Banks lost billions of dollars in operational failures in the last few years. Reducing such losses in the future will come from banks changing the way they think about risk. Too often, people think of risk management that takes place in an obscure and arcane part of the firm. Firms that build a culture where all employees see risk management as part of their job responsibility and make that an integral part of the firm's culture can seize an important source of competitive advantage.
Seeing the Value of Your Contribution
The work of Adam Grant, the youngest tenured professor at Wharton School of Business, was profiled in the Sunday Times Magazine. The profile can be summarized in the following sentence: “The greatest untapped source of motivation is service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples' lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.”1 It may seem counterintuitive to argue that this is part of future success for investment banks, where as long as anyone can remember, “Greed is good”2 has been the path to success. However, in its broadest sense, what the statement is talking about rings true: Employees want meaning in their lives, so why not give it to them in the workplace?
Grant's research shows that when workers understand how their work can benefit others, they become more effective. An early piece of Grant's research ...