April 27, 2021 Dynamics of Blended Teams & Blowing Up Traditional Banking with Steve Whitty
What’s it really like when you’re blending teams and workforces together? On this episode of Uprisor, the Future of Work podcast, Topcoder VP Clinton Bonner dives into it with Steve Whitty. Steve is the Director of Wipro Digital, where he oversees many of Wipro’s customers’ largest digital initiatives, and has an angle towards banking and finance.
Clinton and Steve discuss:
- Team dynamics on big complicated programs
- Evolving old principles to new ways of working
- How to use on-demand talent to better serve the end customer
Enjoy the conversation and top highlights below.
Change Can be very Uncomfortable
Steve began his journey in digital transformation more than a decade ago, and specifically focused on digital transformation in the banking and financial industry. At the time, consumers were beginning to expect more digital services and a more unified, seamless experience across apps, platforms and banking accounts.
The digitization of banking and financial services is a great case study of large-scale transformation in an industry that’s highly regulated, typically traditional, and incredibly complex. Steve took valuable insights from his experience, including:
- Digitization will inevitably lead to conflict because it’s going to challenge norms and expectations within your business. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- One of the biggest roadblocks you’ll likely encounter, culture-wise, is moving from a measurement and analytics culture to an action-focused mindset.
- Accurate, actionable data and a willingness to collaborate across teams, departments and functions is indispensable for large-scale transformation.
“Changing that culture from measurement to actually doing something about it, was very uncomfortable. And that was a key learning in my own career of how to deal with conflict and manage those situations in a bit of a better way.” —Steve Whitty
Transformation Begins with Mindset
Steve has successfully blended traditional labor (FTEs) from Wipro with on-demand talent from Topcoder to accelerate banking projects. During his tenure, he’s worked with some of the major retail banks in the UK. His role is taking all the different components — the investors, bank executives, practice areas across Wipro, and freelancers from Topcoder (designers, data analysts, engineers, etc.) — and, in Steve’s own words, “smashing them together” to work effectively and drive outcomes for clients.
Often, Steve is working with hundreds of staff, which makes blending the teams and workforces a complex undertaking. He says the most important first step is making sure everyone is on the same page:
- Does everyone understand why they’re here?
- Are they aligned with what the business objectives and goals are?
- Is there a base level of knowledge shared across all staff?
And then, perhaps most crucially, are your team members willing to give up who they are in order to re-imagine their roles, their teams, and the business as a whole?
“Teams need to be willing to lose their identity. It’s less about whether you’re a design person or engineering person. It’s more about how you’re actually a valued asset on the team, and you have a clear scope of work and transparency of the vision of what we’re trying to do.” —Steve Whitty
No Matter What, It’s About Relationships
Steve says that navigating team management, and knowing how to keep teams working cohesively together, is an undersold skill for most leaders and project managers. Whether your entire staff is in-house but working remotely (as most companies are during the pandemic), or you’re contracting out work for freelancers and on-demand talent, you need to focus on relationships.
Thanks to Steve for sharing his insights on large-scale digitization and transformation, and how it all comes down to team culture and dynamics. For more tech stories centered on the Future of Work, check out the Uprisor podcast.
“Without an environment of collaboration and camaraderie, things will fall through the cracks. There isn’t ownership. In a world where everybody’s split up in a virtual working environment, you have to have that level of relationship building. Otherwise, you all fail.” —Steve Whitty