CEO Spotlight: Interview with Robert Morton, Toronto Business Leader
With a commitment to client care paired with a strong background in the financial services industry, Robert Morton founded RLM Consulting, a strategy and operations consulting firm based in Toronto, to assist organizations with their business goals. During his 21 years at State Street Bank, he mentored, trained and managed a staff of 60 professionals.
He served in a range of senior levels at State Street Bank, eventually becoming the bank’s Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at State Street Canada. Most recently, Robert Morton spent 3 years with Home Capital Group Inc. and Home Trust, where he served as the firm’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Robert Morton says he sees RLM Consulting as an opportunity to provide over 20-plus years of knowledge in support of businesses’ biggest challenges, like performance improvement, transformation and cost reduction, among other areas.
Q: Tell us about some of the biggest challenges businesses face today and how you can help them overcome those challenges?
Robert Morton: In today’s economic climate, business leaders face a range of obstacles that might come their way. From shifting market trends and consumer expectations to technology advances and recruitment issues, it is nearly impossible for leaders to become an expert in every area of business. To ensure they create a successful, profitable and long-lasting brand, we provide hands-on finance consulting services in support of challenges such as performance improvement, transformation, cost reduction, change management and governance.
Q: In the business world, how could a consultant–an outsider–possibly know what’s best for a company that a founder may not realize?
Robert Morton: In my experience, there are many instances where it makes sense to hire an outside consultant–to the point where it could save a business from shutting its doors. Like in most of life’s cases, having an outsider’s perspective can shed new light and provide solutions to problems that executives at the company may not see themselves. We can become so entrenched in our processes that it becomes impossible to see how things could be done differently. Many times, a business needs a consultant to identify what is preventing them from overcoming obstacles.
Q: From an organizational perspective, change management ensures that new processes are adopted by the people who are affected. What do change management programs require to be successful?
Robert Morton: To effectively implement change there needs to be several key factors in place. First, there needs to be a clear case for change and that plan needs to be communicated to the staff – everyone from the CEO on down. Not everyone will be on board. Instead of relating the facts, it’s important to take time to listen to your people and empathize with the individuals who dislike the new way of operating. Once the changes are in place, there needs to be a system of rewards and consequences. For example, individuals who meet their objectives need to be rewarded appropriately and those who do not need to face consequences. It is also important to remember that it takes a great deal of time to change attitudes and behaviors, and so the process of change management will not happen overnight.
Q: In your opinion, why is it important to continuously broaden our leadership thinking and what are some of the ways to do so?
Robert Morton: I think anyone who is in a leadership position should make refining their skills a personal goal. If you want to become a better leader, you must be committed to continuously developing your attributes. Traditionally, this can include taking accredited education programs such as online or classroom training. It can also mean taking on a mentorship role, networking with other professionals outside of your realm or practicing mental and physical self-care. Management and leadership is a profession and should be cultivated just as you would with your career.
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