If I Were a Bank CEO... Vol. 5: Leading Like a New Coach

November 30, 2023

Carey Ransom

Carey Ransom is an SaaS entrepreneur, executive, investor and advisor, and has started, grown and/or led 8 B2B and consumer SaaS companies during startup and growth phases. He is currently the Managing Director of BankTech Ventures, a venture fund focused on compelling technologies for community banks, and founded and funded by leaders in the community bank ecosystem. Carey's 25-year career spans executive roles in product, marketing, business development, strategy and corporate development.

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If I were a bank CEO,

Vol. 5: Leading Like a New Coach

If I were a bank CEO, I’d lead the bank like the new coach of a football team.

As the new coach, I recognize that change is needed, and in this case, it’s a new strategy and approach to be competitive. The banks need to undergo digital transformation, much of which resembles implementing an entirely new playbook. Here are five key ideas:

  1. Create a Winning Game Plan (Digital Strategy): A successful football coach meticulously develops a game plan tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Similarly, as bank CEO, I’ll need to craft a comprehensive digital strategy that aligns with the institution's desired goals and capabilities. This includes leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences, streamline operations, and stay ahead of industry trends. Establishing a roadmap for adopting digital tools and platforms is crucial for long-term success. For more on how to get started, read our article on kicking off your innovation journey.
  2. Build a Solid Offense and Defense (Cybersecurity): In football, a strong offense and defense are fundamental for success. Likewise, as bank CEO I must prioritize both cybersecurity offense and defense. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures is crucial to protect customer data, financial transactions, and the bank's reputation. Educating employees and customers on cybersecurity best practices builds a proactive defense against potential threats, while investing in advanced technologies fortifies the bank's digital offense.
  3. Recruit Top Digital Talent (Team Building): A football team's success often hinges on recruiting skilled players who complement each other's strengths and hiring forward-thinking coaches to help with development and strategy implementation. Similarly, as bank CEO I need to assemble a team of top digital talent to drive the transformation. Hiring professionals with expertise in areas like data analytics, artificial intelligence, and digital marketing is essential. This team will foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning, ensuring the bank remains agile in the face of technological advancements.
  4. Train for Agility and Adaptability (Employee Training): Football teams train rigorously to adapt to various game scenarios. Likewise, as bank CEO, I must prioritize employee training to enhance digital literacy and adaptability. This includes providing ongoing training programs to help employees embrace new technologies and workflows. Investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives ensures that the bank's workforce remains agile in the rapidly changing digital landscape. 
  5. Play to Win: Embrace Change (Winning Culture): A winning football team embraces creativity and execution in its strategies and plays. Similarly, as bank CEO, I must foster a culture comfortable with change and motivated to win. Encouraging employees to think creatively, experiment with new ideas, and embrace a mindset of continuous improvement is vital. Celebrate successes and learning. Collaborate with fintech partners and stay informed about emerging technologies to ensure the bank remains at the forefront of industry innovation.

And just like the coach of a football team, ultimately the scoreboard reflects how successfully the new strategy is working. The goal is not only to compete, but to lead and win the banking game, staying ahead of the curve and better serving customers in the ever-evolving digital era.