Friday, December 11, 2015

Smart Manager- Retail Banking Decoded- A preview

This Chapter deals with introducing the reader towards the basic concept of Retail business and its impact on Retail Banking. It also lays the foundation of the book as to what are the areas that a grassroot banker needs to focus on in order to be a successful Retail Banker.

This section deals with understanding the meaning of Retail Banking. It will give an insight on the different aspects of Retail banking.

This section will create an understanding about the boom in retail sector. With the help of data and examples, the author has tried to create a foundation for the reader to understand why he should be focusing on this segment.

This section speaks about the fast changing environment of information technology and macroeconomic environment. How these aspects have affected the way banking is being done these days? How the trend of GDP and per capita income indicates towards the way in which business is off taking towards Retail.

This section creates an understanding as to why banks in particular should be focusing on retail. How the shifting of bank’s focus from class banking to mass banking has become mandatory in the current economic scenario. It talks of reforms in banking regarding Income recognition norms. How the pressure of nonperforming assets in the corporate sector is forcing the banks to rethink on its business strategy. How the shift of economy towards Service sector is changing the entire dynamics of banking. It emphasis on the competition, that every bank is bound to face with the onset of differentiated licensing policy and private bank licensing policy of the Government. Reading this chapter will make the reader realize that the basic survival of any bank today, depends on how well the Bank develops its Retail segment. Finally the chapter helps the reader identify ten challenges that a banker may face in Retail Banking.

The final section of this chapter sums up the basic rules that a banker needs to follow in order to be a successful Retail Banker. The rest of the book focuses on developing on these rules

This chapter deals with the various aspects of knowledge and information that a Banker needs to have handy in order to function effectively. Which are the areas where the Smart Banker needs to update himself on a regular basis in order to take a lead.

This section emphasizes on three basic areas where the retail banker needs to lay stress on. First, bankers are required to be updated on new products or services to support changing business demands as well as customer needs. Second, the rapidly changing field of Banking requires more sharing and analysis of information from multiple sources. An finally, growing regulatory demand require more rapid comprehension of what the areas of control are. It also focuses on understanding Bank's internal policies that guide in the different aspects of Banking.

This section introduces the reader to the concept of area profiling with respect to business opportunities and market risk. With the help of examples the author has tried to explain how the profiling can be done. Who would be the best source of market intelligence etc.

Here the importance is laid on understanding the internal mechanism of the Branch. How the manager needs to manage his/her time to be updated on all that is happening in the branch. The section also clearly clarifies in few simple steps what the manager can do in order to understand the business/manpower profile of the branch. It also links knowledge with the leadership trait of a successful manager, thereby holistically approaching the aspects and importance of Knowledge management at the same time.

Technology is the most important driver of business today. This section gives an insight to the reader about the role technology plays in banking and how simple technology related training can help him/ her gain advantage. Certain aspects of technology are organization related. Most of the time it is seen that the technology infrastructure remains underutilized. This section tells the reader what he can do at his level to ensure optimum usage of technology made available to him. This will ultimately lead to increase in the profitability of the branch.

Here the reader is made aware of the fact that the economy is in a dynamic state. Changes keep happening very frequently with respect to policies, regulations etc. What are the specific areas that the banker needs to focus on instead of  getting lost in the plethora of information available.

Every Bank is guided by its own rules and policies based on the guidelines of RBI and Government of India. Thorough knowledge and understanding of the policies is mandatory for all Bankers. Any Violation would jeapordise the career of the banker in addition to creating risk for the Bank. This final section creates awareness on this aspect and also highlights the policies which every banker should read on a regular basis.

This chapter deals with the most important aspect for any business, that is the “Customer”. It start from Lead creation to lead conversion and finally to customer retention.

This section creates an understanding of the importance of Empathy on customer service. It also highlights the various expectations of a customer while dealing with banks in particular. Banking being a specialized field is different from other retail services, hence the understanding too has to be different. This section highlights the specific expectations from the banking industry.

This section highlights the shift from product centric model of business to customer centric model of business in Banking. With the help of examples, this difference is brought out clearly for the reader to understand how his approach should be. This section further emphasizes on CRM ( Customer Relationship Management). How CRM as a tool helps the Bank to create value addition for the customer as well as initiates the customer to a higher level of delight.

Customer is always right..So goes the maxim. Many bankers feel that this statement is a bit over rated. But as research proves, it is the perception of a customer that makes of kills a business. This section creates an understanding on this principle. It takes the reader through understanding the basic concepts of RATER model of service excellence. How a customer perceives the bank through this model. This section will help in understanding the perception of the customer in a very effective manner covering all aspects of customer service.

This section deals with Customer dialogue. The way a banker communicated with the customer in the earlier days is in contrast with the present day communication system and the banker has to adapt to this change. Effective communication is the fundamental basis for the success of any business. This section helps the reader develop his skills as a good communicator with respect to when and how a dialogue is initiated leading to how this dialogue should be continued in order to convert the leads.

This section deals with the management of customer flow. The reader gets an idea on various methods of managing large inflow of customers. How analysis of customer flow can help the banker to manage the inflow in a more effective manner. This section also helps the reader in understanding the concept of LAYOUT can be integrated with the flow of customer so that the perceived waiting period is brought down to zero. On the other hand the actual waiting period can give the opportunity for merchandising the products or taking feedback for improving the customer service. 

This section primarily deals with lead generation and lead conversion. The reader through this section can understand the nuances of generating leads and develop skills for converting these leads into business opportunities.

This chapter basically talks about managing manpower resources. What are the areas where the Manager can smartly extract optimum contribution from team members by managing conflict, coaching/ Mentoring etc. It also covers the basic concepts of Personal grooming and Business etiquette.

This section focuses on the area of personal grooming. It makes the reader understand the importance of proper grooming. How dressing and accessories can help create a positive brand image for the organization. Basic tips for ladies and gentlemen are pointed out separately to create an exhaustive understanding.

This chapter deals with meaning and importance of business etiquette. Different etiquettes for superiors, subordinates and clients is given out separately for the reader’s understanding.

This section deals with participative management. The importance and benefits of working in a team. How the team is empowered by delegation. The qualities that a leader needs to develop in order to make participative management more effective. The process of participative management.

This sections deals with Discipline management. How this can be used as a tool of management. What are the different types of conduct based and performance based violations. What are the different alternatives available to the bank for resolving these issues.

This section talks about employee counselling. Identifying when counseling is required and how it can be done.

The final chapter deals with the aspect that is the ultimate target for any business ie. PROFIT.

This section introduces the reader to the concept of Profit Centre. Identifying the profit centres of the area where the branch functions and profiling the area so as to link the right product with the right consumer.  Focussing on the demand of an identified group leads to optimum utilization of resources. That is the message the chapter intends to convey.

This section deals with innovation. How you need to constantly innovate in order to remain in the market and take a lead. What are the areas in which you need to innovate. The focus is on innovating on customer experience areas. Deals with Service innovation, Channel Innovation,Innovation in internal processes and innovation in societal Impact.

Ethics is considered to be a very important element. This section deals with business ethics. Why is ethics important. What are the ethical ways for a banker? How to identify an ethical practice from an unethical one?

This section deals with change management with respect Banking in particular. A detailed discussion on change will give clarity to this concept. Why change is relevant. How can it be made acceptable to the team.

The importance of Goal Setting is important for any organisation. Why Goal setting is important for a Bank. What are the different steps to be followed for setting goals. How strategy is formed to achieve these goals. What are the ways through which the manager can ensure that these goals are achieved?
The book is available on most of the e comm platforms including Amazon, Flipkart etc.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dream in a Dream

It was one of those terribly busy week at work. I wanted to get away from the rut. Take a break and come back. I had submitted this concept paper and it went through well with the management. I was to submit the roadmap and it was to be rolled out in a month or so. The presentation went off successfully. I was very pleased with myself. Months of hard work had paid off. But suddenly I am gripped with this terrible bout of  panic. I feel breathless just thinking of the magnanimity of the project. Thirty nine thousand people were to be trained in twelve months. Just the thought of it crunched my gut harder.
This stressful week was just having the best of me. As a life saver an old friend was in town and we planned a family evening out. We went for a movie and then had dinner at a cosy place. Just as we were leaving the place, this friend said, “ Remember we were here with your Dad”. Those seven words pierced through my heart and my heart sank. Yes, we were there with my mom and dad and we watched ‘Gunday’. A terribly loud movie though. My panic left my gut so fast that I could actually feel it leave. But then it was replaced with extreme sadness. The last time that I saw Dad was in Kolkata in April 14, I went to his room to touch his feet and say goodbye before catching my flight back to Mumbai. Mom and Dad were with me for the last four months. I wanted them to stay with me. But he insisted on going back just for setting his small but very dear house in place. He was to be back in a couple of months so he left most of his stuff back in my place. I went to his room and touched his feet. He put his hand on my head. He knew I was not happy with his going back. I didn’t say anything. But he heard what I had left unsaid. He in his strong and assertive voice said, ‘Don’t worry, I will be back very soon’. These were the last words that I saw him speak.  He left for Tinsukia the same day.
I knew my father would not have lied to him. He would come back. But everytime I called him he would have some excuse for delaying. Two months became six months. One day Iput my foot down and booked the tickets for Dibrugarh and called him up to tell him to be mentally prepared as I was coming to bring them along. He handed over the phone to mom without answering and as I was told later he told mom to ask me not to pressurize him. My flight was booked for 18th of Dec and on the 2nd I get a call from my sister that he is gone. Gone with the wind for ever. His favourite movie. I felt a part of my heart leave my body. The remaining part was under the grip of a vice. It was crunching me it was wrenching me, it was shaking me. I could not breathe. I felt I would die too. My daughter came running from the kitchen and looking at hear I burst. It was as if a dam had built up in those, I don’t know how many seconds. But it felt like a lifetime. I don’t know how I flew home to see what remained of him before they took him for his last journey.
Today it is six months since he left. Rather ditched me and left. I am angry with him for lying to me. All his life he taught virtues. Why did he have to leave in this manner. The last sentence that I saw him utter had to be a lie. Perhaps the first and the last lie. I never remember him ever lying other than his repeated promises of giving up drinking which he always broke. People say that the dead come in your sleep to visit you. But I had read too much of Psychology to believe in such stories. My sister and my mother would always tell me that they would dream about dad. I knew it was in their subconscious mind which manifested in their dreams. I wouldn’t comment in fear of my sister asking me to shut up and get lost with my lecture on psychology. But somewhere in my heart I felt bad as to why I never had a dream. Why he never came to visit me in my dreams and talk to me.
All these thoughts cross my mind. But the mind is a very strong manipulator. The crowd and the chaos of Mumbai shifted my focus and my mind was soon diverted into maneuvering the crowd. I got home and a glance to the clock on the wall made me realize it was eleven. I went off to bed and tried to sleep. But sleep was away. I opened my laptop and started working on it. By this time my  father’s thoughts had completely left my mind. It was twelve when I finally stopped working and oblivion to all went off to sleep. Soon I was fast asleep.
I started dreaming about the roadmap of implementing the project. I was talking to my boss about how to manage the whole show. How to delegate the implementation…..and all the nonsense that I was thinking about before going to bed. In that particular situation in the dream we were to catch a flight the next day, so I come home and go off to sleep. The alarm went off and I woke up. I went to my kitchen as usual to make my green tea. Suddenly I see a man standing there. A man with a very dark complexion bending over the counter. I see closely and he is dressing up a pan. I can also see the pan box that my father used. I am taken aback. Rather shocked as to how a man could have entered my kitchen. I snapped at him, “who the hell are you and how did you get in”. The man looks at me calmly. God…. He looks like baba, I mutter and step back. I can hear myself chocking and this time in a ruffled and hardly audible voice I repeat, “Who are you”. I can see it is Baba. But baba was never this dark. He was reasonably fair. Who is this man? How did he enter my house, looks comfortable here, looks like baba but he is dark…..very dark. What is wrong with him? As I mutter all these questions to myself, this man is is busy dressing the pan in that same calm demeanour. He puts the paan in his mouth and turns to me and says. I know your mother told you I am dead. I freeze. Oh my God, this is Baba. I cry out and run towards him and hug him tight. Tears rolling down my eyes, I cry out to him….Baba baba, why did you leave….why did you have to leave….you promised you would come back to Mumbai and live with me…..You said that you loved to be here. I wanted you baba. After you leaft I realized how much you have influenced my life. You had been a torture but you made me what I am today…….I go on and on… All the while he is stroking my head. Dad was never a physical person. He never hugged or stroked. But here he was hugging and stroking. Slowly my cries became my muttering. And soon I was only sobbing and telling him not to ever leave again.
He takes me back to the kitchen, opens the cupboard and points to the neatly stacked containers and says…. See I have put everything in order. You don’t have to worry about anything. It was my time and I had to go. Everybody has to go. I cry back, “Baba I don’t want anything in order, I would rather have everything messed up. I want you back”. He replies, “ I know how you feel. But I am gone now and I will have to leave, so you be strong, you are my first born and I made you a strong girl. I can’t be with you for ever”. By this time I realize that I am in a dream and I will wake up and he will be gone. I look towards him, “Can I hold your hand and sleep on your shoulder”. “Sure darling”, he says. I hold his hand. His hands are cold as ice. He sits on the ground, with his back rested on the wall. I rest my head on his shoulder still holding his hand. I am so much at peace with the feel of his touch. I soon fall asleep. There is a knock at the door and I wake up and find myself sleeping on the floor. I am out of my second dream and back to the first dream…..which now feels like real. I try to figure out what actually happened. I realize it was a dream.
I hear a beautiful music floating around. I feel good and light. The music is going on for too long, I suddenly realize. It has started irritating me. I shut my ears and shout, “stop it….stop it”. By this time I am wide awake. Actually awake! The music is the alarm in my phone. I sit on my bed. My pillow is wet and I realize that I had been crying in my sleep. I go to Chinky’s room to check on her. She is fast asleep. The kids these days….they will stay awake all night and sleep during day. Dad would have killed me had I done the same. I smile and go to the Almirah. I open it and see two rows of neatly stacked clothes which my mom had laid before leaving. I walk up to the kitchen. There is no one standing there bending over the counter dressing a paan. I make myself a cup of green tea with lemon and honey. While I sit on my favourite spot in the living room siping that refreshing cup of tea, I look at his garlanded picture looking at me in that same calm demeanour. I start wondering, why did I have this dream. Was it because I was thinking of him the previous evening. Perhaps it was. But for once I did not want to look for a scientific explanation. I wanted to believe in the mystic. I wanted to believe in that world of magic where the dead come to you and talk to you. Where you can actually feel their touch. I want to believe that he was here last night, talking to me, justifying his leaving.

I wonder…did he come to bid a final Goodbye. Well… my darling Baba, I will never let you bid a final Goodbye, nor will I bid you one. You will be with me…..always in my subconscious mind, so that whenever  I think of you, you will be compelled to come and see me in my dreams. And one day when I am done here and am with you…..i am going to tell you on your face, …..” YOU ARE A LIAR”. I will have gathered the courage by then, I hope.