Bringing change to a bank

Published: 2019-08-29 06:30:00
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Among the most competitive industries in the world, today is the banking sector. It is, therefore, vital for banks to adapt and become extremely creative in their approach to fending off the stiff competition in the industry. The change will be optimally brought about in eight steps as described by Kotter (2012) as discussed below.

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1. Creating a sense of urgency

It is extremely important for employees to recognize the need for immediate change to boost their relevancy in the banking sector. Therefore, providing knowledge of how the other banks are faring on about their institution is very vital. The effects of lack of change are to be laid down. These effects include less market share which in turn leads to reduced revenue, budget cuts and may ultimately lead to employee reduction or worse closure of the institution. Change should be able to get sufficient support from a sufficient number of staff members and eliminate the following four negative traits that can lead to slowing down or worse killing the spirit of change:

Deviance

This refers to the failure to act by the preset norms. The institutions members of staff with these behaviors are in most cases angry. The anger might be directed to the management and all agents of change. It is, therefore, vital to eliminate this unwanted trait in the employees earlier even before visions are formulated.

Pessimism

This is where the employees only see the worst aspect of change. These lack of confidence in the future after change may cause hesitation by the employees to bring change to the bank.

Self-protection and immobilization

This originates from a fear of the potential impacts of change. The bank employees should be assured of a better tomorrow to eliminate panic and fear which might cause resistance to change.

Complacency

This comes from arrogance and individual pride and should be rooted early for immediate change notion to gather support.

2. Formulating a guide team

It is essential for the bank to appoint a team that will spearhead the desired change since it is impossible for executives to single-handedly initiate and implement change. The team needs not to be comprised of senior management only as this might be an obstacle to junior employee good will.

The team should have to vital traits namely team work and being the right people for the job. For the change in the bank to take place the team tasked with initiating and implementing the change should have an in-depth insight on the current situation of the banking industry including what difference in systems employed by other banks in relation to the institution, credibility and reputation which enhances their ability to communicate with everyone in the organization and most significantly should have knowledge of how the bank operates as this makes it easy to spot and eliminate barriers to change. Also, the task force members should have a formal authority in the company embedded with a managerial skill set that should allow for planning, organizing and controlling for purposes of creating short term achievements. Lastly, the group members should have adequate leadership qualities aid in the attainment of the vision, community management and motivation of the workers. The group meetings should be planned to detail including frequency, agendas, and duration among others.

3. Create vision

A proper bank vision should be formulated for the change to be effective. The vision should address questions about the modification including what change and why the change, the vision for the new banking system, where the changes are needed and where they are not and lastly what significance does the failure of implementing the change cause. The visions for the bank should be bold and desirably include being the industry leader. The vision should put into consideration the speed and urgency of the required change.

The task force required to spearhead the change process should come up with a vision that very clear and simple enough to desirably fit on a single page, create a vision that is moving e.g. one that is committed to the wellbeing of the relevant stakeholders of the banking institution. The group should create a bold strategy for the change process and should not assume that only providing the budget and logical plans is sufficient. The vision should not be too analytical and financial based and neither should it be geared towards saving money as this might bring anxiety and panic across the banks staff.

4. Proper communication of the vision

After formulating the vison that vision to guide the change process, the taskforce should make sure it reaches as many relevant people across the entire bank as possible. The employees should also buy-in on the vision. This is only possible if the change is communicated to them in a simple, understandable manner in a way that convinces them to support the change process. The guide team should act in a manner that quenches any doubt in the minds of the banks staff mostly by addressing cases of fear and anxiety, accepting reactions of anger and provide faith in the vision. This can be achieved by a simple question and answer session. A convincing presentation by the taskforce should be prepared and follow up questions answered confidently and satisfactorily in a manner that portrays the change as a good thing for the entire bank. During the process of communicating for the buy-in of the vision and change process as a whole, the taskforce should not be defensive or have radical demand for support as this might be counteractive.

To have the desired effect, the message of change and the settled-on vision should heartfelt and be void of technical complications since most people become afraid of what they cannot understand. If this is achieved, the panic, fear, anger pessimism and overall distrust of the bank staff will start to disappear and the traits replaced by a feeling of confidence, relief, hope, and optimism. This will make the employees accept the change wholeheartedly and start to take steps in line with the desired change.

5. Empowerment

As the employees in the bank start warming up to the idea of change, barriers in their paths should be eliminated. These barriers normally constitute a manager who likes the status quo and is psychologically okay with how things are. This kind of a manager makes the employee give up on thriving for change or take too long to implement the change because the manager is making the process hard. The Bank bank officials should let go of this pessimistic skipper and hire an optimistic boss. There exist other barriers to change in the banking organization. These barriers may include;

System barriers

These barriers are what we normally refer to as formal arrangements. In the past, these barriers were bureaucracy, but today there are performance evaluation and appraisals. Appraisals and evaluation are barriers when they are at odds with the needed change. These evaluations are accompanied by rewards; employees may be rewarded when they succeed, but the employees may also be hit with a hammer if they fail. These rewards may empower people through identification and compensation of behavior that is required to achieve the vision. Most employees dont think they have enough money and rewards are usually tied to money thus if there is needed change that does not involve rewarding the employees there will be a big obstacle. Competition may be used as motivation for change; it should however not be a way for the bank to avoid compensating performance.

Other barriers

After a long period of change or failed change, employees may start believing they are not capable of achieving. These are irrational and psychological blocks that need to be removed. Lack of information may also be a barrier. Employees and managers need to get feedback. They should not see the feedback as being biased or as an attack on them but should embrace it to bring change.

6. Creation of Short-Term Wins

After successful efforts in bringing change to the bank, the empowered employees should create short-term wins. These will help in emotionally rewarding the hard working employees and remove critics. Lack of visible early wins that are meaningful and happen on time, change efforts will be in problems. When the change efforts become successful, empowered employees will be very specific on how they want to spend their time. They will tend to focus on tasks that they can accomplish quickly. The short-term wins help in the provision of feedback to the leaders on the validity of the visions and strategies. They also help in providing a source of motivation to the hardworking employees by giving them a pat on the back. This win helps to build faith in efforts and thus attracts those who were reluctant before. The management should keep the cynics away to ensure they do not bring their negative energy to the rest. Without the same achievements, large-scale changes will never happen.

Focus

The bank may want to make various changes in different departments and in the products and services they are offering. The bank may not be able to achieve all these changes at once. The focus should, therefore, be placed on the urgent changes needed otherwise the bank may have a hundred changes to carry out, and if the employees focus on all of them, they might end up achieving them after two years. This will then be two years a little late. The changes should be seen as visible, unambiguous and timely wins. Visible wins help act as motivation to others to try and implement the changes.

7. Maintain Momentum

After the banks first bunch of short-term wins, there will be a set direction of the change efforts. If successful, the employees will keep this momentum up to achieve the vision of the bank and will keep urgency up and false pride down. The employees can do this by getting rid of demoralizing work and making sure not to prematurely declare victory.

At this step, the biggest problem is that urgency levels go down. Employees start celebrating the short-term wins, and the managers allow for this drop as they can see an improvement on short-term tasks. It is normal for people to start with the easier tasks to create momentum, organizations also work like that and thus perseverance is a need for the employees to deal with bigger and more complicated tasks. The bank should structure situations that help the employees deal with the complex issues such as bureaucratic and political issues without having to put their life or jobs on the line.

Balance

In the process of implementing change and taking up the bigger task, there should exist reasonable balance that makes sure the employees are not overwhelmed. At the early stages, the managers in charge of driving change should identify what needs to be accomplished first and what can wait. There should be the delegation of tasks to other employees of the bank should get rid of redundant tasks. For example, the bank may get rid of the numerous reports that an employee should write whereas only one report is necessary.

8. Making Change Stick

This is a very difficult process and if not attained numerous efforts will or go to waste. The bank needs to establish a strong organizational culture to make sure that the employees do not go back to the past way of doing the thing. Tradition is considered a very powerful force which may pull the employees back. A guiding team will be needed to hold change in place. The guiding team needs a central player, a system for compensation, organizational structure, and enthusiasm for the change. Culture is the behavioral norms of a group of people and their shared values. It is usually a feeling shared by a group of individuals as to what is of value and how people should conduct themselves. Changes that need to take place in...

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