Have you ever noticed that behind every hero there stands a sidekick? Someone who is happy to relinquish their place in the spotlight to let the hero shine, ready with advice, specialist insight or a witty comeback – in other words, the ultimate wingman. In financial services, we call this person a Responsible Manager (RM), and they’ve never been more crucial to helping organisations navigate the complex world of compliance.
Only the best of the best can be considered for RM status. They have a unique blend of specialist skills, knowledge and experience that enable them to complete their role. An RM must have a thorough understanding of the regulatory framework in which their business operates. They must possess relevant product and service qualifications and they require a minimum of 3 years’ practical experience in the field.
This combination of training and field work enables an RM to see what others may miss. For example, if certain parts of the business are failing to follow process, this could be a sign that there is disconnect between the regulatory requirements and business rules, and how they’ve been implemented within the organisation. Your RM can identify the obstacles, replot your course and help to train your staff to follow the new procedures.
A culture of responsibility
Creating and maintaining a culture of responsibility is very much in the RM’s remit. They recognise that a single pilot cannot steer the jet alone – there are countless people involved in ensuring the craft remains airborne, and in order for the mission to be a success, each person in the organisation must understand their role and take responsibility for their actions.
Building this culture of responsibility starts with establishing a vision and set of values for the business. These are used as a basis for measuring the impact of any and all decisions, no matter how high up the chain a person may rank. Next, each member of the team must be trained appropriately, so they are clear on the rules and standards that apply to not only them, but the business as a whole. Finally, all staff must know how to identify and report a problem, without fear of retribution. A culture of responsibility is one in which maverick behaviours must be called out and addressed.
In order to get the whole organisation to buy-in to a culture of responsibility, the RM must be able to communicate clearly and transparently. The best wingman understands that different situations require different approaches. When you’re in the midst of a dog fight, for example, there is no room for miscommunication or corporate ‘code’. Instructions must be clear and easy to follow.
In contrast, there are situations in which an RM must use their influence and negotiation skills to apply gentle pressure to achieve organisational change. This involves having a voice at the table where decisions are made. They will face challenges from other leaders as to what benefits the business the most. It is vital that the RM possesses the ability to negotiate an outcome that will ensure the organisation operates safely and compliantly, even if that means picking up a microphone and joining their pilot in a bar-based serenade.
Risks emerge without warning
From time to time, things go wrong in business. Risks emerge without warning, and you need eyes on the skies. This is particularly the case in finance, where risks take many forms, not just financial. You want someone you can trust to let you know when a small adjustment needs to be made or if evasive action is required to shake that MiG on your tail. Your RM is perfectly positioned to see what is going on in your organisation and the world in which you operate. They should be among the first to alert the organisation’s leaders to new regulations or requirements, as well as potential issues that have arisen internally due to a lapse in process or procedure. They can also help you implement change to address these risks.
So, ask yourself whether RMs have Top Gun status in your organisation? Are they qualified to be your organisation’s wingman? Your survival could depend upon it.
Our learning spans various role levels and industry sectors.We're here to help; if there is any training that you or your team needs, feel free to reach out and we will be happy to assist.