Aligning Strategy with Purpose in Banking [Podcast]

October 10, 2016 Iris Maslow


mcleodIn this podcast, we sit down with Lisa McLeod as she delves into finding and defining the purpose within your bank and why it’s important that your purpose lives at the forefront of everything you do. She’ll address how to align your purpose with strategy in order to make the best decisions for your bank.

Lisa is recognized internationally as a sales and leadership consultant and for creating the popular business concept, “Noble Purpose.”



Podcast Transcript

Dallas: Hello and welcome to the Purposeful Banker, the podcast brought to you by PrecisionLender, where we discuss the big topics on the minds of today’s best bankers. I’m your host, Dallas Wells and thank you for joining us. The title of today’s episode is Aligning Purpose with Strategy in Banking and will feature Lisa McLeod, creator of the popular business concept noble purpose and founder of McLeod and Moore, which is a sales leadership consultancy. I’ll let Lisa explain a little bit more about her business and her background. First I want to talk to you about how we came across Lisa and how this podcast came to be. We found Lisa as we were doing some research for last year’s BankOnPurpose conference and loved all the stuff that she had done, the book, the talks that she gave, so we asked her to be one of our keynote speakers at our inaugural BankOnPurpose conference. It was a really big hit with all of the attendees, the reviews were great so we have asked Lisa to come back and headline the conference again this coming year.

What we wanted to do today was just give you a sneak peek into a little bit of what she’ll be talking about this year, kind of catch you up a little bit on the big concepts from last year. This podcast is the precursor to our installments in the BankOnPurpose webinar series. We’ll have some of those coming up and more details to come on that but Lisa specifically will be on October 19 and 20 where she’ll take a little more in-depth look at the stuff that we’re going to talk about today. We encourage all of you to attend to that. We’ll have links to the details in the show notes for this episode.

Lisa, thanks so much for doing this.

Lisa: I’m delighted to talk to you. This is my favorite topic, as you know.

Dallas: Absolutely. Why don’t you start with the easy stuff, just tell us a little bit more about your background and what you do.

Lisa: At the heart of it, I am a consultant that focuses on two things, revenue growth and emotional engagement. It’s really interesting because I came to this topic, my background is sales and sales consulting, I’m a former Proctor and Gamble sales trainer and I had a sales consultancy business for years and I came upon this concept of purpose about eight years ago. It was a combination of some research that I did and an experience I had in the field where I was able to identify that sales people that have what I now call noble purpose, whose purpose is to improve the customer’s condition, outperform people whose focus is on quota. I discovered that eight years ago and it’s become quite a popular topic for people to talk about purpose but what I came to realize is that the two things we want in a business, we want revenue growth and the way you achieve revenue growth is through a lot of different things, not the least of which is competitive differentiation, being better than your competition. The other thing that companies want is they want emotional engagement.

We want the market to respond to us very positively to where we’re beating the competition and we also want emotional engagement from our employees. What I came to realize was that noble purpose is actually at the root of both of those, that companies who can very clearly identify how they make a difference from their competition, how they do it differently, and create a narrative around that, achieve both of those things. They achieve accelerated revenue growth and they achieve emotional engagement. There’s hard data on it. Companies with a noble purpose outperform the market by over three hundred fifty percent and employees who feel meaning and purpose in their work are half as likely to look for other opportunities.

Dallas: It really does translate to bottom line results, even in businesses where it feels like commodities are being sold. That’s a lot of what we hear in banking, our money’s just as green as everybody else’s so how do we really differentiate. That’s really what you’re talking about here.

Lisa: That’s absolutely what we’re talking about. I’m the daughter of a banker and one of the things that … I’ve always felt that banking was a noble profession, I mean try and imagine a world without banking, we don’t exist but one of the things in banking when people talk about banking and I’m doing air quotes right here, products are not what the consumer thinks about when they think about banking. I understand what bankers mean when bankers talk about it but the very actually of using those words, demonstrates a lack of connection with the consumer, business consumer or personal consumer because the consumer doesn’t think about it that way. Even the company, big companies that do big business with banks, they don’t think of it as a product, it’s a service.

As you said, it’s really hard to create a differentiated service in banking. The differentiator is your people. The differentiator is your people. Even if you were able to come up with some amazing thing, it’s only a matter of months before your competition has it too. It’s the ethos of the thing and we are seeing that play out right now in the media in a big way that if your focus is internal on your bottom line, cross-selling, whatever you want to call it, your people are going to play that out in a way that at its best, is just not going to get engagement with your customers because your customers are going to see right through it. At its worst is what we’re seeing right now. The ironic thing is the companies who are doing this well, who are really saying our purpose is to make an impact on customers, then they use their metrics in the service of customer impact actually wind up making more money.

Dallas: One of the things you talked about at last year’s conference was the concept everybody seems to be able to get onboard with. Everybody want to be the George Bailey, they don’t want to be the big evil Wall St. bank but how do you actually scale that across an organization? Getting, even the management team on board, that sounds like a doable thing but how do you scale this across all the locations and all the people and actually get that culture change in motion?

Lisa: You put your finger on it. It is a culture change so one of the things you have to look at is, what are people talking about on a daily basis? Culture change does not happen overnight but it can happen. We’ve seen examples of this. I’ve seen it with our clients that we’ve worked with. The culture is what people believe about the business. What fuels that is what are people talking about the business? Let’s just go ahead and call out the elephant in the living room here which is what’s recently happened with Wells Fargo. I’m sure there’s a lot of very nice people that worked for Wells Fargo. Let’s look at what got measured on a daily basis. What got measured on a daily basis was cross-sell, nothing else.

What happens … what I always say is the internal conversation becomes the external conversation. If you want to change the culture, there’s nothing wrong with cross-selling. Cross-selling can be good for the customer if you alert the customer to additional services. What was not measured at Wells Fargo was customer impact, was customer satisfaction, was customer engagement. Maybe it is was measured somewhere but it’s not what people were assessed against. If you want to change a culture, one of the things you have to do is you have to start broadening the way you assess people. Cross-selling is one measure. Other measures like customer impact and customer satisfaction need to be an equal part of the conversation.

One of the questions people often ask me is, “Well, how do you measure that?” That’s a little bit harder to measure. You can go through and see what you’re doing in terms of revenue, you can see what you’re doing in terms of cross-selling but how do you measure customer impact? It is more qualitative and it is harder to measure but you can because we do it all the time. We do it in the fast food business. Chick-fil-A reads all the comment cards. I just worked with a large trucking company. We do it in that business by doing snapshots of different customers and interviewing them. The leaders need to ask themselves does what we’re measuring on a daily basis, is what’s talked about in the daily manager meetings, does that have anything to do with our purpose and customer impact? If the answer is no, then it’s just words, then you’re not going to be able to initiate that culture change.

Dallas: As we talk about 2017 and the topic, which is of course very closely related but kind of the next step in that process which is talking about how to build a strategy behind that purpose and using that culture as kind of the foundation but now how do we make sure that all the strategic decisions that we’re making are in line with that overall purpose? Can you give us a little glimpse into what that might look like?

Lisa: Yeah. I’m super excited about the 2017 Bank on Purpose conference because what I’m going to do is I’m going to take you through a couple of examples from a couple of clients of ours. I’ll give you a little snapshot now. This is just one really simple thing that one of our clients did. I have permission to share these because they’re in the new book, Leading with Noble Purpose. One of our clients is HootSuite and they are a software company and one of the things that they wanted to do when they engaged me was they wanted to increase the size, the average deal size is what they call it, and they wanted to work with more senior level executives. It would be really easy as a company like that to say, “Okay, we’re going to start measuring deal size. Okay, we’re going to start measuring how many appointments you can get with senior executives.”

That would be the traditional way to do it. We looked at those things. In addition to that, one of the things that we realized, one of the things, they’ve got a lot of competition and they can be very commoditized, so one of the things we realized was if they were going to get to more senior executives and they were going to sell the value of their software across a big organization, they needed to have a differentiated story. What we did was we combed through a lot of the customers that they’d worked with and we identified a couple of times where their software had made a big difference in the lives of customers and the customer’s business. We used those as our example story. We call them customer impact stories. You can tell it in 90 seconds or less, they show how you made a difference to a customer in real and tangible ways.

The stories also contain emotions. We had a couple of really good examples, what good looks like. Then we asked everyone who was in a customer-facing role to come up with their own stories. This is outlined in the book. We had some criteria that we evaluated on and we had a story. By the end of the 6 month period, every single one of their customer-facing people had become incredible skilled at being able to tell the HootSuite story. It wasn’t like our founder or this … it was a true story like how they helped people in hurricane Sandy. County governments were able to get to people. How they helped a mall with a lot of disparate retailers connect and create an ethos with consumers.

They had real stories about this and so the point I’m telling you this is, this is one example and I’m going to share a lot more where a company picked out one thing that was a little fuzzy, that was a little structure that was a little more qualitative but then we put metrics against it and now that company, in an 18 month period, we doubled the revenue. The revenue doubled, I mean, take that in. Revenue doubled in that 18 month period. You can see, it’s on our website, there’s the Chief Revenue Officer. It was tracking the deal size, tracking the senior level engagement and putting this skill in place that was true to their purpose because their purpose is we enable our customers to turn their messages into meaningful relationships. They enable customers to turn all their social media chatter into a meaningful relationship.

We have now stories that exemplify that and that’s how you create a culture. That becomes part of HootSuite’s DNA. Beforehand, they were all on fire and they were excited. They were a great company beforehand. What this did is it amped up what was somewhat unconscious and made it very conscious.

Dallas: Yeah, very front of mind. What we’re really excited about there is I think, if you were to pick any industry that should have great stories about how they impact their customers, the people around them in their communities, it should be banks so we’re excited about maybe helping them find a way to do a better job at that.

Lisa: That’s the thing. I mean I chose this Hootsuite example for a reason. This is software. Banking, banking is the underpinning. Your financial situation is next to your health and your loved ones, your financial situation has a more dramatic impact on your lifetime happiness or sadness than anything. But it’s not just consumer banking. It’s business banking. I mean banking is … I told you, my dad was a banker and banking is the backbone of any community. When you think about how to bring this sense of purpose to life, there’s all kinds of opportunities in banking. Unfortunately, for a lot of people it has become a transaction for customers and business banking, private wealth, all of that has become a transaction. It’s ironic because Starbucks has made coffee not just a transaction.

Dallas: Right.

Lisa: You know, if Starbucks can do this with coffee, if they can turn that into a meaningful experience, we ought to be able to do this in banking. We have pockets where people have done it. I don’t buy in to this notion that all bankers are evil, Wall St. bank … blah, blah, blah. The George Bailey, the only problem I have with that is that it kind of paints him as unsuccessful because the data actually tell us that. I mean, he was successful in his heart and he had friends and all that but the data actually tells us and that’s sort of the story out there in the market is that … not just in banking but in other businesses, if you really want to care about people you’re not going to make money. All the people with big money are Mr. Potter and they’re all mean.

Actually the data tells us otherwise.

Dallas: Yeah, you don’t have to choose between the two. Lisa, you mentioned there, your book. Would you like to give folks directions on where they can find more about that and other ways they can get in contact with you?

Lisa: Yeah. If you just Google “Noble Purpose,” you’ll find me. Both of my books are on Amazon. Leading with Noble Purpose and Selling with Noble Purpose. In Leading with Noble Purpose, I actually open with the story about my dad who unfortunately I lost last year and one of the things I really learned from him is that meaningful work and being a good boss is the linchpin of a happy life. You don’t have to choose between making money and making a difference. You don’t have to choose between being successful at work and being successful with your family. You’re a whole person. Your employees are whole people and the more you can bring that sense of purpose into your job, the more successful you’ll be and the happier you’ll be and so will your team.

Dallas: I think that’s the perfect spot to wrap it up Lisa. Thanks again. We really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Lisa: great. it was great to be with you and i cannot wait to see people at Bank on Purpose.

Dallas: Yeah, we’re really excited. as we said at the beginning, we’ve got a webinar series coming up where you can hear a little bit more from Lisa and I promise you, it’ll be worth your time. There’ll be more details on that at That’s October 18 and 19. Please sign up for that, again that’ll be well worth your time. If you can’t make those dates, we’ll get you the recordings as long as you get registered there. Thanks to everybody for taking the time to listen. If you like what you’ve been hearing, make sure to subscribe to the feed in iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. We’d love to get ratings and feedback on any of those platforms. Y9ou can always find more episodes as well as our show notes at Thanks for listening. Until next time, I’m Dallas Wells and you’ve been listening to The Purposeful Banker.

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