Wipfli logo

Bank on Wipfli - Blog and Podcast


How you can develop effective change leadership

Feb 01, 2024
By: Jennifer Mackin
Financial Institutions

Expectations around leadership have shifted.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus was on strong leaders who could set a new course for their organization and communicate that clearly — all while working to address their people’s needs on a personal level.

Post-pandemic, the focus on those foundational qualities has relaxed, but while we may not be in an equal state of upheaval, changes haven’t stopped. Financial institutions are still grappling with economic uncertainty, a challenging labor market and navigating rapid technological advancements.

If your financial institution wants change leadership capable of helping your people adapt, you need to be intentional about how you develop your leaders.

Preparing your leaders for change

One core issue with helping leaders manage change is that financial institutions often lack connectivity between their leadership development and strategic planning. To develop leaders effectively, your institution should look at the specific changes your leaders should be prepared for and the skills they’ll need to adapt.

Here are five steps your organization can take to develop your leaders more effectively:

  1. Assess your strategy: Understand the capabilities your leadership will need to manage through upcoming changes and identify any gaps in their readiness.
  2. Create a development plan: Identify the training or coaching your leaders need to directly address those gaps.
  3. Develop your leaders: Commit to executing your development plans.
  4. Develop your people: Leadership should implement the same process with their direct reports, helping them identify gaps in their skills and develop those areas.
  5. Evaluate your progress: Monitor your progress with specific measures, such as engagement or how people are moving through their individual development plans.

All five steps should be practiced as a continuous process that you regularly evaluate.

The benefits of preparing for change

Adding strategic development for your leadership isn’t just about adapting effectively to changes; it’s also about achieving your overall strategy.

When your leadership development is aligned with your strategic plan, it benefits your organization through:

Maintaining alignment 

Alignment is crucial to getting your organization to execute your strategy. Everyone in your institution should know about larger initiatives and how they play a part in their day-to-day work. And leadership plays a crucial role in communicating that information.

Leaders should incorporate constant team development, including regular coaching and feedback. Building these relationships helps ensure that people remain on track with their goals and that those goals are aligned with your institution’s overall strategy.

Staying competitive

Competition has always been challenging for financial institutions, especially now that technology has allowed organizations to start competing more broadly.

Your people can be a vital differentiating factor between you and your competitors. And building stronger leaders is one of the most effective ways to help ensure that you can develop and retain high-performing staff.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli helps your leaders focus on what really matters in their role — people. We offer a wide range of coaching and training that can help your financial institution’s leadership develop the skills they need to manage through change effectively. Contact us to learn more about how we can help take your people further.

Sign up to receive additional financial institutions content in your inbox or continue reading:


Jennifer Mackin
View Profile
Bank on Wipfli blog
Subscribe to Bank on Wipfli - Blog and Podcast