Friday, November 11, 2011

Are Private Bankers Poor at Describing What They Do or Simply Just Anti-Social by Nature?

Last night I attended a private reception for Financial Services Professionals (FSP) specifically focused on private bankers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers et al and a few of the companies that service them. As I moved around the room I’d ask ...

Me: “What do you do?”

... to which I received the response either

FSP: “eh ... what do you mean?”

... or they proceeded to recite the entire glossy corporate brochure by heart. Every one was wearing name tags with their name and the company so you knew where they were from and unless you were a complete industry outsider (in which case you wouldn’t be at the reception anyway) you knew what the company did. So I’d ask again,

Me: “Yes, but what do YOU do?”

FSP: “eh ... what do you mean?”

... I remained tight lipped and allowed a pregnant pause to ensue ...

FSP: “eh ... well I’m a XYZ Manager” or  “I work in the XYZ department”

Me: “Let me ask it differently; what do ***YOU*** do that adds value to your clients?”

The majority of the responses to this were along the lines of ...

FSP: “What do I what?”

In all fairness there were the occasional good ones, possibly proving the 5% 95% rule.

For now forget the question about value though and go back to the original question, ‘what do you do?’. What I found amazing was that these people all seemed to identify themselves as part of a corporate machine that does ‘something’, as opposed to being able to articulate what it is that they do within that environment that differentiates them as a person, an expert in their field, or a professional who makes a difference.

Remember that this was an industry reception so there was no need to tell peers what their company does ... everyone in the room pretty much knew what each of the companies did. I would have thought it more important to tell your peers what makes you the big swinging dick of your company or your department, blow your own trumpet, beat your own drum, and don’t bore me to tears with your corporate slogans.

Certainly this type of reaction is not exclusive to the financial services industry; I have seen it at other more generic neworking events and receptions. What stood out for me on this occassion was the number of people who seemed firewalled from the reality that they work in a service industry and that their right to survive (at least should) depend(s) upon the value they bring to their clients. Clearly the financial services companies they all work for are not creating a work environment that fosters this understanding; or am I simply over-reacting?

Warmest regards,


About Paul J. Lange:
Paul J. Lange is a business mentor and business performance coach who helps small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurs to apply big business, enterprise disciplines and solutions to gain a competitive advantage and increase profits. 

Paul's 'Business DIET'© system has helped countless entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to launch start-ups, expand existing operations, and greatly improve bottom lines.

Paul is also one of Australia’s most connected management consultants, and leading business strategists, with a passion for helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners who are committed to achieving outstanding results.

Paul’s support will help you to develop strategic direction, implement it, execute and make more money. He will have you starting to work on your business, instead of in your business, right from day one; and if you have already started down this path, he will help you to complete the transition to business owner from business manager.

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