At NatWest Group we’re all different, but we share the same purpose-led focus and values to truly champion potential. Our values are: Inclusive, Curious, Robust, Sustainable and Ambitious.
In our ‘Let’s talk values’ series, we profile colleagues who live and breathe our values. Read about our colleague Craig Phillips, who truly brings our ‘Ambitious’ value to life.
I throw my hat in the ring
Until recently, Craig, a Trainee Software Engineer in our Digital Distribution team, had never thought of himself as a particularly ambitious person.
“I don’t have a personal game plan. I’m not ambitious in the sense that I want to get on and earn bags of money,” he says.
But of course, it’s not the sharp-elbowed, target-driven ambition that features in our new set of values. It’s all about setting high standards for ourselves and for the organisation, to get outstanding results. It’s about stretching ourselves, and helping others to develop too.
Even the way Craig came to join us five years ago is revealing. At 26, he was working in the NHS and had a young family and a mortgage. But catching a speech by former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney made him realise he wanted to learn more about the world of finance.
“I started to read up on it and I came across an article about an investment company. It sounded interesting, and I decided I wanted to get into a job in that field,” he recalls.
He achieved that ambition when he joined his current team in Wealth, but was keen to stretch himself further.
He applied for, and earned, a place on Talent Academy – our colleague development programme - to benefit from specialist training and education sessions. And when the opportunity came to join our Junior Management Team (JMT) – set up to shadow and challenge the NatWest Group Board on key strategic outcomes – he jumped at that too.
JMT candidates had to present an initiative that would meet our values. Craig’s proposal was partly inspired by his own lack of financial acumen in his younger days.
“The UK’s financial literacy is among the lowest of the developed nations,” he points out. “I drew up a plan for how we could help address that, and increase knowledge of banking and investment among younger people.”
His ideas won him a seat on the JMT. He recently joined the first, virtual meeting of the team, which drew together 14 colleagues from across all areas of the bank. Their first task: to agree which of their personal initiatives should be taken forward.
Craig found the experience an eye-opener. “Rightly or wrongly, I’d assumed that the successful JMT applicants would all have fairly strong personalities and would be pushing for their own initiatives to be adopted,” he says.
“In fact, we all worked together, discussing all 14 ideas in turn and deciding which would work best.” Proof that ambition can be a truly collaborative quality.
Being on the JMT will represent another huge learning curve, but Craig won’t be keeping the lessons to himself. He’ll pass on useful learnings to his Investment Services colleagues. He also supports his colleagues’ development by sharing feedback gathered through the quality assurance part of his role.
And he’s not letting up on exploring other fields for himself. “I’m currently studying for an exam on financial crime, which isn’t directly relevant to my current role, but is another area that interests me. It’s also something that’s vital to understand, so we can protect our customers and keep the bank safe,” he says.
Increasingly hearing others describe him as ambitious, Craig is now coming round to the idea: “It’s true in the sense that when there’s a challenge, I throw my hat in the ring. And I’m always intrigued to find out about other teams and learn new things.”