#DigitalBanking #CustomerCentricity / ‘We had the audacity to think big and execute on that bold vision’: Go ldman Sachs internal memo includes interview with outgoing head of consumer business, Harit Talwar

[Harit Talwar:] I joined because during the interview process itself, I fell in love with what I perceived to be the culture of Goldman Sachs. We’re not perfect, but we truly embody the spirit of One Goldman Sachs and believe in team work, excellence, and building an environment where the people bring the best of themselves to work every day.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your time here? … we built a modern consumer business inside a 150-year-old bank… Together as a team, we entered a new customer segment for Goldman Sachs, built new products, assembled new talent both from both within and outside the firm, and created a new modern digital platform… I’m also proud that we meaningfully extended the Goldman Sachs brand. The firm has arguably the best brand in financial services, and we have extended that to millions of mass affluent consumers…

… What are lessons that you learned in building a business? … There are many, but I’ll highlight four:
[1] … when you build a business, you begin with the customer – the north star of the business has to be addressing customer problems. As you know, even before launch, we spoke to more than 10,000 consumers to understand their pain points and how we can address them. We’ve used data, design, and engineering, along with competencies in risk management, marketing, operations, etc. – but the real magic is bringing all those capabilities together to make things simple, transparent, and valuable for consumers.
[2] … building modern businesses is not an opera, but a flash mob. In the opera you have a conductor who is directing talented individuals and they are all obediently listening. In a flash mob, you have talented dancers with a north star who come together in an agile way to build, innovate, and deliver more with every step… crisis management can be a great tool too. During the build phase, it seemed as if there was a crisis every week, and then we realized that as long as the crisis is new, it’s just a reflection of the progress you are making… As David Solomon says, progress, not perfection.
[3] … in today’s world, speed and therefore engineering architectural choices matter. You’ve got to achieve both building platforms at scale and having the ability to enhance them every few days…
[4] … people matter. The combination of talent, culture, and your operating model can be the strongest competitive moat…

What have you learned personally during your five years at Goldman Sachs? … This is the world’s best firm because of its people, culture, commitment to execution excellence, and risk management… And when we make mistakes, we are open, honest, and run towards solving problems, rather than shirking responsibility.

The Consumer business is still in its earliest days. What does the future look like? … It’s clear the future of consumer financial services is extreme customer centricity. Building platform that make customers lives easier across products and channels is the goal… five years from now the business will look different with more products, more customers, and more partnerships, but what will not change is the commitment to customer-centricity.