The current news cycle has provided a timely reminder of why diversity is so important for a healthy society. It is also essential to operating a successful business, writes FAST CEO Brendan Wright.
As a business leader, I’m constantly looking for inspiration and new ideas outside the field of financial services. Being open-minded and willing to listen to different points of view helps me take a more informed approach to big decisions that impact the people and the business I lead.
Taking the time to step back and look beyond your sector allows you to gain perspective. Some of the greatest leaders have found inspiration in the most unlikely places. Not because of happenstance, but because they adopted a broad-minded attitude of acceptance, one that welcomed new experiences and a broad range of opportunities.
Ignorance and contempt are deadly for any business. They shut enterprise off from opportunity and keep what may have been a thriving, diverse organisation in the shadows.
Investigating new possibilities and making a commitment to ongoing learning are natural antidotes to ignorance.
For finance and mortgage brokers, insight and education has become an essential part of building a sustainable business in an industry that continues to evolve. Aggregators like FAST are committed to providing innovative strategies to keep brokers informed and challenged.
Why the podcast?
FAST is dedicated to helping businesses and the people who operate them grow and succeed. There are plenty of tools that can help, the strongest one in your kitbag is your own mind and sharpening your understanding through embracing and enabling diversity of thought.
We recently launched our own podcast series, Adjust the Contrast, which delves into the subject of “diversity” in various aspects of Australian life. From the sporting field to the sciences, this exciting series is designed to inspire all of us to consider what diversity means, and there are plenty of powerful takeaways for brokers wanting to take their business to the next level.
At an organisational level, diversity usually refers to the mix of people within a group. The benefits of this go far beyond the perception of a business as being inclusive and politically correct. Reducing diversity to these terms misses the point.
What diversity and inclusion really brings to a business is a variety of thought, differences of opinion, and a range of perspectives that can be harnessed to create a far more powerful solution.
Diversity of thought is critical for the success of any business – this is at the core of solving problems, identifying opportunities and delivering solutions for clients. Put simply, more minds are far better than one.
A culture of diverse thinking
To really add value to your business, you must first adopt a culture of diversity; one that allows different opinions and thoughts to be shared with equal measure and without bias. We talk about innovation as being necessary for any modern business, yet too often we ignore that diversity is a necessary driver of innovation. Diversity and inclusion is more than a discussion point, it can be a practical tool for managing risk and creating opportunity.
This is where the brainstorm can become a very effective way of promoting inclusivity within your business, which ultimately empowers your staff and lets them know that they too can add value to the company and its clients.
From a commercial point of view, a diverse broking business is one that has many strings in its bow. Supporting brokers who wish to diversify their business is one of FAST’s many strengths. Those that have managed to build out an offering that caters to both residential mortgage customers and SMEs are now benefitting from a resilient and commercially successful business model.
But this too requires a shift in mindset, new tools, capability and a willingness to embrace change.
We are living in increasingly uncertain times, and the past few months have been incredibly challenging. Self-reflection will be an important part of the recovery process as we all work together to rebuild the economy.
I encourage you all to adopt an open-minded approach to your business, to look beyond your immediate surroundings and see if there isn’t something to learn from a different point of view.
Brendan Wright has been the CEO of FAST (Finance & Systems Technology) since October 2012.
With extensive experience in the Australian financial services sector, this includes leading diverse and large distribution businesses across a range of customer segments, such as Business Banking, Retail Banking and Third Party Origination.
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