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Revolut's ex-Singapore CEO points out problems with its culture

Much of Revolut's well publicised, high-pressure working environment is attributed to its global CEO, Nik Storonsky. However, a former senior executive from the fintech unicorn has recently weighed in on the culture, positing both the good and the bad of its five core tenets.

James Shanahan, formerly Revolut's CEO for Singapore, recently wrote a book (with the help of Chat-GPT 👀) detailing what makes Revolut's core values so effective. Within it is a description of the risks that could arise from devoutly following them.

Never Settle

Perhaps the most well known of Revolut's values, Never Settle lets us know that Revolut staff work hard... very hard. It's what makes its leavers such an attractive source of talent across fintech and finance. 

However, Never Settling has its downsides. Shanahan says aiming your ambitions too high can lead to burnout, resulting in "decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism and decreased work performance."

The Never Settlers can also display "over-optimism and unrealistic expectations."

Dream Team

Shanahan says Revolut's second core value is grounded in "the psychological concept of social identity theory." In fostering a team, individuals "derive a sense of self-worth" which results in "higher levels of employee engagement, commitment and satisfaction."

Shanahan says the big risk of the dream team is "the possibility of groupthink." And this can reduce innovation, hinder diversity (note Revolut's terrible  gender pay gap) and result in rigid standards. If the groupthink is all about extreme effort, then the downsides of Never Settle are back in play.  

Think Deeper

Another value grounded in psychology, Shanahan says Think Deeper is all ab out cognitive flexibility, "the ability to adapt and shift thinking in response to changing situations."

The most interesting risk suggested by Shanahan here was "analysis paralysis", where the relentless pursuit of the optimal solution can slow the process and reduce productivity.

Get It Done

Revolut has high expectations of its staff and established those expectations through setting goals. Shanahan says the prominence of agile methodologies in the company reinforces this.

However, Shanahan notes that results oriented strategies with "a focus on performance alone can lead to decreased learning and development" along with "increased stress and burnout."

Deliver Wow

Revolut's final core value focuses on prioritising customer satisfaction, which Shanahan says can create "increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and higher profits."

However, like Never Settle, Deliver Wow has some issues. They are mostly about overpromising and under delivering, both of which Shanhan says can harm customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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