NAFCU Journal January February 2022

42 THE NAFCU JOURNAL January–February 2022 In preparation for authoring a new book, I have spent the last several months interviewing top CEOs from around the world. As I stepped back and looked across the hundreds of pages of notes, a clear pattern has emerged of what the best CEOs focus on to build a world-class company. As with many of the ideas I put forward, these are not complex concepts. Instead, these are fundamental to success in any organization regardless of size or industry. Here are the four areas, in priority order. Employees First Every one of the CEOs understood that the success of their organization was completely dependent on the quality of the people that they could get, grow and keep on their team. Their hiring practices were rigorous, their onboarding process robust, and they focused obsessively on building a strong positive culture. Hubert Joly, the former CEO of Best Buy, said his number one priority was “unleashing human magic.” Some leaders think that culture is too ephemeral, or that it’s just something that naturally arises within the organization. This is not correct. Culture must be designed, managed and nurtured. To get buy-in from the rest of the organization, the entire senior leadership team, and especially the CEO, must be a living example of the culture they want to create in the business. Remember the words of the father of modern management, Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I would add lunch and dinner, too. Even the best strategy is completely useless without great people and a culture of accountability to execute that strategy. Customers Second It was the belief among these CEOs that if they hired top talent and took superb care of them, then the employees would turn around and take great care of the customers. A phrase I use often is, “The customers’ experience will never exceed the employees’ experience.” It’s important to note here that, for senior executives, their team members are their customers. Do you treat them like you would like them to treat your very best members? Business Processes The first two elements must be supported with efficient and effective business systems and processes. People need the tools and information required to delight the member. It is depressing how many companies I see that shoot themselves in the foot by making it hard to do business with them. Remove silly rules, get rid of red tape, streamline processes and make it incredibly easy for your team to consistently deliver superior service to your members. LEADERSHIP DOWNLOAD FUNDAMENTALS TO SUCCESS By John Spence