A fresh pair of eyes

There are two reasons why financial institutions should immediately start using the power of a fresh view

When I had just graduated, I assumed that the average bank or insurance company was a well-oiled and highly efficient productivity powerhouse. Two years into my first job, however, I noticed that I had to adjust this idea. Financial Institutions should grab the opportunities for improvement that come each time an outsider joins their ranks. Change will be achieved most easily by realizing quick wins.

Fresh eyes to challenge the status quo

TriFinance colleagues and clients from the financial sector are sometimes amazed by the ‘business as usual’ within the financial industry: paper files waiting to be processed manually, people running from one meeting into the next, managers who have to sign-off a report for an already-missed deadline… How can this still be ‘Business as usual’, you may say. “Because we’ve always done it like this…”, is where inertia originates from. People are change-averse by default. If someone performs the same tasks for a sufficiently long period of time, they cease to question the inefficiencies or risks they encounter along the process.

Chances are you changed jobs or started picking up new tasks at some point in your career. Consequence: you look at those new tasks with a fresh pair of eyes, unlike your predecessor who has been performing them for the better part of a century. I’m exaggerating, admittedly. However, when confronted with something new, people will ask questions. A lot of them: why, how, when, isn’t there a better way? This is exactly what I mean with the power of a fresh pair of eyes. And this is exactly what financial institutions could take huge advantage of: listen to the valuable opinion of your newcomers, be it new colleagues, temporary staff or consultants.

The first six months an individual spends in an organisation is roughly the time during which he or she is considered to be new. Consequently, this is the critical timeframe to benefit from the fresh pair of eyes. Have the newcomer write down all his questions and observations and make him challenge the status quo. Be open for feedback and use it to your advantage.

Fresh eyes to realize quick wins

Breaking bad habits is tough, especially within large organisations with heavy legacies. This description applies to most of our countries’ financial institutions. In such cases, gaining momentum for change can be achieved through realising quick wins. Based on the insights of the newcomer as described above, initiate one or multiple projects to achieve short term improvements.

Examples could be centralized mail distribution or automation of simple and repetitive tasks through use of robotics. Imagine that report you need to produce every month. The extraction of data, manual processing steps and formatting take up so much time that you barely have the chance to analyse the figures. Robotics can take over the repetitive tasks such as exporting data, reorganizing it and formatting it in a standardized way, so you have time to challenge the contents of your report and think about further improving the quality. Important note: visibility is key, so take the time to celebrate quick wins and make sure to spread the word.

Some people will be more eager to join than others, that’s a given. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the realizations of the early adopters can provide a basis to also mobilize more reluctant colleagues to share the new mindset.

(How) does your organisation use the power of a fresh pair of eyes?

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Project Consultant Financial Institutions Belgium
+32 2 712 08 90