Embrace change, take risks, and disrupt yourself

Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Essentials to Transformation Success in Banking

Transformation is both an overused word and an underdeveloped concept at most financial institutions. Successfully embraced, transformation can help a financial institution achieve its full potential.

Transformation is also not a project or a destination, but a continuous process of adapting to a volatile and uncertain environment to become more future-ready.

We are excited to have Seth Goldstrom, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company on the Banking Transformed podcast. Seth shares the keys to a successful transformation and why most transformations fail to deliver as expected.

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, founder and CEO of The Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. Transformation has become an overused word and an underdeveloped concept at most financial institutions. Successfully embraced transformation can help a financial institution achieve its full potential. Not just in digital banking, but overall.

Jim Marous:
Transformation also is not a project or a destination, but a continuous process of adopting and adapting to volatile and uncertain environments to become more future ready. I'm really excited to have Seth Goldstrom, senior partner at McKinsey & Company on The Banking Transformed podcast. Seth shares the keys to successful transformation and why most transformation efforts fail to deliver as expected.

Jim Marous:
So welcome to the show today, Seth. McKinsey found that most transformations don't really deliver on their promises or their targets. In some cases, transformation is even being mis-defined. At a time of economic uncertainty, it's really never been more important for banks and credit unions to transform their organizations for a more digital and more future ready future. So Seth, why is it so difficult to execute against transformation initiatives and how can organizations flip the odds in the favor of their success?

Seth Goldstrom:
Well, Jim, that's a great question. We've looked at this for a long time. And we've run a survey each year for a little bit over the last decade trying to tract our companies being more successful in their transformations and what drives it. And what we've seen is if you look for at least public companies where they announce a transformation goal, only about 30% of companies actually deliver what they announced they were going to. Now, that doesn't mean that the other 70% didn't get anything, they just didn't get what they said.

Seth Goldstrom:
And a lot of times what they say to the street isn't necessarily what they're trying to do internally, because they don't want to miss those targets. And so a lot of times the external target is a little bit more watered down than maybe what they're hoping to in their stretch case.

Seth Goldstrom:
There are several reasons why we see that happen. And you had asked the question around how to flip the odds. And there are four or five main things that I would say that you see as hallmarks when this works well. The first is companies that do this really well focus on what we call the full potential. And it's the realistically achievable full potential. So it's not pie in the sky numbers. And it's human nature to not want to over promise and under deliver. And a lot of times the trap we see is that companies and people will negotiate down their goals and targets to what they feel comfortable doing. And when you set it at the full potential, the number on average ends up being about two and a half times what people thought was possible. So it's more than double. And so when you're going after a number that's more than double, the odds of getting to where you wanted to be go up massively.

Seth Goldstrom:
The second piece related to that is on timing. A lot of times it looks more like a hockey stick. It's two, three years out in terms of hoping to get there. And companies that do this really well make real progress after a quarter or two. They can get to about a third of it on a run rate basis. And if you're getting a third of it after a quarter or two on a number that's twice as big, that makes an enormous difference. So that's the first thing that we'd say.

Seth Goldstrom:
The second is around really having a knowledge process. When I started at McKinsey over 25 years ago, we were taught that you really couldn't have more than a handful of themes. And if you're trying to drive five things or more than five things, it was just too much. And companies that have really nailed this have figured out how do you empower and get the entire organization rallied around this. And it's often for a Fortune 500 company, it's thousands of things. And so how do you get thousands of smaller or medium sized projects done? And how do you build a knowledge process to enable you to execute that at scale and to flip that? So that's the second thing that we see that really works.

Seth Goldstrom:
The third, particularly in things like digital, is keeping an eye on the outcome versus the activities. In a classic manufacturing context, people will get caught up on lean or six sigma, which we're huge fans of. But sometimes it can be to what end. And so you can get caught up on doing a set of activities and the result or the outcome against those get lost. It's almost the trap of a PMO and you're focused on red, yellow, green and to what end?

Seth Goldstrom:
The fourth thing that I would say is really around what we often call the chain story. So does the broader organization know why we're doing this in a way that's actually meaningful and exciting? And then lastly, and most importantly, companies that transform have an obsession with growth. Most people do not get excited about cost reduction. Most people really get excited about growth. And having an aspect of this where you're spending at least as much time on growth as you are on efficiency is a pretty big hallmark as well.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting. You opened up so many doors that I hadn't even expected when we started this conversation. One of which is you talked about the planning efforts. And in every organization, especially in financial services, the planning efforts usually starts with last year's plan and you work against that. How in the world are we expected to have transformation when our starting point is the past? And as you said, people low ball to a degree, because they're going ... Well, they high ball what they want budget wise, they low ball what they say they're going to achieve. But if you really want to embrace transformation, and you said it really well, you have to really go towards growth. You also have to embrace change. And that in its own nature is disruptive. Because we all know what we're good at and it's usually based on things we've done in the past. In many organizations, especially financial services, they've had good financial success over the last more than decade, year to year.

Jim Marous:
And so all the things you just mentioned about the keys to success are very evident. Everybody knows them. But it's really hard to implement against it. I use the analogy of a doctor's office, where the doctor tells you everything you need to do to become a better person. We all know that. It's nothing new. It's just a matter of whether or not we want to take that step. So over the last couple years, certainly a ton of things have changed. But the importance of transforming organizations has probably increased in tremendous magnitude because so much else has changed. So much around us has changed. So when you take this and you throw it into the state of disruption, what prerequisites for success have remained constant?

Seth Goldstrom:
I think the biggest prerequisite for success that's remained constant is what you were getting at Jim around you've really got to want to do it. And at some level it takes three things for somebody to get massively better. One is the person or the organization has to be very uncomfortable with how things are today. There's no sense of complacency. And a real desire to be the best that they can be. Either individually or as a team or as an organization.

Seth Goldstrom:
The second thing is there's got to be a view of where do I want to get to? What does great look like? In terms of the strategy, in terms of performance. But what's that vision. And then third, there needs to be a concrete plan to get there in terms of from where we are today, to where we want to be. But it all comes back to, if you're happy with what you're doing, you're never going to get necessarily that much better in a transformational way. Because you've got to be uncomfortable. I don't think that's new. But that for us is really important.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting because there's so many elements in the transformation umbrella. We use the word almost too much because everything's a transformation. But right now we're going into what looks like a economic downturn or at least a period of very deep uncertainty. When we look at that, is there a potential or a challenge of maybe holding back to try to conserve capital as we enter a potential recession and is that a problem?

Seth Goldstrom:
Well, Jim, I think it varies a lot by industry. In terms of the degree of headwinds or tailwinds. And so I do believe it's very industry specific. In some respects I think it makes transformation easier in that it does drive a lot of that lack of complacency and discomfort. I'm not seeing a big pullback on investing into the future. Obviously there's more uncertainty around business cases. But when you look out over this ... And transformation's a multi-year effort. When you look through any shape of a recovery and what happens over a couple years, it's hard not to ... Why would you think about that necessarily differently?

Seth Goldstrom:
Part of it to me when you look back over the last couple years and you think of various organizations' response to COVID and working from home and hybrid and having to change people's business models and all those things, it's amazing how much everyone got done. It's hard to even get your head around how much companies really transformed in a very short period of time because they had to. And part of it is how do you bottle that up for the next chapter where it's different? Because to me that just shows that the potential's there, but you've got to want to do it and you have to have that burning platform to push you to make really big changes.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting because as with anything, if you don't feel pain, it's less likely for anybody, organization or person, to go towards something good as opposed to avoiding something bad and it takes a personality thing. So what's interesting is when we look at transformation in the general sense or even in the more specific sense, you mentioned that it was amazing during the pandemic all that was done. And in the banking industry, PPP loans. Who would've thought that you could get a government mandate on a Thursday night or a Friday morning and have it in place by Monday when you didn't know what you were going to be giving and it was a brand new product line. And oh, by the way we threw in there that none of your employees would be able to meet face to face in a traditional sense, yet it was achieved.

Jim Marous:
And I think we have to keep on going back to what was done to say we would've never thought we could ever achieve what we did achieve under pressure. And the pressure's there now more than anything. And the daily pressure. Just keeping up with what's going on is the difficult one. So in a recent interview you discussed 10 reasons why transformations fail. Can you share some of the important reasons that you've seen in the banking industry or in any industry in general?

Seth Goldstrom:
Yeah. Well there's a few and some of this, Jim, I touched on a little bit earlier. But this first piece I would really say is this orienting goals around full potential as opposed to what do you need to solve next year's budget. And so it's an incremental view versus a, where can we be in three years then start to work backwards. That's a big piece of it. The second is around having a knowledge process to take things from ideas all the way to it showing up on the P&L or the balance sheet at scale. And a lot of times what we find this is people will ... If I'm doing procurement work and you negotiate a price for better pens and then you then have more money in your budget and you're like, "I'm going to go buy some more pencils." From a procurement perspective, you think you save money. But then the CFO or the investor looks at it and says, "Well, I don't see it on the balance sheet." And part of that is what we call leakage around how do you manage something all the way through to make sure it actually shows up? And if you're going to go reinvest it, that that's a purposeful decision.

Seth Goldstrom:
Most companies don't do a very good job of that. And those that do you really see it in terms of the performance. The third thing that I would say is ... And we touched on it earlier, but the notion of the change story and being able as the CEO or member of the top team to articulate why you're doing this in a way everyone gets excited. Most employees have been through multiple rounds of transformations over their career. I often will joke, it needs to feel more like a wedding than a funeral. In that when it gets announced after the first day or the first time you hear about it, do you walk back or do you call your friend and say, "This sounds really exciting. I'm so glad we're finally doing this."? Or is the reaction here they go again?

Seth Goldstrom:
And if it feels like here they go again, that just doesn't really work well. And so I think that the change story aspect's really important. The other thing that we're seeing a lot of too is this notion of what I'd characterize as more thematic transformations where it's around a topic. Agility, digital, advanced analytics, manufacturing excellence. And those are all great levers. A lot of companies struggle where they'll pick a flavor of the month or a theme, and then not have the foundation in place for everything else that's required to sustain a transformation. And they don't necessarily see the full benefit of that. And so that would be another example. Then the last thing is focusing too much on near term performance, as opposed to how are we going to be a more vibrant and exciting company five years from now than we are today, which ultimately comes back to growth.

Jim Marous:
So that's interesting because we're still as a marketplace reward what's happened today. And you see an interesting dynamic and in the banking industry, I referenced Jamie Dimon's recent announcement that he was going to double down on investment in R&D, which still wasn't anywhere near what many institutions were doing as a percentage. But he got lambasted. He got criticized by shareholders and by some analysts saying, "Why are you taking revenues and capital and investing so much in R&D?" It's the vision. The long term vision. He goes, "I won't be in existence if we don't do this now." And that's a real difficult position to take, not just from an organizational standpoint, but from a marketplace standpoint unless people see and feel that there's things on the horizon that may disrupt the industry or any industry even more.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting because ... And correct me if I'm wrong. One of the major things you're saying that needs to be done is actually I'll call it democratization of the transformation process. In other words, don't make it a department or don't make it a set of few individuals looking at the numbers, but really share it with the rest of the organization so that they can embrace that and feel that they're part of it, as opposed to being on the outside looking in and being in some cases fearful of their jobs. Is that correct?

Seth Goldstrom:
Absolutely. And there's a lot in there, Jim. But when we talk about democratizing change, it's really important that people feel like they're a part of this and doing it as opposed to having something done to them. And that's just human nature. Practically, when you look at transformations for large companies, it's thousands of initiatives. At least hundreds of initiatives. And our research suggests that any individual owner of an initiative can do one or two. And so if you have 3000 initiatives, you're going to need thousands of people working on this and everyone's playing their part and working on one specific thing. And then when you add that all up, it's amazing. And that's what we get at in terms of when we talk about democratizing change.

Seth Goldstrom:
And some of this also gets into the enablers. So how do you recognize and reward people for doing things that are above and beyond? And it's not all financial. Some of the best examples that I've seen of that is I had a situation recently where I saw where the CEO reached out to somebody's father and sent them a note with some swag from the company basically saying, "Thank you for what your son or daughter did. It was amazing. And I know you know must be proud and had a hand in that." That person is going to remember that forever. And that's what we see the best leaders do in terms of democratizing change in terms of getting that level of the employee base excited about what they're trying to accomplish.

Jim Marous:
So you not only are the leader at McKinsey on the whole issue of transformation, but you also obviously are part of the team that go out and try to meet with organizations and help them embrace what we're trying to talk about here. But at many organizations they've enjoyed decades in some cases of financial success. When you meet with these organizations, how do you convince them to transform areas of their organization that don't necessarily look broke, but are certainly not optimized?

Seth Goldstrom:
Well, I think that's hard is the short answer.

Jim Marous:
That's why I asked the question.

Seth Goldstrom:
We have a lot of clients where they recognize that and they're looking for help on how to get it to where they'd want to be faster and they're trying to bring to bear some of our capabilities, whether it's functionally or on specific industry topics, to help them reach their full potential like a coach. Like in the sporting context or a trainer. And so a lot of situations it's in that context. We obviously also are having conversations where we're pushing people on how much better you can be or trying to create some desire for change.

Seth Goldstrom:
I think there's a couple ways we often would try to do that. One is just showing the nature of the opportunity and why we think it's there. And sometimes clients will get really excited when they see something that they hadn't necessarily thought of before. And then they'll be motivated obviously to go capture that value. Sometimes it's a different view of what's going on in the strategic landscape or competition. And here are some of the trends we're seeing and how the trends might impact your business is a second way that we'll often do that.

Seth Goldstrom:
And then third, sometimes we will push on ... We often will approach this with the mindset of if we were to buy the company. If we were to come in and buy it, here's what we would do and here's what we think the potential is. Or if we were looking at this like we were an activist, what would we say? And we obviously don't know anything because we're coming in from the outside but you obviously have that also externally with your potential investors or activists, et cetera. And these are the questions we would be asking and wouldn't you rather get ahead of that on your own? And sometimes we'll look at it through that lens. And sometimes clients ask us to do that because they want to be challenged. Because they always want to be better. So I would say those are some of the ways we see helping build a sense of a desire to do something different.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, I was just at a banking conference and I'm among all these solution providers. Hundreds of solution providers, all trying to sell somewhat similar solutions to the same market. And they're saying, "Jeez, it's just so hard to get the needle moved." And I said, "Well, there's a couple things here. Number one, many firms engage me as they engage you to sometimes say I'm going to make you sick so that you can get well. In other words, I need to show you what you're missing about what could be the future." And you just mentioned it. You talk about, if I can't give them the pain, then I'll give them what could have been pleasure that they're missing. The other component of this is the decision early in the discussion to say, are these people even willing to embrace what we're talking about?

Jim Marous:
And I'm sure you've had many instances where you could spend five minutes with an organization and know it doesn't matter what we did here, we aren't going to be able to move the needle because they're just not ready yet. And as solution providers in the industry, I say you're spending so much money on what you think is going to be the big sale and you're maybe hearing things on the mid-level that say all the right things. But the problem is, you said it at least three times so far, if you don't have the desire, I'm going to have a real hard time pushing that rock uphill. And now it's interesting, when we look at transformation, how important today, probably even more than even two years ago, is both speed and scale of transformation? And scale not being just big transformations, but maybe incremental transformations.

Seth Goldstrom:
I'll come back to that, Jim in a second, but let me just touch on something you just said, which is, I think some people are motivated by fear and some people are motivated by opportunity. And I think how you approach that as an advisor is very different. And sometimes people tease it too much on fear versus opportunity and we get stuck. The other reason too, which we often don't ask is why? Help me understand this. I see the opportunity this way. What are you seeing that makes you ... You seem less excited about this. Why? Is it you don't believe me? You don't believe that's the opportunity. You think you're working on something else that's more important? And I think often which may all be valid.

Jim Marous:
Which may all be valid. Yeah.

Seth Goldstrom:
But a lot of times people don't get to that level to really end up in a discussion around how do you compare that across different opportunities that they're pursuing.

Seth Goldstrom:
Back to your question on speed and scale. They're both very important I would say. I mean, the thing that I think gets lost a lot of times in transformation is much more on speed than in terms of scale. And what I mean by that is it's just as important how fast you can get to the opportunity as how big that opportunity is a couple years from now. And what we often see ... And I often call it a third, a third, a third. But we usually see, you can get after ... And obviously it's company specific. But on average after a quarter or two, if you're running really hard, you can get to about a third of the opportunity on a run rate basis. About another year after that, maybe the next third and then another year after that, the last third. And obviously things that are capital dependent or very IT dependent are on the back half.

Seth Goldstrom:
Nothing begets success like success and people enjoy winning. And so there's a real excitement if you're able to put results on the board, which don't need to just be financial, but people feel like it's moving. And then people that may have been skeptical coming out of that first meeting saying, "Huh, they were serious. They really did do this. And we're starting to see this show up." And then people will start to give more of the benefit of the doubt and get more engaged. And so I think that's really to me the importance of speed. We'll often call it the reverse hockey stick. How can we front load this? And when you do and you actually get to a third of the value in that first, call it six months, the odds of success go up massively.

Seth Goldstrom:
In terms of the scale part, there needs to be enough of a scope, that you actually can go transform the business. So if there's a whole bunch of, you can touch this, but you can't touch that and don't talk to that person, they're busy on something else, then it doesn't feel as much like a transformation because you've got to have all the levers in place to get to where you want to be from a strategy perspective.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, we just completed an interview with a gentleman by the name of Henry Ma from WeBank, which is the biggest digital bank in the world located in China. They serve 300 million customers with 3000 employees of which two thirds are engineers and R&D people. But what was interesting is one of the things they take away is that they take great pride in the fact that they can go from ideation to implementation of something in the marketplace, something new in less than 10 days. So their whole mentality is fast and incremental, but making it so it's tested out and overall it builds a scale. So it's different ways to look at it, but it's the way a tech company looks at it as opposed to a fiscal structured company that has a big legacy. So it's a very interesting dynamic. It's interesting because when I bring up the question about speed and scale, people go apple pie and cherry pie. Gosh, they're both great. I want both. But I think the importance have become important because ... And you've mentioned in a lot of your writings that our destination keeps on moving. Transformation never ends and you don't have a destination point. It's really an evolutionary process.

Jim Marous:
But the fact that the marketplace is changing so quickly that you really have to do a lot to stay in place. And it goes a long way to say I can't sit still, as you said from the beginning. So let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsors of this podcast.

Jim Marous:
Welcome back to Banking Transformed. I'm joined today by Seth Goldstrom. Senior partner at McKinsey. We have been discussing the challenges and opportunities of transformation and the actions that must be done now to succeed. So Seth, with everything that's happened in the past couple years, we can't ignore the fact that changes have occurred in the workplace from the standpoint of hybrid work environments and different ways of engaging with others and it's become more than the norm. How does this change in the workplace impact transformation?

Seth Goldstrom:
I don't think it has a huge impact, which may be a little bit counterintuitive. I mean a lot of clients, and I know this is a podcast for banks, are already working in a world where they're very distributed. Branches, a distributed leadership model. And so at least for me, most of my clients are all over the ... They're working in organizations that are global and are in multiple different places. And so they've had to figure out how to go do that. Now obviously the scale of that has massively changed. But one of the things that we've seen is technology and tools have made it a big difference in the context of transformation.

Seth Goldstrom:
We at McKinsey use a tool that we call Wave, which is basically a web based idea tracking software. And it takes things all the way from an initial idea to following it through to an outcome. Then you have a set of reports and dashboards that allow you to look at it and say what was supposed to happen this week? Did it happen or not happen? And you can deal with the exceptions and lean in and check in and really ask the question, how do I help? And so I think we've really seen a proliferation of tools like that and approaches and running status meetings in a virtual world versus around a conference room table where people are dialing in from all over the world.

Seth Goldstrom:
I don't feel like we've really missed a beat on that aspect. Now with that said, it does make some of the things that have always been hallmarks of successful transformations even more important. And the biggest of that is around generating alignment. Why are we doing this? Capturing the hearts and minds of why this is important and exciting I do think is a little bit harder to do when you're not necessarily face to face. And so spending more time on the why. Why we're changing and why we're doing this and what the purpose is, becomes much more important.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting, as I visualize transformation, it's hard not to see all this big stuff for lack of a better technical term. But we also are seeing that incremental transformation. We talked a little bit before the break about WeBank and how they go from ideation to implementation in 10 days. But when you're looking at transformation, how important is that ongoing incremental change? Because as most industries have been built around annual calendars, we sometimes take this broad perspective and we try to maybe move too much at the same time or take a lot of incremental things, but make it one big release. How much have you seen organizations really embrace what I'm going to call incremental transformation or the continuous small wins that keep the ball rolling?

Seth Goldstrom:
The companies that do this well don't just view this as a one static two year thing and then we finish and then we're done. At McKinsey, we use a three step process which starts with what we call a diligence and really sizing full potential. Then second, we do something we call bottom up planning, which is all around creating detailed plans and how we're going to go get this done. And then third, tracking through implementation. And that is often a 18 month to two and a half year process. We have a lot of clients that on the back end of that when they finish, will say, "Okay, we're going to just go do it again. We're going to start again and relook at what our full potential is and do the diligence over again."

Seth Goldstrom:
And then other clients will look at it and say, "Okay, we're going to move much more into a continuous improvement mindset." Or we're leveraging the same knowledge process around how we get things done but without necessarily restarting the formal process again. I personally like running the process again, but it's very industry specific. If you're in an industry that's undergoing massive change and it's much more dynamic, you might have to do more what you were describing, Jim. Whereas if you're something that's a little bit more stable and capital intensive, having that two year mindset, because it's very capital big projects works better.

Jim Marous:
And when you look in the marketplace with all the different clients you meet with, what is normally the biggest challenge they have in the transformation process?

Seth Goldstrom:
I think the biggest challenge is sticking to the process. The analogy I would give is if we're trying to get fit, we know if you eat less and exercise more, you're going to lose weight. And you could do it for a short period of time and then you go back to where you were. Because you don't want to do it necessarily. And so the biggest thing that we find is making sure people really stick to it and showing the tie from if we do this, we know this is going to go happen. That's the biggest thing that I think we struggle with. And doing it for a long period of time. Companies that stick to the knowledge process, you almost can guarantee the result. Just like you can on the diet and the exercise. It's just hard to enable that to obviously happen.

Jim Marous:
I often call it the challenger mindset. If you continue to look and saying ... You have to continuously evolve. In the break we talked about an organization that felt like they were being disrupted by people that they would put themselves in the same category as and they're going ... I wouldn't say they rested on their laurels. There's been a lot of things been good with that organization but really what's challenging and as you mentioned is to continue to have that focus and make it part of your mentality and not get worn out by it, which is interesting.

Jim Marous:
You work with all different kinds of organizations, but you also see a lot of organizations outside the marketplace. Is there any one or two organizations you think, and they don't have to be McKinsey clients, but you can go that direction if you want, that get it. That really, really have made this part of their culture, part of their overall mantra, and have really seen the results to show for it.

Seth Goldstrom:
There are. And Jim, we don't talk about clients by name just from a confidentiality perspective. But there are and they've really embraced this and made it ... As opposed to a project name, they've made it just the way that they do business. One of the things that you'll often see is companies will call this Project X or Transformation Y and we really resist that because then it starts to feel more flash in the pan as opposed to this is how we're going to just run the place every day. And this is just the way we do business. And it becomes part of the purpose and the values of the company.

Seth Goldstrom:
And when they do this, there's no and versus or. In a manufacturing context, you'd say, well, how do we be more efficient, have better quality and keep everybody safe and be good environmental stewards? And our clients, or even not our clients, that do this well, it's always and. There's never an or excuse. They're better at everything. They're better from a growth perspective, they're better in terms of being inclusive for their employees. They're very efficient and they take safety extraordinarily seriously as an example.

Jim Marous:
So finally, last question is that we have organizations that listen to the podcast that are at different stages of transformation. Everybody's somewhere in the process. But if you were going to give one major suggested and say, "Gosh, make sure you get this right," or, "This is what I'd do today to make the biggest quick impact that will impact more going forward." And we've discussed many of them. And it may be a repeat of something you've already said. What would you say is that one thing?

Seth Goldstrom:
The first thing that I would do is I would start off and almost take a small group of your organization, a handful of people and say what would you do if you were buying us? I want you to take six weeks and think of it as a red team and a blue team. And if you were doing a management buyout and what do you think the full potential is and what would you do? And we want you to look at everything. From an efficiency perspective, digital investments, growth, M&A, et cetera. What would you do? And we don't want you have to get buy in from anybody. We don't want you to ... Just because this is your decision. The five of you are the new management team. What would you do and what would that look like? Then let's talk about it around how do we get there. That's the first thing that I would do.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting. I've never heard it said that way, but really what it does, that process takes the excuses out of the mix. So we all have the reasons for not moving forward. Budget, people, timing, scale, whatever it may be. But your idea of saying, what would you do if you were to buy this company is interesting because you're taking the excuses away. Therefore you're saying here's what I would do. And then it may put you in a better frame of mind to get rid of those excuses as you look at it going forward.

Jim Marous:
Seth, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate the insights. I've read a lot of your items, seen some of your podcasts. How does somebody get ahold of you or see what your thought process has been at McKinsey?

Seth Goldstrom:
Well, probably the best way is just to email me. Just Seth, S-E-T-H, [email protected] Or you can find me on LinkedIn. And we're always happy to chat. And Jim, thanks to you and the team for having us today. We really appreciate it.

Jim Marous:
Appreciate it. Thanks a lot.

Jim Marous:
Thank you for listening to Banking Transformed, the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed today's interview, please be sure to take some time to give our show a positive review on your favorite podcast platform. Also, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and the research we're doing for the Digital Bank Report. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to my producer, Leah Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman, and video producer, Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember transformation is a process, not a destination. Begin today to embrace change, take risks, and disrupt yourself and your organization.

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