How Velcro management works wonders for training

by Brett Henebery07 Aug 2017
Canadian banking organisation BlueShore Financial has seen a trajectory of impressive growth in recent years thanks to a number of unique training and management initiatives.

Chris Catliff, the company’s president & CEO, said that ten years ago, there were just a couple of certified financial planners (the company’s highest designation), but this number has now grown to 29.

“We’ve dramatically upgraded our skill level over that time, which of course provides more career opportunities. This also means fewer tellers and more financial planners,” he told HRD.

Catliff said that due to the dramatic change that this type of work has undergone, the company has utilised technology to deal with transactions and now automates much of its business.

To build its leaders, Catliff said the organisation is creating “dynamic networks and empowered teams” who coordinate and communicate “mostly in digital ways”.

“This is quite unique and powerful, but they’re constantly keeping in communication,” he said.

“We have values-driven leadership – we have to model all the desired behaviours at the top. If you’re in accounting, internal controls from accountants are just as critical at the top”.

Catliff uses what he calls “Velcro management” which involves pulling employees from one area and putting them in another where they perform cross-functional roles for a period of time.

“This means that we have all these different skillsets and if we need something done I just go and ‘Velcro them away’ and put them into another area,” he explained.

“We call that partnership over hierarchy. So we just don’t have those traditional hierarchical structures that concentrate leadership up a chain of command and into a few hands, we’ve got a flatter and more dynamic and flexible team based structure”.

Catliff said this is the “reality of digital work today” as it is mostly team-based.

“You have to have the young new leaders developing and gaining the experience where they can take what they’ve learned from school and new tech applications and kind of re-engineer how we do our work,” he said.

“They can’t do that unless they’re given the freedom and cover to do that”


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