Simon Hughes, International Banker: Are there any specific personal philosophies that you like to consistently adopt in order to get the most out of your people?
Mr. Mikael Sørensen, CEO, Handelsbanken UK: Well, personally that goes also very well along with what the bank believes. I believe in the human nature. I believe that people in general want to do good things well. I don’t think that anybody goes to work every Monday morning thinking, “Today I want to take some bad decisions or do something bad”. And this is very fundamental in our business model that we trust people. We trust people that they want to do something good when they come to work. So we give them the possibility. We empower them to actually take their own decisions. And sometimes that decision that they take will be different from the decision that you would have taken yourself. And most of the time, you have to accept that. That not all decisions that you would have made are the right ones.
Mr. Edwin R. Bautista, President and Chief Operating Officer, Union Bank of the Philippines: As we are embarking on digital transformation, this can be a real stressful event to the employees. First question: “Will I have a job?” So we like to convince them that this is not a project management, so that “we get to keep our jobs, and you lose yours” kind of thing. But rather this is a journey that we can do together. So the first step is to win the hearts and minds of the team members and the associates. So they need to understand what it is that we want to do and what is the role that they can play. In fact, what we tell them is that “no man will be left behind. We will be there to provide training to all the executives and staff. If you are willing to join us on this journey, we are here, we will handhold you. If you are not interested in the journey then tell us up front. Because we don’t want to equally waste everybody’s time if you are not interested”. From a leadership standpoint, I think what we need to do is to build a management team. I always refer to this as a collective effort. It’s not just me or the chairman. It’s about the team. We need to be adaptive. And we need to build an agile organization. We can have the best plans, but as you know, there are so many disruptive elements in this world that things can change. And we must be able to navigate and wade through that maze. To be here or there for as long as the broad, overall directions are clear.
Dr. Charles Stephen Kimei, Chief Executive Officer, CRDB Bank: One thing is trusting the team. But for you to trust the team, you have to really take them through the right programs. Make sure that they stay tuned and every time they are willing to criticize themselves. Criticism is very important. Criticizing themselves, criticizing myself. Criticizing me as their leader. Allowing them to express it openly so that you reach solutions that are credible, and which are tested, and which everybody can buy into. “OK, I also contributed to this solution, or to this particular process.” So in a way, that is very important. Second is that transparency is very important. Transparency to your stakeholders. If I tell you that my NPL is low when it’s high, it will never work. You will not address the problem. You tend to hide problems, and you do not make much by hiding problems. The third is making sure that you walk the talk. What I talk is what I do. And I like my colleagues, my team, to do the same. If you say, “We are going to tighten our belts”, then tighten. If you say, “We are going to be helped this way; the staff have to do this”. And then if we are not doing it, you have to walk the talk. And finally I feel that I really cherish knowledge. That we have to allow innovation to take place. And banking systems, banking operations, are things which tend to be very highly controlled. But we want people to be empowered. People to be able to make decisions so long as their customer is happy. To make the customer happy.