The FCA’s recent paper on culture (DP 18/2; Transforming culture in financial services – March 2018) has put the spotlight on embedding the culture of an organisation at all levels, which begs the question of how to achieve that.  I’ve found that narratives can help to do this.

It’s a bit like using examples.  When you do that, abstract concepts spring to life; the account of your experience becomes credible; a flat theory becomes a three-dimensional realty.  By giving people a story, you give them something they can identify with, something that they can apply in their work and their interactions with clients and customers.  Ideally, you’ll give them a story that has space for them to slot in so the story becomes theirs too.

Setting the story and telling that story – the narration of the narrative – are critical and there are different ways to present it including some innovative ideas that I’ve come across in other industries and which could be invaluable in the financial services arena.  That said, the key points are:

  • Simplicity
  • Clarity in communication
  • Application and relevance to each person
  • Letting people run with the narrative to make it their own but …
  • … Ensuring consistency of the narrative as it’s presented across the organisation.


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