As I’ve written time and again, in our industry, we tend to remain stuck in our Banker hat and never remember we are wearing the Consumer one as well. No understanding of empathy. No comprehension of why it should matter.
My kid is 7. Everyone’s brood is their dynamo for accomplishing anything and mine is no exception – gaining his approval gets me out of bed at the crack of dawn and sadly, he has a raised bar in terms of what it takes to be impressed with his mum – gone are the days when he would have been tickled pink by a webinar or a radio interview, since the book was published he expects uber-excellence which is equal parts exhausting and insanely motivating.
Funnier still, he has gotten it into his head that Emotional Banking is the equivalent of a corner shop or a property portfolio in terms of being a family business which is to be passed down through generations and often speaks about growing up and taking over “once mum passes away, of course”. No matter what I’ve tried in the way of expressing the difference between a boutique consultancy born out of burning passion and a trucking company, he won’t have it, so he is firmly the next heir of the Culture meets CX exploration which probably means I should sharpishly introduce him to some of our leads to ensure his pipeline is sustainable considering the speed of some of the banks we’re trying to change.
Now here’s the kicker – I wish I could tell him “to get into something else” like any good parent who hears their progeny express interest in their firmly vocational career but if I’m honest nothing else makes any better sense.
This ailment of not encouraging “the feels” is for once, not one that is exclusive to banking and can be seen in other industries as well but in ours, maybe more so because the lack of mobility meant lack of dedication to become a brand and investigate humanity, it already hurts us in terms of how we relate to our consumers.
I put it to us all that letting our kids spend 20+ years in school learning all of the hard facts and none of the tools to deal with the soft, fluffy bits is at best, irresponsible.
It may be, by and large too late for us. Few bankers will turn their outlook around and be able to overcome the stigma of “getting in touch with one’s feelings” not being exclusively a female enterprise reserved for non-professional settings.
That one empathy workshop done mostly to get out of the office is sorely insufficient and a much larger scale paradigm shift would be necessary to bring emotions to the forefront, from the generations in banks today who have been conditioned to perpetuate this charade of measuring success by using code business language based on scant numbers and data but while it may be too late for us, it’s high time we examined what skills we empower our kids with.
Out of sheer love for our kids we have to open the urgent and uncomfortable dialogue of how to best stop doing the robot and start doing the human instead.