June 6, 2023

How to Drive a Successful Business Transformation

Episode 200 of The Innovation Engine podcast.

Ready to be inspired by a transformation story that propelled a bank to new heights? In this discussion with Paul Cobban, we dig deep into the remarkable business transformation of DBS Bank under his leadership. 

DBS’ incredible journey saw the company go from having the reputation of being “D#mn Bloody Slow,” as Paul tells it, to becoming a digital powerhouse that regularly earns accolades for its digital experience and transformation. DBS was named “World’s Best Bank” by Global Finance 5 times, and it was hailed as one of Harvard Business Review’s top 10 business transformations of the last decade alongside innovation stalwarts Netflix, Amazon, and Adobe.

Paul also shares insights from the book he co-authored with Scott Anthony, Eat, Sleep, Innovate, which serves as a roadmap for companies and leaders looking to excel and equips them with the right mindset, tools, and habits.

In this episode, we dive deep into Paul’s insights and experiences, as he shares a wealth of knowledge from his transformation journey at DBS. From creating compelling visions of the future to fostering a culture of change and breaking complex problems into bite-sized chunks and the importance of building dedicated transformation teams, Paul provides valuable advice for leaders looking to drive successful transformation in their organizations.

Paul and host Scott Varho discuss the importance of intellectual humility, the ability to adapt and pivot, and the crucial role of C-level sponsorship in transformation journeys. Paul also shares practical advice for leaders facing skepticism and resistance and discusses managing those who are outwardly supportive but inwardly skeptical of change.

We also discuss the importance of clearly defining a future state, the significance of codifying changes and operationalizing successful experiments, and the key role of constant communication in DBS’s transformation.

Join us for this engaging conversation as we unravel the magic behind DBS’s transformation journey and gain valuable insights from Paul Cobban’s wealth of knowledge and experience.

Listen to Episode 200 of The Innovation Engine

Tune in to the full conversation with Paul Cobban below.

Episode Highlights

  • Key principles of successful business transformation
  • The significance of intellectual humility and CEO sponsorship
  • The importance of creating compelling visions of the future
  • Practical advice for managing skepticism and resistance
  • The role of internal communications in business transformation
  • The BEAN strategy and the example of MoJo for more effective meetings
  • DBS’ quest to become an “invisible bank” and their customer-centric approach
  • Challenges and learnings from DBS’ expansion into India


About The Innovation Engine

Since 2014, 3Pillar has published The Innovation Engine, a podcast that sees a wide range of innovation experts come on to discuss topics that include technology, leadership, and company culture. You can download and subscribe to The Innovation Engine on Apple Podcasts. You can also tune in via the podcast’s home on Spotify to listen online, via Android or iOS, or on any device supporting a mobile browser.