Press Release

New York Fed Releases New Podcast Series on Banking Culture Reform About Building Cultures of Curiosity and Learning

December 05, 2023

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today released the latest podcast season of “Bank Notes”, titled “Banking Culture Reform: Building Cultures of Curiosity and Learning”. This season examines topics raised during the New York Fed’s Governance and Culture Reform initiative’s (“Culture initiative”) 2023 conference. It is part of the New York Fed’s broader effort to foster the continued improvement of culture and conduct in the financial services industry.

The four-episode series focuses on the techniques firms can use to cultivate cultures that are inquisitive and surface the mistakes, motivations, and behaviors that hinder optimal performance and progress towards stronger and healthier organizational cultures.

The series explores strategic tools and exercises like pre- and post-mortems, and after-action reviews, which help teams anticipate outcomes and reflect on decision-making processes and their impacts. This season features interviews with thought and industry leaders with expertise in financial services, behavioral science, ethics, and organizational psychology.

The four podcast episodes cover:

Episode 1: “Success Through Failure: The Pre Mortem Method”
Cognitive psychologist Gary Klein has spent his career examining how decisions get made across real-world scenarios. He is well-known for creating the PreMortem Method of Risk Assessment, a risk management exercise that helps project team members imagine potential problems upfront, rather than examining shortfalls in hindsight. This episode digs into the how and why of Klein’s pre-mortem practice, what differentiates it from other strategic tools, and the challenges of integrating a culture of curiosity into established ways of working.

Episode 2: “If No One Listens, No One Speaks”
How can organizations avoid reinforcing mistakes or bad behavior? Why is it crucial for upper management to understand the daily realities and social norms at a localized, team-by-team level? And how might removing the pressure surrounding results actually lead to better outcomes, including meaningful systemic improvements? In this episode, behavioral risk expert Wieke Scholten walks through the ins-and-outs of turning negative events into positive opportunities for learning.

Episode 3: How to Fix What’s Not (Yet) Broken”
In this episode, behavioral science experts Michael Hallsworth and Scott Young of the Behavioural Insights Team discuss why it is important for organizations to examine their operational frameworks and systems, in order to better assess how established processes and environments may be impacting the work of their employees. They also share recommendations for reducing the overconfidence bias, overcoming entrenched ways of thinking, and fostering a culture of transparency.

Episode 4: “When Mistakes Are Inevitable, But Not an Option”
In a high stakes environment where mistakes can be catastrophic, how can an organization plan for human error? When does shared expertise within a group prove most valuable, and when might it make more sense to foster cognitive diversity? Why do some after-action reviews successfully establish a consensus-driven vision forward, while others stir up feelings of shame, blame, and guilt? In this episode Preston B. Cline, co-founder and Director of Research at the Mission Critical Team Institute, shares observations and best practices from working with teams in immersive, all-consuming environments where the margin for error is near zero.

To learn more about the New York Fed’s Governance and Culture Reform initiative, visit our website, which features events, speeches, case studies from the Education and Industry Forum on Financial Services Culture, and other resources related to the study of conduct and culture in the financial services industry. This series of “Bank Notes” is the third to focus on culture. Previous seasons are available for streaming here.

Shelley Pitterson
(917) 698-0510
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