When Sean joined RMB Private Bank, the organisation was going through rapid, major changes due to a merger. Additionally, their competitor had, for years, sat on the top spot as the best private bank in South Africa. RMB was always at number two. Sean figured it was time to change that.

Calling in Schuitema, the two companies worked together to draw up a strategy to facilitate the changes. And the end results? RMB Private Bank took that coveted first place. According to the proud former CEO,

We needed to throw more money at Schuitema, despite the financial crisis of 2008.”



2nd Best Private Bank

RMB’s competitor had always been #1 in private banking in South Africa. This was a huge sore point for RMB which remained at #2 despite all the growth they had. The huge ads released by the competitor never failed to highlight this fact, year in year out.

Inexperienced Leadership

The merger and rebranding that RMB had led to a rapid growth and change at a cost. Several people were put into positions of power before their time, and even though many of the new leaders were skilled in banking, they did not know much about leading businesses.

Lack of Employee Engagement

Employees in RMB were highly qualified and skilled, and headhunters were regularly phoning in to entice them to work for competitors. The organisation that was able to offer the best value proposition (and the most expensive package) usually would win over all the best bankers in the field.




Organisational Strategy

  • Care & Growth training workshops were conducted for all leaders in RMB
  • Many leaders attended at least 3-4 of the workshops
  • Leadership Forums were conducted at least 8 times, where 70-80 of the top leaders in RMB and Schuitema Group consultants got together to work on Care & Growth
  • A unique “Lite” model of Care & Growth was rolled out to all the staff, where it was made clear to them that the manager was there for them, and that his/her presence was not to control, but to care and grow them

“By the third or fourth monthly mentoring sessions, people would come to us and say: “I need to check when my Schuitema session is.””

– Cilette Harris, former HR Director of RMB Private Bank

Individual Growth - schuitema group

Individual Attention

  • Leadership Diagnostic Surveys were conducted
  • Schuitema Group consultants did 1-1 mentoring with 40-50 RMB Leaders
  • The Schuitema Personal Excellence Course was conducted with the leaders
  • The Performance Appraisal templates were modified to measure Care & Growth components



#1 Private Bank in SA

Upon implementing the new strategies and focus in line with Care & Growth, RMB Private Bank finally toppled their competitors and claim the #1 spot as the Best Private Bank in South Africa.

Strong Leadership

The key people in the organisation changed their views on team success, focusing on growth and extracting value instead of controlling and suppressing talent. Divisions with leaders embracing Care & Growth flourished.

Increased Employee Engagement

Top talent chose to remain in the organisation due to the overall improvement in the employee engagement. Thanks to Care & Growth foundations, there was a collaborative environment, and people felt more recognised than before. This led to increased individual contributions and an overall improvement in company culture.


Sean Farrell, Former CEO of RMB Private Bank

“An article in the Times of Britain stressed the importance of employee engagement to the UK economy in terms of performance and productivity. Research has shown an irrefutable link between effective employee engagement, business success, and customer satisfaction.

To really bring about a shift in employee engagement, the research showed that  CEOs and top teams need to show employees that they care, and that what they do at work is really worthwhile. Fundamentally, Care & Growth revolves around employee engagement [and the results, as we have seen, speak for themselves].

I also highly recommend that everybody attend the Personal Excellence course, which RMB embarked aggresively upon. It changed the way I see the world fundametally, from being a hard-nosed accountant driven by numbers. It was one of the most increadible experiences of my life.

The key people around me who went for the course came back with a different view about the success of any team being around growing everybody in the team and extracting value from them as opposed to keeping them down and controlling them. [When everybody grows, imagine what that does to an organisation’s growth?]

I left RMB Private Bank at its peak as I considered my work done, but the person who took after me was a command-and-control type of person, not a person of Care & Growth. Very quickly, the DNA of what we built changed, and the bulk of the management team all left. There were a lot of unhappy people, and RMB’s ranking went down to fifth – the worst it has ever been in its history.

And this is why, when I took over as CEO of RMB Private Bank, I felt that we needed to throw more money at Schuitema despite the world collapsing around us due to the 2008 financial crisis.”


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