Migros Bank is one of Switzerland’s largest retail banks and part of Migros, Switzerland’s #1 in retail. The arrival of a new CEO after 17 years brought a transformational change of focus. Business results had been good, but the new CEO aimed to shift the organisational mindset – from one of mainly following efficient processes to get results, to one of prioritising leading a culture of innovation and human/customer centricity. Leading for Growth was designed to deliver this through leadership skills and client relationships.
Changing the organisational mindset has transformed and continues to change the bank. Internally people feel more empowered to change things and business unit silos have significantly reduced. Externally, thanks to their strategy of putting the customer first, Migros Bank has been recognised as Switzerland's most digital bank, and has grown to over one million clients after launching their very successful Cumulus credit card.
In 2023, Brandon Hall Group awarded the programme silver for ‘Best unique or innovative leadership programme'.
Migros Bank’s new CEO joined the organisation with a clear aim – to shift the bank’s organisational mindset from one of mainly following efficient processes to get results, to one of prioritising leading a culture of innovation and human/customer centricity.
The CEO and his Executive Committee recognised that leadership was essential for this change initiative to succeed. Leading for Growth was co-created with Impact to equip every leader in Migros Bank with the skills, experiences, and capabilities to create a strong, clear, and consistent leadership culture.
Leading for Growth had three primary goals that aligned with the bank's aspirations:
- Moving towards customer centricity instead of operational efficiency.
- Strengthening collaboration across service lines.
- Fostering innovation and agile ways of working rather than bureaucracy.
Leading for Growth is closely aligned to Migros Bank’s strategy and leadership model. Impact worked closely with key stakeholders during the solution mapping process to agree objectives and define a customised high-level design for the leadership programme. This started with the new model of leadership created by the Executive Committee, as well as utilising data and feedback on the gaps between the current reality of leadership at the bank and future expectations.
The programme was designed as a learning journey that progressed through three years. In the first year, the focus was on building awareness of leadership and the bank's leadership model. In the second year, the emphasis shifted to practical application of leadership tools and behaviours. In the third year, the goal was to create habits that would make leadership a daily part of life.
The programme included several innovative elements:
- Custom-designed for every leadership level: Every leader at the bank completes the programme to ensure consistent development and an understanding of the bank's leadership expectations.
- Design consultancy: Migros Bank use Impact as a design partner, but the delivery is done by a small group of specially trained external facilitators.
- Prioritising coaching: All leaders (except the most junior) receive a series of coaching sessions throughout the year, focusing on both developmental and daily business.
Leading for Growth has transformed the bank's approach to leadership and learning, producing transparent, transformational change across the organisation, both internally and externally.
Internally, the bank's leaders are more human-centric and encouraged to strengthen empowerment and innovation. Business unit silos and regional differences have also reduced. Leaders are using their new skills to shape the future of Migros Bank – by implementing the strategy, working on the system (not just in it), setting ambitious goals, managing performance, and retaining and developing their talent.
Externally, Migros Bank has been recognised as Switzerland’s most digital bank in an academic study by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. This is an accreditation that is unusual for a medium-sized organisation but is largely attributed to their strategy of putting the customer first. They have also grown to over one million clients after launching their very successful Cumulus credit card.
"The financial industry is changing rapidly, there are many disruptions knocking at our door. The shortage of professionals on the labor market not being the slightest, leaders need to interact humanly and use the power of swarm intelligence. To help us solve these problems we need to transform our business through leadership development. As we develop our leaders, we are also ready to tackle the challenges that are ahead of us, and to become more futureproof.
We have been partnering with Impact for three years. Together, we openly share the challenges that are ahead of us and how we can find new solutions to it. We use a variety of interventions, be it coaching, online sessions or behavioural development. Ultimately, leadership is about action. We discuss where our leaders are right now, what's needed next and ensure we measure our activity to continuously improve. We see clear improvement in terms of leadership capabilities within the organisation and through benchmarks. And our shared willingness to learn is both positive and promising."
Patrick Wolf, Head of Human Resources