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Two tribes … what about the analogues?

After talking about Tribe One, the Digital Gang, yesterday, who use words like:

  • Autonomous, intelligent and connected
  • Democratised, distributed and decentralised
  • Platform, ecosystem and open
  • Reliable, resilient and robust
  • Vulnerable, questionable and fragile
  • Environmental, sustainable and renewable

I’m moving on to Tribe Two today: the Analogue Gang.

These guys are all about face-to-face, over-the-table, eyeballing each other and being together. They also have their buckets of words and phrases which, as I categorised them, fell into these six buckets:



  • Challenge, resistance and introspection
  • Evolution, change and adaptation
  • Birth, death and marriage
  • Control, regulation and structure
  • People, management and leadership
  • Survival

Let’s look at these in the round.


Challenge, resistance and introspection

If I’m honest, the analogue gang are trying to cope with death. Death of their universe and reality, which is being replaced by a new digital universe and reality. The issue here is that many of the people running companies have not realised their business model is dead. How do you deal with death?

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Guilt
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance



Ring any bells?

And you may say I’m being callous equating a human death with the death of a business, but if you look at the five stages of grief, it applies to the loss of a company as much as the loss of a loved one. After all, many of us love our work as much as our life in general.


Evolution, change and adaptation

Once you accept that your old world of commerce is dead, you then move on, You evolve, change and adapt. That’s all good, but how are you evolving, changing and adapting? Charles Darwin has this lovely comment:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change”.

The question then is: are you changing in the right way?

Sure, you can adapt to change to the digital world, but what does that world look like? Do you understand it? Are you changing in the right way?

I ask this question often of management and leaders in analogue firms: how do you know you’re changing in the right way? My litmus test of the answer is whether they discuss everyone in the leadership team being committed and involve or whether they talk about their digital project with a Chief Digital Officer who has a team and a budget. I’m guessing you know which one will die … go back to paragraph one.



Birth, death and marriage

In reality, building on these themes of change and challenge, it’s really all about letting go. Let it go, let if go, can’t hold it back anymore. That sounds so simple, but letting go of the old way of doing business to embrace a new way of doing business is really hard. But think about it. When was your business born? If it was born on the internet, then that’s pretty good. If it was born on the smartphone, that’s even better. But if it was born before anyone knew what a computer was, it could die or already be dead. How do you know if you’re still alive and your heart is still beating?

Easiest way is to walk into the executive leadership meeting and ask: who here can explain machine learning to me?

If no one answers, you’re dead!



Control, regulation and structure

This is a hard one, as we are letting go of the old world and embracing a new world. We grieve for what we have lost and have to embrace what is new. It’s really hard. The hardest part of this is that the new doesn’t give a jot about the past. The new wants to ruin the past. The new wants to destroy the past. The past is passed.

This is the hardest thing, especially for those who have grown up with control, regulation and structure. Does it mean anything anymore? Does it matter anymore?

Most of you will probably say hell yeah, but look back. What did the world look like fifty years ago? A century ago? A millennia ago?

You’ve grown up laughing about how the old world looks so stupid, but think about your world today. It is also going to look stupid in fifty, a hundred or a thousand years. So, control, regulation and structure doesn’t matter. What matters is what you believe in.



People, management and leadership

Oh my, this is getting deep (if you delve into my links and song lyrics here), but the core message is about people. People. Humanity. You. And me.

How do we deal with each other as humans in a digital world? THAT is the core. THAT is the challenge. THAT is the biggest thing we are dealing with today.

It’s nothing about technology, digital, channels, services, engagement or such twaddle. It’s about who are you? How do I deal with you? How do I relate to you?

In fact, the bottom-line of all of our digital efforts is basically about helping people live their lives better. In the case of digital banking: how can we help our customers live their lives better through digital engagement and support?

That is the basic. Keep it real. Keep it happy.




Yea …


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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