Thanks to Sue Davies for the loan of this book. Read in less than a week which is totally unusual for me! What a great read. Inspiring and humble.
She is open and honest about her challenges, but more importantly her vision and clarity of what was needed to change the banks is inspirational and exceptionally perceptive. Every CEO needs to have spent time in front line customer situations, without that experience business is too inwardly focused.
Her grasp of the challenges for bank tellers led her to restructure the banks to be centred around the customer and not the internal needs of business. Trust is king and you cannot build trust with your customers if you don’t listen.
In her book Gail quoted “I really battled to have commonsense changes imbedded. I encountered lots of ‘Yes, Minister’ behaviour with the team hoping my attention would move to other things and their lives would return to normal.
In my experience too often leaders are too busy “spraying the next initiative” to follow up and employees become fatigued and realise that they are better to lie low. Persistence in the same goal is uncommon, as when there is not gratification in an outcome, execs move on. The difference with Gail was it was imbedded in her personal values, she was never going to move on, until the customer was served in the way she needed them to be.
I loved Gails honesty about dropping the ball on a number of issues, just because she did not have the bandwidth to manage. Her openness is very refreshing and for anyone who is juggling a lot of conflicting priorities it is not surprising.
Her husband Allan was a rock, but also someone who encouraged Gail to step up with every opportunity and did his fair share around the home.
This is a book that inspires, in spite of Gail’s upbringing in South Africa during apartheid, she has tremendous humility and ability to seek out the truth. She never stops learning and that is something that is important to me today. A must read, regardless of you career, there are so many important life lessons in this brilliant read.