Embedding a distinctive culture through consistent leadership at a global bank

  • An organizational redesign led the bank to create a global leadership curriculum, to drive cultural change and achieve consistent leadership practice in all countries
  • 101 worldwide leadership training courses have been consolidated into just seven core topics
  • We are running five key programs, delivering over 12,000 delegate days in 37 global locations in the first year
  • Leaders are being equipped with a common set of skills, capabilities and behaviors enabling them to support the new values and to embed a distinctive culture

Having grown through acquisitions and repeated reorganizations, this global bank had evolved to become a diversified and siloed organization. With a lack of clearly articulated standards and values to guide everyday behavior, it had developed an ‘accidental’ culture, not one that had been deliberately defined. 

To address this, the bank has undertaken a fundamental global transformation of every aspect of its business. It has introduced new goals and new cultural values for its 140,000 employees and redesigned its rewards, control processes and cost management across its 75 business units.

Aware of the vital role that leadership plays in driving culture and organizational performance, the bank decided to create a global leadership curriculum - a common set of programs that will be delivered to achieve consistent leadership practice in all countries and divisions. Previously, the bank had provided 101 different leadership training courses worldwide.

The new leadership curriculum comprises seven core topics, each with associated programs covering the key leadership skills and capabilities needed across the organization.

At Hemsley Fraser, we are delivering five of these key programs in 37 global locations. Our programs cover issues such as leading and managing a high performing team, decision making, prioritising, delegating, judgement, resilience, self insight and emotional intelligence. The aim is to help the bank’s leaders to take a more holistic view of the impact of their decisions and to enable them to create a team environment that can support and sustain high performance. 

The programs are being delivered through a mix of one-to-one support, classroom training, virtual instructor-led training, action learning and coaching. Pilots for each program were initially undertaken in Egypt, France, India, South Africa, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.

In the first year, we’re delivering 335 programs, which equates to over 12,000 delegate days. Throughout the delivery, our global facilitators, project managers and client services co-ordinators will liaise closely to maintain a consistent approach and to share stories of best practice across the different regions.

For the bank, this development is one the main components of their people agenda. Equipping their leaders with the critical skills, capabilities and behaviors required to operate more effectively will create a common sense of purpose, support the new values and drive a more distinctive culture. In practical terms, it will also help leaders to answer the question: ‘What can I do every day to make a difference?’