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Go See, Go Do: A Unique Problem-Solving Approach for the Banking Industry

Go See, Go Do: A Unique Problem-Solving Approach for the Banking Industry

“See for yourself” and “Do for yourself” are two-step discovery methods for truly understanding a process. These steps offer you a deep process knowledge and decision-making confidence to tackle tough problems head-on.  

First, Consider the Japanese Approach… 

Genchi Genbutsu is a Japanese concept that literally means “go and see for yourself.” It is a core principle of the Toyota Production System, which aims to eliminate waste and improve quality by observing the actual situation where work is done.  

By applying Genchi Genbutsu, managers and engineers can: 

  • Better understand problems and opportunities  
  • Develop effective solutions that are based on facts and data 
  • Build trust and communication between different levels of the organization 
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement 

Toyota folklore tells of engineers driving minivans to “see for themselves” what customers might want in the then new Toyota Previa minivan (1990).  

A “See for Yourself” Example in Banking 

A bank executive is keenly aware that monthly financials are habitually late, causing concern among the board of directors. She goes to “see for herself” – watching the people who perform the financial reporting process. She gains a better understanding of the problems facing the financial team. The financial team believes a manual GL ticketing process is causing the delays and recommends automation.  

However, there is one weakness to “go see for yourself”: it is still secondhand knowledge and subject to distortion, interpretation, and bias.  

Now, Experience the American Approach: Firsthand Analysis  

This is an American concept that means “do it yourself” and analyze with firsthand knowledge. Firsthand knowledge is the information that a person acquires directly from their own observation or experience, without relying on any other sources.  

Firsthand knowledge has taken on new importance in social media and investment banking because it is more reliable, accurate, and not typically subject to distortion, interpretation, or bias.  

However, there is one weakness to “do it yourself”: it focuses on details and misses the overall view. It’s the proverbial can’t see the forest for the trees.  

Chrysler folklore tells of its marketing team’s direct interaction with customers and dealers for “do it ourselves” discovery of customer desired features for the then new Dodge Caravan (1984).  

Why a Combined Approach Makes Sense in Banking 

Consider a combined approach. Perform “see for yourself” to witness process actors in action along with a “do it yourself” participation in the process. This will create a deep understanding of the process and its problems. Let’s take the example above and add the next step, “do it yourself.”  

Example continued, our bank executive sees the financial team’s concerns and believes the delays are being caused by the manual GL ticket process at the branch level. An expensive technical solution is recommended to solve the problem.  

She decides to “do it herself” and requests to spend a day working as a teller/bank manager to experience the manual GL ticketing process. Her experience gives her a deep understanding of the process. She realizes the manual process, although lengthy and a bit silly, is not causing the financial reporting delays. The problem lies in the financial team’s intake process.  

Identifying the Broken Process 

In conclusion, our executive now knows exactly where the process is broken based on “see for yourself” and “do for yourself”.

She confidently decides that: 

  • the financial team’s intake process must be corrected immediately 
  • automation of the tedious, costly manual process should be initiated once the intake problem is solved 

If “see for yourself” was the only step, the financial team’s automation recommendation would have automated a broken process making for an expensive failure. If “do it yourself” was the sole step, the intake problem would remain hidden and broken. This would have caused long term frustration and expense. Only by performing both do we see both the forest and the trees.  

I’ll close with a little history for you on the Toyota Previa…It was an expensive failure in the US market. After a short six years of production, it was discontinued, managing to sell fewer minivans during that timeframe than the annual sales of the Dodge Caravan. Despite being viewed as a superior product compared to the Dodge Caravan, the Previa, in many ways, fell short of meeting customer expectations. However, Toyota later addressed these issues with the introduction of the highly successful Toyota Sienna. 

I help bankers make more money by deciphering the elements that work collectively towards progress. And building a roadmap for successful execution. See how I can help revolutionize your organization.  

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