Revolutions are messy, they happen quickly, and the results can be felt for a long time. They are also vital, acting as a way to accelerate important change. If you’re in the midst of a revolution in your business or industry, review this short checklist regularly. Otherwise your revolution may look more like a short-lived, disruptive uprising; all the fuss, with none of the long term benefits.
Leading a Revolution
A. List Five Forces driving the revolution. What do they mean from the customer’s perspective? Are we addressing these forces?
B. Assess your Leadership Capability in five critical areas: It’s Time, It’s Us, It’s Getting Done, It’s Getting Better, It’s Me. (More on these below)
C. Collect and analyze information from five Listening Posts: Existing customers, industry blogs, competitors’ customer reviews, employees, and social media.
Check on these three things regularly, and you’ve got a great shot at seeing your imagined future come to life. Here’s how I use this short checklist as a leader the Fintech Revolution.
After a lovely dinner at my desk, reading and getting caught up on the world, I discover a huge corporate bond sell off is happening. My first thought: how does this affect my portfolio? The good news: my monthly investment statement arrived in the mail today. The problem: statements tell me exactly what happened last month, they may as well have been for the last decade.
How can I have productive conversations with my advisor without up-to-the minute information? You might think, give her a call, she’ll pull it all together in a few minutes and then you can chat. The fact is, in order for her to pull together meaningful information, she has to speak with her head office, they do the analytics and ideally an optimization strategy, and then we are ready to have that all important conversation…seven days later.
This frustration combined with a certainty that things don’t have to be this way are what led my partner and I to develop a Financial Technology (Fintech) service. It’s part of a movement, a revolution, to provide people looking for the best financial products and services, with a way to evaluate and easily buy what they need. Whether a loan (Borrowell), passive ETF investments (WealthSimple), or a way to evaluate existing products like credit cards and mortgages (RateHub).
Fintech is a sector poised for growth. Investors are clamouring to be first-in to reap the benefits. What’s all the fuss about? It’s these Five Forces:
- Globalization – consumer demand for simpler cross border money management
- Digitization – consumer demand to do business online, anytime
- Transparency – demand for detailed information on what they are buying
- S/Low economic growth – demand for low cost products and greater yield
- Democratization – demand for choice of what to buy, and who to buy from
Revolutionary leaders have an unquenchable urge to make real change. They see a world where there’s a better way of fueling, driving, flying, shopping, banking, etc. They see that irresistible world and clear a path to get there. Beyond inspiring, Revolutionary leaders must also build confidence in their followers by demonstrating progress and confirming that they’ve chosen the right person to follow. As a leader I constantly evaluate my effectiveness in these five areas, and work to improve.
- A compelling aspirational reason— aimed at improving people’s lives—communicated through a story. Ability to inspire and sell an idea. It’s Time.
- Building a team of believers that can deliver the outcome followers want. Ability to attract & retain talent. It’s Us.
- Frequent updates on progress toward the desired future. Ability to manage a portfolio of projects. It’s Getting Done.
- Knows the lay of the land, and when to change tactics or pivot. It’s Getting Better.
- Day-to-day, leadership is values in action. Gain the approval of others as a credible, stable, trustworthy person with the skills needed to navigate an uncertain future. Ability to sell oneself. It’s Me.
Create a process for listening to what’s being said, and more importantly what isn’t being talked about in your well-insulated echo chamber. Manage that process. Listen to understand, not to judge. Open your mind to what is being said about your business, industry, competitors, employees, and products. Just as importantly, listen to other industries, other disciplines, global trends, etc. Listen for feelings, as well as facts. At Four Eyes Financial we have a process to collect, analyze and act on what we’re hearing.
If you work inside an organization as a change leader, you’re an entrepreneur with a game changing idea, or you’re a citizen motivated to institutionalize a better way. Grab this Revolution Checklist and get started! The difference between a revolution and an evolution is speed, there’s no time to waste.
Learn more at FourEyesFinancial.com.
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