By Mark Loehrke, Editor, Financial Managers Society
Financial institutions aren’t often seen as hotbeds for the entrepreneurial spirit that seems so commonplace among, say, tech firms. But just because the financial industry is often viewed as a more “traditional” (read: old-fashioned) arena doesn’t mean that banks and credit unions can’t demonstrate the same kind of cutting-edge thinking and innovative problem-solving that characterizes the most nimble start-up organizations – in fact, their eventual survival may depend on it.
While not every institution will be able to lay claim to a revolutionary product or service, there are still benefits to be reaped from embracing a more entrepreneurial outlook, which starts by building a culture designed around entrepreneurial attitudes and values. A few ideas for getting there:
Rethink the team
While banking is still your core business, consider the potential benefits of having a few key team members who come from outside that world – they may bring in new ideas that someone with decades in the industry may never have considered.
Take some calculated risks
Not every big idea is going to pay off, but by taking a few shots that appear to have a minimal downside, even those that don’t succeed won’t end up hurting too much.
Listen to your customers
Some of the best ideas for your institution may be coming from the people walking in and out of your branches or logging into your website. Encourage your staff to really listen to what your customers are saying, because even the craziest suggestion may have the potential to turn into something big.