systems and technology

To achieve meaningful, impactful change, organizations need to have access to data that supports the mission. This means having full visibility into the needs of the customer, as well as transparency across all departments, divisions and functions. This can only be achieved through a single-platform technology that provides a clear view into all critical data and presents it in easy-to-digest formats.

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  • Change Management