Introduction: I interviewed Micheal O Driscoll, Managing Director at FDC, Financial Services LTD. FDC is the Farm Development Co-op headquartered in Cork Ireland. It employs 300 people over 30 locations in Ireland.
Podcast episode summary: This episode was recorded as Ireland was moving out of lockdown as a result of Covid-19. Micheal shared how he and his team responded by being early adopters of technology and deciding early on that it was business as usual. We discussed what distinguishes FDC as a Financial Services service provider from some of the bigger players and how culture is so important to inculcate in the business. In addition, Micheal shared his passion for Epic Cycling, Triathlons and the fact that he has completed 5 full Iron man distance races.
Points made through the episode:
- Micheal joined FDC 25 years ago after a thorough grounding in Financial Services in London working for Grand met and Pall Mall Wealth Management.
- He joined FDC when it already had a well -established Agricultural consultancy business, started in 1973 by Jack Murphy. His role was to build out the financial Services business.
- He impressed on me that unlike other Financial Services businesses FDC supports the sustainability of inter-generational wealth management.
- Relationship Management is paramount to enduring relations.
- Give a service and Repeat-Repeat-Repeat
- Impact of Covid-19 on portfolio of clients was significant. FDC was quick to make sure it stayed in contact with everyone.
- Learnt how to navigate online quickly and FDC was lucky it had already moved to purchase technology to support all staff
- Communication was a challenge -FDC needed to learn how to communicate with each other internally first. A huge learning and it served to bust some myths about remote teamwork.
- Working from home in a structured way is possible even with the demands of home life.
- FDC learnt that capability of staff is such that staff can be trusted to work without supervision and deliver.
- FDC made material adjustments to its business and will continue to operate a blend of remote working and in office working post Covid-19
- Other benefits included getting a deeper insight into his own staff that ordinarily might not have proved possible.
- People will hide in plain sight and that is true whether you are working in or out of an office.
- FDC realised that they can meet future challenges with the talent of staff they possess.
- The digital journey for FDC and their clients has simply been accelerated and many myths and biases have been blown away.
- Magic Intimacy is what FDC aims for with its clients -The fintech of the world will always be a threat which underscores importance of a trustworthy brand and the service it provides.
- Management by control, order and exactness only goes so far and is insufficient if a company wants to grow.
- Micheal accepts that his earlier management style was too controlling, and he needed to learn how to trust and empower others
- Sport helped. He learnt quickly on some of his Epic cycling journeys to know when he had done enough and when he could allow someone else to take over the reigns
- He also learnt that a race across America is simply a large project broken down into portion sized segments. That meant everything was possible
- Self -doubt is a momentary faze.
- The race totalled 7 days, 2 hours and 70 mins or 24/7hr shifts
- Important to always remember to be in a learning environment -human behaviour is universal so key is to look out and observe trends and biases.
- FDC supports learning and is building an Academy in Cork – A centre for Graduate Training
- Micheal looks to industry for inspiration -he looks at the behavioural sciences and heuristics.
- He recommended “Nudge” as a simple text worth reading.
- FDC will continue to explore the digital world and AI for future trends.
- Important to stay relevant not only for your clients but for your employees as well.
- Resources: the following include the resources I alluded to in this episode
- Richard, H.Thaler Nudge Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness