Building credibility at ANZ Bank – leaders must tell stories

Posted by Shawn Callahan - September 19, 2012
Filed in Business storytelling

I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Weatherston, the CIO of ANZ bank, today. She spoke at a business lunch about their new strategy and some of the important decisions her leadership group is making to support the bank’s focus on Asia.

To get the support of the business Anne felt that her technology group needed to build its credibility. To do this she recruited top technical experts for leadership roles with the mantra that “technology should be lead by technologists.”

Of course credibility is built in a number of ways. Most importantly we assess credibility by what someone does and the decisions they make. People are astute leader-watchers and assess character and expertise through what people do. Recruiting experts is a good strategy.

There are many times, however, when you can’t see the things people do and this is where storytelling comes into the picture. Anne’s technological leaders also need to share their experiences so others can judge those things people don’t get to see first hand and in the process build their credibility.

Anne said to me that IT people have a tendency to be factual and prefer to share their analysis and opinion before they will tell a story. IT folk are not alone. Most business people in my experience are similar. We just need to help them understand that storytelling is a skill we all have and they just need help to change a habit to convey some facts, analysis and opinions as experience.

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