Elliott: remaining optimistic through challenges

The past two years have been an enormous challenge for many. Learning to lead remotely – almost entirely remotely in some cases – has been a huge challenge for global corporate organisations.

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IIX’s Durreen Shahnaz (left) and ANZ’s Shayne Elliott

For ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott, spending time on the ground with staff, customers and the community is an important way to have a sense of the impact of his work – something he missed during the pandemic.

“Our job is to keep reminding people why we're here - this is what's important right now. I think that's inspiring and something to be very optimistic about.” – Shayne Elliott

I recently caught up with Shayne to discuss leading with defiant optimism, the new power balance in banking and safeguarding equality in technology.

You can listen to our conversation in the podcast below.

Under Shayne’s leadership, ANZ defined its purpose as “shaping a world where people and communities thrive”, something the CEO says helps him remain conscious of the bank’s impact and optimistic for the future.

“Our job is to keep reminding people why we're here - this is what's important right now. I think that's inspiring and something to be very optimistic about,” he says.

Shayne reflected on the democratisation of financial services and how building a better bank for customers has meant the power balance has now swung towards the customer – something he sees as a very good thing.

“It's not that long ago that if you wanted to borrow money from the bank… you'd have to go and pitch [yourself]. The bank had all the power,” he explains. “Now, the consumer has all the power and the banks are out there pitching ourselves to them!”

Shayne says this means consumers have the power to make decisions based on what types of values and policies they want to support and where they want to invest their money. Something the bank takes very seriously when thinking about topics like sustainability and diversity.

We agree. We see this in the investors who choose to invest in IIX and our mission to make finance work for the 99 per cent. 

Tech revolution

Of the various forms of revolution we're experiencing globally, arguably the largest is the tech transformation. Technology has the ability to be the great equaliser but only if opportunity is provided to people from all walks of life.

Shayne agrees but cautions the tech revolution is not without its own set of challenges and risks.

“We talk about technology today as if it's new but technology just means a tool,” he says. “We have always had technology [so] the challenge for banks is how do we participate in [the revolution] and embrace it and move forward?”

You can listen to my conversation with Shayne by clicking the podcast above.

Durreen Shahnaz is Founder and CEO of IIX

This podcast was taken from a recent Defiant Optimist virtual event titled Roadmap to 2030: Revolutionising Finance for a Sustainable Future and has been edited for length. You can watch the full conversation here.

Defiant Optimist is a webinar series by IIX that features leaders in finance and sustainable development. This is more than just a conversation between two people – it is a chance to dive deep into the stories of leaders who have the potential to reshape financial markets and make them work for the 99 per cent. Read more here.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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