Teamwork is the surest way to success
- Hailing from a small village in Sindhuli, banker Bhuwan Kumar Dahal had always wanted to become a school teacher when young. A graduate in English and Economics, Dahal worked as a civil servant for several years before stumbling into the banking sector
Jan 2, 2017-Hailing from a small village in Sindhuli, banker Bhuwan Kumar Dahal had always wanted to become a school teachers when young. A graduate in English and Economics, Dahal worked as a civil servant for several years before stumbling into the banking sector with Nabil Bank. Joining there at an assistant level, he steadily climbed the ladder and left as the Assistant General Manager after 22 years. Now the CEO at Sanima Bank, Dahal is a vocal advocate for transparency and self-discipline. In his Interview with Post's Alisha Sijapati, he talks about his career, the value of teamwork and his management mantras. Excerpts:
Having dreamt of becoming an English teacher while young, what made you change your mind and join the civil service and then the corporate sector?
I was very young when I decided to become a teacher and contribute to my community in my own little way. At the time, I felt that being a teacher would bring pride and prestige. But after I completed my education, with a specialisation in Economics, I thought joining public service would be an equally commendable way to give back to the society. I worked with the government for two years but felt that my career was stalling. Fortunately, Nabil Bank, which was in its initial stages of establishment at the time, had some good opportunities which I grabbed at with eager hands. With time, my passion for banking grew and the rest, like they say, is history.
You left Nabil Bank after having worked there for more than two decades. How challenging was the transition to Sanima Bank?
Nabil is one of the oldest commercial banks in the country and moving to a new bank and taking up bigger responsibilities was definitely daunting. Three years ago, when I joined Sanima Bank, it was more like I had joined a start-up company. With the team I had, we made long term plans, set visions and missions for the company. We just followed the things we had planned on and, even after three years, everything is in line. Sanima Bank is still very young, and we have a very strong and vibrant young workforce who are passionate about their work, which is a huge advantage.
Sanima Bank is currently negotiating a merger. What are some of the obstacles you, as a CEO, have to be attuned to while absorbing employees from another organisation?
Yes, we are in the final process of acquiring a development bank. When two banks merge, it is natural that there will be some friction while the new staff adjusts to the new environment and working culture. I as the CEO need to ensure that the transition is smooth and that there are no feelings of either superiority or inferiority between the employees—in the end you are competing with yourself, for your own betterment. At Sanima we are extremely performance driven; so, although initially there might be adjustment problems, in the end your performance and drive will always shine through.
As a CEO of a commercial bank, what are some of the challenges that you have to negotiate with?
Being a CEO is not easy; you always have to be on your toes. Every profession has its own challenges and, for the position I hold, it is natural that I too have my own challenges and obstacles. The challenges vary from situation to situation—it could be managing a difficult or an important client, staff retention, discipline or addressing management issues. From the shareholders, customers to regulators—everyone has their own expectations, which I have to remain mindful of. I believe that transparency and good communication is the key to managing problems well. We at Sanima place high-value on transparency and teamwork which is a major factor in our continual growth and advancement.
What are the keys to managing a large workforce like Sanima’s?
I heavily emphasise on teamwork. If you don’t work in a team, any organisation is bound to fail. Every single employee needs to be responsible regarding their work. Teamwork is the surest way to success.
Many banks do not invest much in HR. Is it that they do not see HR as a capital?
Human Resource management is still evolving in the country, but we at Sanima Bank invest heavily on HR. For any organisation to become successful, they need to invest in its people. In fact, Sanima makes sure that the staff receives appraisals every year according to their performances. We give a lot of attention to the HR department. If the employees are well-paid and don’t have to worry about making ends meet, then they can focus on their work and they can devote their time and energy at work—and that, needless to say, is the best position to start from.
Banking sector is one of the industries where staff retention is very low. How does this impact an organisation?
The banking sector is expanding but there remains a chronic shortage of qualified candidates who can take on the higher positions in the corporate ladder. The root cause of this problem, I feel, is grooming. When the staff isn’t groomed well, it is a foregone conclusion that there will be problems eventually. Though we at Sanima Bank invest heavily in training and retaining our employees, there are gaps in the system still. It is, in fact, one of the biggest problems the industry is facing at the moment.
What, for you, are the best ways of keeping a team motivated and driven?
We are here because of our team. A team has to be strong and for that, the team captain needs to have several qualities: they should be fearless, fair and generous. If the leadership is strong, the rest will fall into place.
What are your management mantras?
My mantra is simple: Always stay disciplined.
Published: 02-01-2017 09:44
- banking sector