The government-owned State Bank of India has been around for 200 years. It’s incumbency guaranteed it a market share of around 35 percent, until the middle of the last decade when their dominance halved in the space of just two years.
The turnaround was just as spectacular. By 2010 it had returned to its previous market position, despite fierce competition from new entrants.
Harsh Shah, a client director at Vantage Performance, says the success was all down to O.P. Bhatt, the first chairman in the history of the bank to visit all branches. His key strength was his ability to listen to front line workers, hear their concerns and action changes to fix issues from the ground up.
“We have shown the elephant can dance,” Bhatt said of the transformation in a media interview in late 2010.
It’s an amazing tale that Harsh Shah explains to Phil Dobbie in this week’s Vantage Performance podcast. It’s a lesson to anyone who doubts the merits of listening to advice from the shop floor.