How Reframing Creates Innovation

When life circumstances force us to reframe our thinking, it also has a tendency to force innovation. What’s come out of COVID is all kinds of newness. It’s almost overwhelming. But we each have been doing things differently than we ever have before, either by necessity or by luck. In the most literal sense, that means we’re innovating in even our most basic work functions.

In a previous conversation with Casey, I talked about reframing the fabric of new relationships and shared a personal experience that deeply influenced how I thought about perspective, and how we’re so prone to going along with the underlying assumptions that we don’t challenge. As I’ve thought about that experience, I’ve realized how incredibly powerful it is when we stop and reframe the assumption. We can reset the entire puzzle.

Now, I wanted to dive deeper into other ways we’ve been pushed to reframe our perspective at Quontic.

One example that comes to mind is how we’ve reframed our approach to establish our company’s core values. Every company claims to have core values… But look closer. How many of those “core values” are the same across companies? There’s this deep assumption that “core values” are things like “honesty, integrity, teamwork, hard work, etc.” but those are shared values, and they’re core not just to all businesses, but also teams, families, churches, and nonprofits etc. When we set out to create ours, we did so from a perspective of creating something fundamentally unique to our business. So, we started by asking our employees. And where we ended up was not only specific to Quontic, but also completely authentic. That matters.

It’s funny, now that we’ve reframed our approach to core values, it seems like every conversation I have with someone outside of the bank, they always know Quontic’s four core values. That’s because they are unique—and isn’t that what you want?

Think about it this way: If a company is laying it all out in their core values, how much easier would it be for them to find the talent that is in alignment with those values? If you say, “This is who we are,” upfront, people will better understand and connect to the companies that have core values that align with their personal values.

Next, we made a decision to reframe what being a digital bank means. For many, that has meant going to a bunch of digital banking conferences to understand what kind of technology exists in the banking industry so they can incorporate it into how their community bank functions. At Quontic, we took a different tact—we started with a foundational education for all of our team members on a huge variety of technologies, not just the types pertinent to our specific bank. The idea behind giving all of our employees Bitcoin, for example, wasn’t necessarily to prepare our team to bank with Bitcoin. It’s the same reason we have a VR studio in our corporate offices. Again, we’re not doing anything with virtual reality, but we’re trying to expose our team to different and new tech, and let that influence their thinking about the technology we need and want for our customers.

So if you’re a small bank who’s serving small businesses who have been deeply impacted by COVID, I bet you’re wondering where to put your energy. Perhaps you’re thinking, “How can I help my small business customers?”

Well, if you ask that question without challenging your underlying assumptions, you’re likely to only try to solve that problem with the tools you already know you have. The problem with that is they might not be the right tools for that small business. Your goal as a bank is to help your small business customers succeed, and in particular, succeed with finances.

In the age of COVID, one of the most important things for many small businesses is moving to e-commerce. Perhaps, you as a bank, don’t currently do that… Most banks don’t help small businesses develop e-commerce channels. But you COULD do that. You could go understand Shopify, Square, or another e-commerce platform. Then, you could help your customers understand how to use e-commerce and how they can plug that website into the bank. In doing so, you may be helping them in the most profound and impactful way, which will create a long, loyal customer for you. But you’re never going to arrive at new ideas like that by staying in your unchallenged framework of being a bank. Instead, reframe your approach and ask, “How could I really help customers?” Use every tool at your disposal to do so, not just what you’ve always offered.

Honestly, I wish more banks would do that. If you’re serious about reframing your perspective, reach out to me, and let’s change this industry.

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