Leadership Matters: Know-it-alls not needed at the top

Executives can lead initiatives by relying on team expertise.

Having spent most of my career in the banking industry, joining Launch Federal Credit Union about 14 months ago was a new and exciting endeavor for me. I spent a great deal of time over the course of my banking career in operations, risk management and human resources. I was somewhat familiar with real estate lending, but had never worked on the consumer lending side of the business.

Launch FCU’s strategic plan includes 10 key processes that align to core competencies. Last year, the CEO established several process improvement teams, including a consumer lending PIT, to work on what we needed to do best. A major initiative for the consumer lending PIT was to increase consumer loan production. To ensure that those participating on these teams were “all-in,” the CEO asked me, as the chief operating officer, to lead this team. After all, he reasoned, the branches, HR, training and the call center all report to me, so I had a vested interest in ensuring this team’s success.

To say that I was apprehensive when the CEO asked me to lead this team would be an understatement. I had been with the credit union for less than two months and had no consumer lending experience. However, upon reflection, I realized that I had many years of leadership experience. And that experience has taught me that an effective leader need not be a subject matter expert to take on a challenge and bring out the best in people.


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