What does your role include on a daily basis?
My role is to oversee and coordinate the building of the bank including the regulatory, IT, and operational capabilities. The build has to be managed to time, budget, and regulatory standards. Building a Bank is functionally complex and therefore we run around 18 different programmes to build the Bank. My role is like a conductor. I ensure everyone within the team on day to day basis is executing their plan and that the plans link together to end up building a robust target operating model.
How does your role differ in an organisation building from the ground up compare with roles in organisations undergoing structural change?
Although the principles of good planning and execution are the same, the setting up of a new challenger bank is far more exciting. You have a completely blank piece of paper when you start, so you can build an operating model that is not hindered by legacy issues. You get to design the Bank to operate in exactly the way you know your customers will want it to. Its night and day compared to my previous roles of transforming old fashioned banking models.
What has been a major challenge in the building of B-North, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been building the Bank with a very limited number of people. Luckily we have an excellent team but we’ve all had to wear many hats, work long days and deal with an ever-changing regulatory and economic climate, so everyone needs to be versatile and resilient. Luckily we all have that in heaps!
How has COVID-19 changed the process of overseeing the delivery of a new bank?
COVID-19 has meant a completely different way of working for us. Luckily as a tech-enabled firm building a Bank, we seamlessly were able to switch to 100% remote working. Our technology is world-class and our virtual meetings have such rich functionality that even the most complex planning and design sessions work well.
What message would you give to SME’s when they are looking at planning a new venture or undergoing major technological or organisational change?
Make sure you are clear on your strategic aims and what specific benefits you want to drive out of the change. Being clear will help you design your plan of execution effectively and avoid any change that doesn’t drive to your strategic goals. It is also important to constantly challenge yourselves and work out what to do if a change isn't helping get you to your goals. The mindset of you and your people and embracing learning is the key to success.