Wells Fargo
A reinvigorated, more innovation-driven culture

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Product development With Secil Tabli Watson EVP, Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo

“We knew that to truly become more customer-focused, we needed better ways of developing new products rooted in a more innovative and collaborative culture.”

Secil Tabli Watson EVP, Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo

Main challenges

  • The business wanted to bring products improvements out more quickly, but their organizational alignment and ways of working discouraged this.

  • Because of these challenges, ideas were slow to bring to life and a lack of collaboration between teams was stopping people from trying to get things off the ground.

  • Measures of success were focused on project milestones, timings and risk avoidance, rather than the project outcomes and positive impacts.

  • While the organization has always been very customer-focused, this way of working was affecting morale and satisfaction with a variety of stakeholders.

  • They knew they had to reach beyond product teams and influence their leaders to make an impactful change and a lasting difference.

How we worked together

  • People at all levels shared what they thought they needed to change as individuals and as teams to make the shift – identifying and owning the strategy for change.

  • They then took action – critically shifting their measures of success to more outcome-based ones for everything from yearly leadership objectives to product initiatives.

  • We tested the new strategy and ways of working in three pilot projects – one with executives and two with product teams – to discover which tools worked best in each context.

“We called our transformation initiative Move the Needle to remind ourselves that it’s not the launch or delivery of new products that’s critical – it’s empowering teams to experiment until they find the right ways to move towards our intended business and customer outcomes.”

Greg Hansen, SVP, Head of Wholesale Digital Solutions at Wells Fargo

The difference this made

  • People had confidence that this was something real and different because they saw leaders engaging with and modelling the change they wanted to bring about.

  • We developed and trialed a smaller, faster, safer way of experimenting with new ideas and delivering new products – a way of being more experimental without a huge increase in risk.

  • The teams involved are now more collaborative and connected – their work is reinforcing and expanding the shift in behaviors and systems.

  • The business is seeing a ripple effect – the new ways of working are quickly spreading to other initiatives.

  • Perhaps most tellingly, everyone wants in on the action – there’s a waiting list of people who want to join the program.

The key to our success

Building in bravery: we started from a place of engagement, openness and commitment – recognizing that it was going to take a concerted effort by various teams and levels to create real change.

“What changed? Now we set goals in terms of outcomes, not just outputs. We don’t just recognize the work we did, but its impact on our customers or business goals. We come up with hypotheses and test them with quick experiments before we jump into architecting solutions.”
Secil Tabli Watson
EVP, Head of Digital Solutions for Business at Wells Fargo

Curious about working with me?


I set time aside every other Tuesday for informal, no-strings conversations with like-minded people. There’s no need to prepare anything or email me beforehand (unless you want to). Just be ready to talk candidly about what you’re looking for, and why.