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Smart profits, smart values and sustainability from a bank boss who dares to be different

Smart profits, smart values and sustainability from a bank boss who dares to be different | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

Anders Bouvin is the boss of the most successful bank you've probably never heard of. And he, like the bank he runs, will challenge your preconceptions.   

    

For starters, this African-born, Swedish chief executive of Handelsbanken's growing UK operation doesn't receive an annual bonus, ...[and] has been with the Swedish bank for 28 years.

    

Most surprisingly, the 55-year-old supports west London's Queens Park Rangers Football Club with a passion intriguing for a Swede who spent the first 10 years of his life growing up in Zimbabwe.

   

….Anders Bouvin…was thrilled to be offered a job…in a company "whose values coincided completely with my own".

    

Those values - long-term-ism, and a philosophy of de-centralization encapsulated in the slogan "the branch is the bank" - seem almost too good to be true in a current banking era of fines, debt crises and outsourced customer service.

  

Big banks, according to the popular narrative, were the primary causers of the global debt crisis thanks to their reckless investment in high-risk mortgage-backed bonds.

    

Handelsbanken says its branches, such as this one in Aberdeen, come first


But Handelsbanken remained above the fray, emerging with a balance sheet strong enough to make European banking regulators purr with delight.


…next to no marketing keeps overheads down and return on equity up.

     

At Handelsbanken returning a share of the profits to long-term staff is also key. If the bank exceeds the average profitability rate of its peers, then surplus profits are put into a fund and distributed to all the staff.

    

Handelsbanken
*  Founded in 1871
*  Has no sales or market-share targets
*  Staff get flat salaries without bonuses
*  Claims to have achieved higher profitability than the average of its rivals for 41 years in a row


...Handelsbanken, headquarter[ed] in London, is expanding to meet increased demand while some of its larger rivals get smaller.


"Many banks are having to absorb huge losses and have had to shrink to repair their balance sheets... and there are clear indications that SMEs [small and medium-sized businesses] are bearing the brunt of this. It's very sad."


All in all, Anders Bouvin appears the least likely candidate for executive burnout you'll ever meet.

Related tools & posts by Deb:

     

    

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is yet another positive example of how smart, people-centered values, with decision-making driven down the chain and low hierarchy, can drive profitability and sustainability, even in one of the most traditional industries. More information on comparisons with other business models to follow. ~ Deb


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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, February 26, 2014 3:02 PM

This is yet another positive example of how smart, people-centered values, with decision-making driven down the chain and low hierarchy, can drive profitability and sustainability, even in one of the most traditional industries. ~ Deb

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University of Virginia Crisis Reflects Wider Leadership Conflicts

University of Virginia Crisis Reflects Wider Leadership Conflicts | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it
Conflict over governing the University of Virginia has become a proxy war in a much larger struggle over control of the nation’s public universities.


_____________________

“...these are very stressful times to be running a university,”
~ M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

_____________________

Around the country, waning state support, rising tuition and the competitive threat of online education have raised fears about the future of public universities.

Trustees and politicians in several states have increasingly flexed their muscles to influence university operations, leading to turf battles with presidents and chancellors who are largely used to having their way.


“In any sector that’s in the middle of stress and change, the relationships between C.E.O.’s and their boards gets more complicated, and these are very stressful times to be running a university,” said M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, who has held several high-level posts in business, government and academia, including president of Michigan State University and chairman of Dow Jones & Company.


He said board members who are executives in their own right are tempted, especially in challenging times, to shift from overseeing to hands-on managing.


Related posts by Deb:




Via Keith Hampson PhD
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This seems to be another sign of the deepening malaise in higher education~ the higher education bubble. Stress at the top may reflect stress all around in higher ed.


In my own circles, there is persistent unhappiness among many I know connected to the university system.  ~ D

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Newsjacked! Komen without a communications strategy allows the public to define the dialog

Newsjacked! Komen without a communications strategy allows the public to define the dialog | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

It is a current, cautionary tale about social media timing.


Communication strategies are a part of change  Regardless of where you may stand on the issues, once thing is clear from the Beth Katner post cited here - define the conversation, or your public will do it for you..


The photo of PINK items on this post is being shared widely via Pinterest, Facebook an in other LARGE social media channels in protest to the Komen news about funding for breast cancer screening and Planned Parenthood.  


Current update: 

Planned Parenthood gains $650,000 in 24 hours, enough to replace the lost funding from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation.  Source:  The Washington Post

From Beth's network, Kivi Leroux-Miller lays out a case study documenting the social media response and provided an analysis about why it happened. As Kivi says,


Excerpted:


“This is what happens when a leading nonprofit jumps into a highly controversial area of public debate without a communications strategy, stays silent, and therefore lets others take over the public dialogue, perhaps permanently redefining the organization and its brand."


Watch and learn, so you don’t make the same mistake on whatever hot button issues your organization might be wading into.


Kivi has also written about “newsjacking” the technique of piggy backing on a crisis to get more media attention.


Kivi's blog post, featuring her newsjacking timely example, was about a lack of response by the Komen organization to a viral / big news story.    Sorry, regardless of your personal views of this situation, the BIG cautionary tale here is that ignoring social media only makes the situation worse.  Here's Kivi's newsjacking Komen story, to wit:

  • I really didn’t think about the newsjacking potential of the post until I got into writing the commentary, and decided to really call out Komen for the lack of responsiveness to their supporters. 
  • I knew it would be a good lesson for my blog readers, but then mid-morning, Komen posted on Facebook (but still not on Twitter), and I found the response to be really lacking given the outrage.
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Zappos is going Holacratic: No Job Titles, No Managers, No Hierarchy

Zappos is going Holacratic: No Job Titles, No Managers, No Hierarchy | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

“Zappos’ focus on core values and culture has done a remarkably good job of getting around the limits of a conventional corporate structure.” .....“Leaders that already understand the limits of conventional structures are the ones that are attracted to Holacracy.”


__________________
    
“Leaders that already understand the limits of conventional structures are the ones that are attracted to Holacracy.”

       
__________________


CEOs who sign on to Holacracy agree to cede some level of power*. The advantage is that they get to view their company through an entirely different lens. But it’s an adjustment for both leaders and employees. Zappos, which has 1,500 employees, will be the largest company to date to implement Holacracy.


DN:  My contention is hierarchical & autocratic power has natural limits anyway. 


From a recent Forbes article:


…E-commerce retailers like Zappos to tech companies like Valve (famous for having no bosses) to manufacturers like W.L. Gore (famous for democratically electing its CEO), flat organizations are prospering.“There is a growing body of evidence that shows organizations with flat structures outperform those with more traditional hierarchies in most situations,” wrote Tim Kastelle in the Harvard Business Review.


Flat structures work best when a company’s main point of differentiation is innovation, said Kastelle. They also work well when teams need to be more nimble to respond to a rapidly changing environment, and when the organization has a shared purpose, he added.


…Digital and mobile technologies make it easier for employees to work in a distributed manner, wrote Kastelle.


ANOTHER Forbes article provides a counterpoint,  by a former Wall Street Journal writer, is entitled:   Gurus Gone Wild: Does Zappos' Reorganization Make Any Sense?   He quotes another blogger, William Tincup, who lists 6 problems with Holacracy.


Here are four of them in a nutshell:


  • Holacracy seems to be a scheme that’s built for growth, upmarket, happy times


  • People that will thrive in this system will be: (1) people that have a problem with authority, (2) people that can consume ambiguity, and (3) independent thinkers and doers. ...They will argue that it’s an efficient system, a lean system, and it will be at the expense of diversity. 

    

  • Holacracy [is a] value system. Kind of seems cultish, right? 
    
  • How will it scale?    Holacracy is a paper napkin idea that might best fit less than 1% of the companies in America.


Related posts & tools by Deb:


      

            

         

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Zappos is known for its zany corporate culture based on 10 core values, innovative/ alternative work environment, and for legendary customer service.  Now Zappos may become known for breaking the hierarchy barriers to how innovative companies are structured and function.  We'll soon find out if it will scale in the bigger organization that is Zappos.


Flatter, social circle organization seems fully in line with the 10 core values of Zappos.  Overall, their great success can has been attributed to many things, incuding a clear, compelling vision of who and what they are and are not, including "It’s Not about Shoes." 

  • "Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” -Tony Hsieh


In the same way, Coca-Cola is about entertainment, not sugar-water. Zappos now has legendary customer service stories included in books - such as the one about delivering flowers to a customer whose mom passed away.  Another one is about a Zappos rep talking to a customer for over 8 hours (a record that now has been broken.)


As an example, General Motors has adopted a teams approach in some of its plants, yet moves slowly as large multi-national.  Enter the new team oriented, from the ranks GM CEO Mary Barra.  The times, they are a changing!

Zappos has none of the history of hierarchy and the silo creating 1920's scientific management connected older manufacturing practices, to hold it back.


Welcome to a new view of leadership, 2014 style.  Now, we'll see if it will scale.    ~  D

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Kudos's curator insight, January 11, 2014 4:36 PM

An interesting experiment. The fine line between madness and genious. Can people handle it. Time will tell. 

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Want Cultural Change to Stick? Change The Way You Operate - Forbes

Want Cultural Change to Stick? Change The Way You Operate - Forbes | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"Do you want sustained cultural change ? Until the operations change, NOTHING will stick."


Yeah, yeah.  Change consultants know that cultural change can kickstart with organizational changes or strategic changes that look powerful & imply true change. But it is the work in the trenches, the operations changes that make the difference for going the distance.


____________________________


“Building a team that combined the old and the new was critical to our success."

____________________________


Excerpted, a few of the golden gems:


[Operations] is often the most difficult part of the change process because operations involve ingrained habits, practices, and systems.


It’s worth the effort because corporate culture is the only truly sustainable competitive advantage.  [DN:  I'd add leader behaviors for innovation, coaching & team collaboration support.]


From the Equifax case study:


“Building a team that combined the old and the new was critical to our success.


It was critical for me as a leader to not underestimate the people part, getting people to engage, be willing to support and sustain the change.


Strategy and execution has to be joined by a very strong psychological conversion of beliefs, from the old patterns to the new.” 

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