Business Transformation: The Elephant That Danced

Harsh shah VP

Harsh Shah


The government-owned State Bank of India has been around for 200 years. It’s incumbency guaranteed it a market share of around 35 percent, until the middle of the last decade when their dominance halved in the space of just two years.

The turnaround was just as spectacular. By 2010 it had returned to its previous market position, despite fierce competition from new entrants.

Harsh Shah, a client director at Vantage Performance, says the success was all down to O.P. Bhatt, the first chairman in the history of the bank to visit all branches. His key strength was his ability to listen to front line workers, hear their concerns and action changes to fix issues from the ground up.

“We have shown the elephant can dance,” Bhatt said of the transformation in a media interview in late 2010.

It’s an amazing tale that Harsh Shah explains to Phil Dobbie in this week’s Vantage Performance podcast. It’s a lesson to anyone who doubts the merits of listening to advice from the shop floor.


Related Blogs

Talk directly
with our specialists
Michael Fingland
Andrew Birch VP

Call Michael Fingland Email View Michael Fingland on LinkedIn

Michael Fingland

My philosophy is that there is always a way to solve a crisis, as long as you’re engaged early enough.

Call Andrew Birch Email View Andrew Birch on LinkedIn

Andrew Birch

Cooperative leadership teams that develop prioritised actions to progress towards clear strategic objectives can achieve long-term business viability.