Agile banking action learning program
Overall, the project set 11 specific and measurable goals. All these goals were achieved and 8 were exceeded.
“After four months of team efforts, Hangzhou Branch not only achieved the goal, but also improved the team cohesion, consolidated the foundation of corporate customers, and improved the market competitiveness. The corporate business has been significantly improved through the project. In the process, the methods and experience of promoting corporate business and mobilizing the enthusiasm of outlets have been summarized and extracted, which has improved the cohesion of the team and exercised the ability of the team to overcome difficulties.”
– Mr. Yuqiao Chen, Vice President Hangzhou Branch
“The project solved some long-standing problems of Bank of China and has the significance of bank wide replication. The facilitation technology helped us find and solve the card points that were not considered in the past in the process of project development, sorted out the implementation ideas of the whole project, so that Shaoxing Branch has a systematic understanding of the project, is full of work motivation, and walks hand in hand towards the goal of improving the average network efficiency of outlets.”
– Mr. Shu Wang, President of Shaoxing Branch
“In addition to achieving the project objectives, the application of facilitation technology enabled the members of the research group to focus on the pain points of work, unify their ideas and reach a consensus on action in the process of the project, improve the bank wide employees' understanding of green finance, and pay more attention to green finance. The project has fundamentally stimulated organizational vitality, formulated a perfect assessment and incentive mechanism for the field of green finance, issued a new performance assessment scheme for the whole bank, and improved employees' initiative through a strong mechanism.
– Mr. Hongzheng Hu, President of Huzhou Branch
After participating in the project, the status of team members has changed significantly: first, individuals are more willing to actively express their opinions and change from passive acceptance of superior instructions to active questioning, discussion and feedback; Second, members began to actively carry out cross departmental communication and cooperation (such as business linkage between personal finance department and corporate finance department), rather than passively waiting for instructions from superiors; Third, participants could grasp the connotation and intention of the tasks assigned by the higher authorities more accurately .
– Mr. Xiaobo Weng, President of Quzhou Branch
Context and challenges
The Zhejiang Branch of the Bank of China carries out banking service projects in the Zhejiang Province of China. The branch has four secondary branches – Hangzhou Branch, Huzhou Branch, Shaoxing Branch and Quzhou Branch.
In the face of fierce competition in the regional market, Zhejiang branch wanted to break the development difficulties of secondary branches and form a competitive advantage through the innovation of this project.
Key challenges included:
Hangzhou Branch: A weak foundation of corporate customers was restricting the scale and efficiency of the branch's business development creating the challenge of the declining market competitiveness of the branch's core business.
Huzhou Branch: This branch is in the first batch of green financial reform innovation pilot zones in China and the first pilot branch of green finance in the system. The key challenge was how to quickly build the local green finance brand of Bank of China and establish a "Huzhou sample" for the development of green finance for the whole bank.
Shaoxing Branch: This branch was experiencing bottlenecks in the improvement of network efficiency. It lacked an effective means in mass customer expansion and fine live customers, and there were some deficiencies in the market's agile response ability and key business breakthrough.
Quzhou Branch: This branch faced many challenges including unclear network positioning, insufficient differentiated competition and weak marketing service ability and low awareness of coordinated operation and linkage development.
The objectives were for each secondary branch to set and reach specific measurable gaols by the end of August 2021.
Kevin Hao Junshuai and Kefa Lv from Beijing Accelerating Business Growth Management Consulting Co., LTD worked with a team of facilitators from the Bank of China to guide and support branches on their journey.
The approach was based on the fundamental principles of action learning.
Facilitation played a key role in the project. The use of facilitation:
- enhanced understanding of the situation – by participating in the whole process participants developed a deep understanding of the whole problem
- deepened recognition of the scheme – through mutual questioning, self-reflection, divergence and convergent decision-making, participants developed a deep recognition of the scheme
- enhanced commitment to action – participants, rather than external experts, generated the programs and actions to reach their goals and they have a sense of ownership.