Much is now written on the rise of “brand South Korea,” but the country’s financial institutions are still lagging. Chairman and CEO Pal-Seung Lee of the Woori Financial Group wants to change that. “Woori must become one of the top 10 financial institutions in Asia over the next decade.” This is a place that no South Korean company has yet held.
In a new case study released by the Columbia’s Center on Global Brand Leadership, Professors Hun-Joon Park, Dong-il Jung and Bernd Schmitt explore how South Korea’s Woori Finance Holdings Co. developed a strategy to cut costs, increase customer service quality and empower employees throughout the organization. This resulted in increased revenue production and lower overhead costs, helping drive Chairman Lee’s goal for Woori to be one of Asia’s top 10 financial institutes.
Woori Finance Holdings Co., Ltd. was formed in April 2001 when Hanvit Bank merged with several other smaller banks. It was the first and largest holdings group in South Korea, Woori Finance Holdings immediately realized that a more customer-centric business mindset was needed, but at the same time, cost savings were critical to success. In 2009, the global financial crisis pushed these priorities to the forefront of Woori Finance Holdings’ concerns, and so OneDo was born.
What began as a strategic cost reduction program quickly evolved into a way of thinking that soon embedded itself into the culture of Woori. OneDo was conceived to build the Woori Group into a “Strong Organization through Low Cost and High Efficiency.” The name OneDo encapsulates everything the initiative stands for. “One” emphasizes that the organization is one family, and is striving to be the top player in the industry. “Do” conveys a proactive and creative attitude; employees are encouraged to take responsibility and take action.
OneDo was created with four main principles that have driven growth within the company over the last four years:
- Ask questions — Find waste in day-to-day operations
- Change perspectives — Find causes of problems through shifting paradigms
- Gather ideas — Collect wisdom to solve problems
- Eliminate waste — Remove non-value-added work
Read the full study (.pdf) to learn more about how Woori’s Chairman & CEO, Mr. Pal-Seung Lee, used OneDo to harness the energy of his employees to drive Woori’s evolution into a global player in the finance industry.
BY MATTHEW QUINT AND ALENA CHIANG