Ultimately, all banks are in the client service business. Their product, money, is the ultimate commodity in that its value is literally written on its face. While that can design new services, and enroll interesting partners, they ultimately win or lose based on the quality of their clients’ experiences. Citibank recruited, developed and has now named Jane Fraser as its next CEO to give them an advantage in that area.

Citi’s Michael Klein spent “several years” trying to get Fraser to join Citibank, finally succeeding in 2004. He did this not because of her experience at Goldman Sachs, Asesores Bursátiles, or McKinsey, not because of her Harvard MBA, but because of what she had learned researching and writing her book, “Race for the World: Strategies to Build a Great Global Firm.”

What she had learned was empathy.

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