Banking on change: Transformation begins within

In the first of three exclusive excerpts from his new book, "Banking on Change", James Robert Lay pinpoints five behavioral characteristics critical to any institution's successful transformation, from empathy to adaptability.

What’s the big difference between organizations that succeed in achieving exponential growth and those that putter along only to eventually tire and retreat to the Cave of Complacency? Here’s the important distinction: true transformation of any kind begins within.

Transformation starts in the HEART (Honesty, Empathy, Adaptability, Responsiveness, Time), not the head, as you will soon learn. Transformation hinges on feelings. This is very much why transformational initiatives which start at the organizational level tend to struggle the most. The top-down approach leads to conflict among teams and individuals on those teams. But by flipping your approach and embracing the idea that true transformation begins within, you can leverage one of the greatest opportunities for achieving exponential growth in the Age of AI.


In our world of rapid, exponential change, honesty is essential to transformation.

One of the biggest lies I see financial brand leaders tell is about their knowledge (or lack of). Here’s what I mean: in this Age of AI where we’re constantly having to deal with and manage exponential change — new technologies, competitive threats, and changes in consumer behavior — one thing financial brand leaders hate to admit is that they don’t know or understand something. So they let their ego become the roadblock to maximizing the exponential growth potential of their teams. Or as Ryan Holiday puts it (in the title of his bestselling book), “ego is the enemy.” Honesty starts at the top, and when a leader has a knowledge gap, it should not be seen as a weakness but rather an opportunity for exponential growth.


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