Nov 15, 2020
Introduction: I interviewed Micheal O Driscoll,
Managing Director at FDC, Financial Services LTD. FDC is the Farm
Development Co-op headquartered in Cork Ireland. It employs 300
people over 30 locations in Ireland.
Podcast episode summary: This episode was
recorded as Ireland was moving out of lockdown as a result of
Covid-19. Micheal shared how he and his team responded by being
early adopters of technology and deciding early on that it was
business as usual. We discussed what distinguishes FDC as a
Financial Services service provider from some of the bigger players
and how culture is so important to inculcate in the business. In
addition, Micheal shared his passion for Epic Cycling, Triathlons
and the fact that he has completed 5 full Iron man distance
Points made through the episode:
- Micheal joined FDC 25 years ago after a thorough grounding in
Financial Services in London working for Grand met and Pall Mall
- He joined FDC when it already had a well -established
Agricultural consultancy business, started in 1973 by Jack Murphy.
His role was to build out the financial Services business.
- He impressed on me that unlike other Financial Services
businesses FDC supports the sustainability of inter-generational
- Relationship Management is paramount to enduring
- Give a service and Repeat-Repeat-Repeat
- Impact of Covid-19 on portfolio of clients was significant. FDC
was quick to make sure it stayed in contact with everyone.
- Learnt how to navigate online quickly and FDC was lucky it had
already moved to purchase technology to support all staff
- Communication was a challenge -FDC needed to learn how to
communicate with each other internally first. A huge learning and
it served to bust some myths about remote teamwork.
- Working from home in a structured way is possible even with the
demands of home life.
- FDC learnt that capability of staff is such that staff can be
trusted to work without supervision and deliver.
- FDC made material adjustments to its business and will continue
to operate a blend of remote working and in office working post
- Other benefits included getting a deeper insight into his own
staff that ordinarily might not have proved possible.
- People will hide in plain sight and that is true whether you
are working in or out of an office.
- FDC realised that they can meet future challenges with the
talent of staff they possess.
- The digital journey for FDC and their clients has simply been
accelerated and many myths and biases have been blown away.
- Magic Intimacy is what FDC aims for with its clients -The
fintech of the world will always be a threat which underscores
importance of a trustworthy brand and the service it provides.
- Management by control, order and exactness only goes so far and
is insufficient if a company wants to grow.
- Micheal accepts that his earlier management style was too
controlling, and he needed to learn how to trust and empower
- Sport helped. He learnt quickly on some of his Epic cycling
journeys to know when he had done enough and when he could allow
someone else to take over the reigns
- He also learnt that a race across America is simply a large
project broken down into portion sized segments. That meant
everything was possible
- Self -doubt is a momentary faze.
- The race totalled 7 days, 2 hours and 70 mins or 24/7hr
- Important to always remember to be in a learning environment
-human behaviour is universal so key is to look out and observe
trends and biases.
- FDC supports learning and is building an Academy in Cork – A
centre for Graduate Training
- Micheal looks to industry for inspiration -he looks at the
behavioural sciences and heuristics.
- He recommended “Nudge” as a simple text worth reading.
- FDC will continue to explore the digital world and AI for
- Important to stay relevant not only for your clients but for
your employees as well.
- Resources: the following include the resources
I alluded to in this episode
- Richard, H.Thaler Nudge Improving Decisions about Health,
Wealth and Happiness