Job titles, acronymns and the corporate python

So we’re having a meeting the other day and my friend was a little upset. 

He’d just been promoted in the bank to become the Director of Digital Payments, Innovation and Strategy.  We all noted that he was now the lead for DPIS and congratulated him for taking DPIS.  For some reason he took offence. 

It might have been because he was reporting to two people he had little respect for: the Senior Head of Innovation Technologies and the Chief of Re-engineering Augmented Processes, both of whom were playing a role in the new matrix structure.

I could understand this, but it’s not nearly as bad as the offence my female counterparty took to being made Veep of Asian Growth.

It almost reminded me of the day when I was promoted to be Head of Professional Services, or PS Head as my business card displayed.  Similar to the fact that when I left that role I accidentally became the Senior President of Vice when I should have been the Senior Vice President.

This led to all sorts of confusion and name calling, as more and more roles became notable within the organisation.  For example, as PS Head, I created a couple of key team roles. The first was for a Third-party Workers and Alliances Team leader and the second a Data and Innovation Centre Knowledge Head.   For some reason, neither role got many applicants.

I complained about this to my colleague involved in Asia Growth, but she was too concerned about reporting to the Master of Intelligent Networking Growth Experiences.  I empathised, and explained that my new boss was the Associate Senior Strategist for Human Organisational Experiences, a newly created role within HR that seemed to have on point in life apart from annoying folks like me.

We all then agreed that the whole thing should be given to the Business Intelligence Network to try to see if was worthwhile.

Confusion

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If banking were a movie, which movie would it be?

So it’s late at night and we reach that point in the evening where it’s almost embarrassing. 

I love you man.  You’re my best and only friend in the world, y’know what I mean?

Having gone past the point of talking about whether the Pope is really a money launderer and Obama is actually a drug runner’s prayer answered, we start talking about us.  Are we really who we say we are?  If you were an animal, what animal would you be (a monkey), a flower what flower (snap dragon) or a colour, what colour (magnolia with a hint of lilac). 

Then one of the group pipes up: so let’s stop talking about us, but let’s talk about banking.  A big groan. If banking were a movie, what movie would it be?  

Oh dear.  That’s really inappropriate as the first answer is The Titanic.  Non one likes that answer, and this view is juxtaposed with The Hangover.   Then we argue about whether it’s Hangover 1, 2 or 3.

Being British it’s not long before I raise the obvious: Banking is like Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Q: What have the bankers ever done for us?

A: Made money available when you don’t have it?

Q: (Big sigh) Apart from credit, what have the bankers ever done for us?

A:  Well, ABC Bank gave me a mortgage so I could buy a house?

Big discussion about whether bankers were the pawns of the Government trying to enslave us all to debt.

Q: Apart from making us all fall under the burden of debt, what have the bankers ever done for us?

You get the idea.  It soon moved on from bad Python sketches from Life of Brian to bad Python sketches generally.

This bank is a former bank.  It is no more.  It has ceased to exist.

Yes, one of the group used to work for Washington Mutual.

The one female in the group who had bothered to stay up this late in the bar chimed in with banking being more like the Wizard of Oz.

WTF? the guys replied.

Well, she said.  In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy goes off to see this big scary guy and ask for help along with the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow.  That’s just like how most people feel about going into a branch.

Eyes move ceiling-ward as we get the counterpoint view from the big jock guy: If you put it that way, then I vote for Terminator.

WTF?

Yea, Terminator.  Big scary guy who takes you out if you don’t pay back.  That’s why he says: I’ll be back.

Oh Jeez, it’s so late, I need to go to bed.

There’s then a small huddle on the other cornier and John Doe says that the banking industry would be best represented by the film It’s a Wonderful  Life.  Yea, says Jack Jock.  It makes you feel suicidal.

At this point, we wistfully track through the years and, thanks to yours truly, start talking about Metropolis  and The Hunger Games, as in the banking industry is part of the government’s plan to keep society under control through debt again.  It’s all about the 1% being in control of the 99%. Mary comes back with the fact that you can’t typify the industry in one movie anyway, as the investment markets are like The Wolf of Wall Street whilst most banking is more like Forrest Gump.  Hmmm … banking is just like a box of chocolates.  You just never know what you’re gonna get.

That worked for me, although we then debated Wolf of Wall Street versus Wall Street, and Wall Street won.  That got us off another tangent, with the counter-argument that banks are Predators and some are Aliens, whilst mine is more like The Blues Brothers and yours is just like The Godfather.

In other words, there is no typical bank.  They’re all different and none are the same (I am the same, as Brian would say).  Some are good and some are bad; some are friendly and some are sad; some are good and some are fun; whilst others are bad and should be on the run.

The only thing we all agreed upon, at the end of the evening, is that most banks would fit well with The Shawshank Redemption.

Man #2: We see by your file you’ve served seven years of a life sentence.
Man #3: You feel you’ve been rehabilitated?
Banker: Yes, sir. Absolutely. I’ve learned my lesson. I can honestly say I’m a changed bank. I’m no longer a danger to society. That’s the God’s honest truth. No doubt about it.

 

 

 

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My favourite 419 scam email: Bernie Madoff needs my help

I get a lot of spam and scam email most of which is deleted but, as it’s Friday, I thought y’all might appreciate the phish that follows … 

—–Original Message—–
From: Benard Madoff [mailto:midoffnyc@madoff.com]
Sent: 08 April 2015 13:54
To: me
Subject: Help me Make a difference

 

Hello Dear

I am Bernard Madoff the founder of wall street firm Bernard L. Madoff investment securities LLC in 1960 and was the former chairman of NASDAQ.I was accuses of  fraud worth over $170 billion dollars and was arrested on Dec 11,2008 and on march 12,2009.I was pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted  to operated the largest ponzi scheme in history.

Let me not go into much details.I have more than £1.5 billion British Pounds Sterling in HSBC London.This money nobody knows about it except my bank officers because the money was deposited under serial codes.I need your help right now not only to reinvest the money.50% will goes to charity and 20% will be mapped out for the promotion of gospel and building of churches and mosques all over the world and 25% for you while 4% goes to the bank officials who will help you facilitate the transaction and 1% for my up keeping in the prison and i know that i will die soon because of my heart attack and kidney cancer.please i want this business to be completed as soon as possible.

Kind respect

BM

 

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Do you work for a monkey tree organisation?

I’m often asked about how to implement a digital bank?  What are the top tips?

My response is that every company is different, with no two banks the same.  Some are evolutionary and try to tinker with the current company structure; some are revolutionary, like mBank, and radically reorganise the current structure; whilst some are transformational, like BNP Paribas and Hello!, where the only way to create the new structure is through the launch of a new bank.

Whichever strategy is being followed, the most critical piece in all of this is leadership, as I’ve said before.  This is where it gets more difficult as most banks are structured like monkey trees.

The monkey tree organisation has a lot of primates running up and down the limbs of the tree.  The monkey at the top of the tree looks down and sees a lot of smiling faces.

Smiling monkey

The monkey’s climbing up the tree just see a bunch of assholes.

It’s an easy joke to make, and gets a big laugh at many of the conferences I attend, but that is because it rings true.  Bear in mind that most banks have several hundred thousand employees and their culture is ingrained through years of hiring like-minded people who fit into the bank’s culture.  Equally, most bank CEOs are selected on the basis of being the best internal candidate who has been in the bank for many years.  This results in someone who thinks like the bank, has grown up within the bank, now running the bank and the last thing they are going to do is cut off the branch that they’re now sitting on.  After all, the higher up the tree you get, the bigger the fall if you drop off.

Not only this, but most are career bankers who have grown up with branches and desk operations with little experience of technology operations.  There are very few CEOs who have been a CIO or COO.  So it’s a big ask for a bank CEO to invest in reformation of the bank to be digital.  Far safer is evolution or transformation (launch a new bank).

Having said that, some are doing it as they are passionate about differentiation and are good leaders.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not a CIO by background, if you can see the need to reform for digital and have passion and leadership, it doesn’t matter.  That is the most critical factor – engendering change through leadership.

Now good leaders are hard to find.  I would name names, but it would be unfair as I’m not familiar with every bank out there, but what tends to happen is that a rising call for change grows within the bank and the incumbent or new CEO eventually listens.  Often it’s because his or her direct reports are shouting that digital is important or, more often than not, the customers are demanding change or competitors are doing things that you have to follow (this is what happened with mBank).

Where you have a noise that gets so loud it cannot be stopped, the CEO eventually has to respond and, if they are a good leader, they respond with absolute passion and commitment.  They make it clear what has to change and why.  They invest 100% into the change program and make it happen. It’s all about leadership (as I’ve said before).

Just for completeness, here’s the profile a few major bank leaders:

Antonio Horta-Osario, CEO, Lloyds is a career banker who started his career with Goldman Sachs and Citi before joining Santander in 1993, rising to UK CEO in 2006 before joining Lloyds in 2011.

Antony Jenkins, CEO, Barclays is a career Barclays banker, having started as a graduate recruit at the bank’s South Kensington branch almost 30 years ago.

Ross McEwan, CEO, RBS is seen as a carbon copy of Antony Jenkins, and is a career banker with experience of banking and insurance in Australia before joining RBS in 2012.

Stuart Gulliver, CEO, HSBC is a career HSBC banker, and joined HSBC in 1980 with key roles in the Group’s operations worldwide, including postings in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and the United Arab Emirates.

Ana Botin, Chair, Santander is a career banker joining JPMorgan in Madrid immediately after college before starting with Santander in 1988.

Jurgen Fitschen, Co-CEO, Deutsche Bank has been with the bank since 1987 whilst Anshu Jain, Co-CEO joined the bank in 1995 having previously run a hedge fund for Merrill Lynch.

Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America as agraduate of Brown University and the University of Notre Dame Law School, Moynihan joined FleetBoston in April 1993 as deputy general counsel, and came to Bank of America following its acquisition of FleetBoston.

Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase has been a COO and began his career at Goldman Sachs in 1978 before becoming Chief Administrative Officer at Smith Barney in 1990 which was acquired by Citigroup when he moved to Bank One in 2000, which was acquired by JPMorgan in 2004.

John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo is a 33-year veteran of the company having joined the former Norwest Corporation (predecessor of Wells Fargo) in 1982 in the loan administration department.

Michael Corbat, CEO, Citigroup has been at Citi and its predecessor companies since his graduation from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1983.

 

Powered by WPeMatico

Do you work for a monkey tree organisation?

I’m often asked about how to implement a digital bank?  What are the top tips?

My response is that every company is different, with no two banks the same.  Some are evolutionary and try to tinker with the current company structure; some are revolutionary, like mBank, and radically reorganise the current structure; whilst some are transformational, like BNP Paribas and Hello!, where the only way to create the new structure is through the launch of a new bank.

Whichever strategy is being followed, the most critical piece in all of this is leadership, as I’ve said before.  This is where it gets more difficult as most banks are structured like monkey trees.

The monkey tree organisation has a lot of primates running up and down the limbs of the tree.  The monkey at the top of the tree looks down and sees a lot of smiling faces.

Smiling monkey

The monkey’s climbing up the tree just see a bunch of assholes.

It’s an easy joke to make, and gets a big laugh at many of the conferences I attend, but that is because it rings true.  Bear in mind that most banks have several hundred thousand employees and their culture is ingrained through years of hiring like-minded people who fit into the bank’s culture.  Equally, most bank CEOs are selected on the basis of being the best internal candidate who has been in the bank for many years.  This results in someone who thinks like the bank, has grown up within the bank, now running the bank and the last thing they are going to do is cut off the branch that they’re now sitting on.  After all, the higher up the tree you get, the bigger the fall if you drop off.

Not only this, but most are career bankers who have grown up with branches and desk operations with little experience of technology operations.  There are very few CEOs who have been a CIO or COO.  So it’s a big ask for a bank CEO to invest in reformation of the bank to be digital.  Far safer is evolution or transformation (launch a new bank).

Having said that, some are doing it as they are passionate about differentiation and are good leaders.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not a CIO by background, if you can see the need to reform for digital and have passion and leadership, it doesn’t matter.  That is the most critical factor – engendering change through leadership.

Now good leaders are hard to find.  I would name names, but it would be unfair as I’m not familiar with every bank out there, but what tends to happen is that a rising call for change grows within the bank and the incumbent or new CEO eventually listens.  Often it’s because his or her direct reports are shouting that digital is important or, more often than not, the customers are demanding change or competitors are doing things that you have to follow (this is what happened with mBank).

Where you have a noise that gets so loud it cannot be stopped, the CEO eventually has to respond and, if they are a good leader, they respond with absolute passion and commitment.  They make it clear what has to change and why.  They invest 100% into the change program and make it happen. It’s all about leadership (as I’ve said before).

Just for completeness, here’s the profile a few major bank leaders:

Antonio Horta-Osario, CEO, Lloyds is a career banker who started his career with Goldman Sachs and Citi before joining Santander in 1993, rising to UK CEO in 2006 before joining Lloyds in 2011.

Antony Jenkins, CEO, Barclays is a career Barclays banker, having started as a graduate recruit at the bank’s South Kensington branch almost 30 years ago.

Ross McEwan, CEO, RBS is seen as a carbon copy of Antony Jenkins, and is a career banker with experience of banking and insurance in Australia before joining RBS in 2012.

Stuart Gulliver, CEO, HSBC is a career HSBC banker, and joined HSBC in 1980 with key roles in the Group’s operations worldwide, including postings in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and the United Arab Emirates.

Ana Botin, Chair, Santander is a career banker joining JPMorgan in Madrid immediately after college before starting with Santander in 1988.

Jurgen Fitschen, Co-CEO, Deutsche Bank has been with the bank since 1987 whilst Anshu Jain, Co-CEO joined the bank in 1995 having previously run a hedge fund for Merrill Lynch.

Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America as agraduate of Brown University and the University of Notre Dame Law School, Moynihan joined FleetBoston in April 1993 as deputy general counsel, and came to Bank of America following its acquisition of FleetBoston.

Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMorgan Chase has been a COO and began his career at Goldman Sachs in 1978 before becoming Chief Administrative Officer at Smith Barney in 1990 which was acquired by Citigroup when he moved to Bank One in 2000, which was acquired by JPMorgan in 2004.

John Stumpf, CEO, Wells Fargo is a 33-year veteran of the company having joined the former Norwest Corporation (predecessor of Wells Fargo) in 1982 in the loan administration department.

Michael Corbat, CEO, Citigroup has been at Citi and its predecessor companies since his graduation from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1983.

 

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