FOND DU LAC, Wis.—Truly effective leaders must have a high degree of self-awareness, as well as an ability to adapt to change, according to Chad Raube, president and CEO of Info-Pro. Below, Mr. Raube shares his insights on leadership and management as part of CUToday.info’s The Corner.
CUToday.info: What intangible of leadership is most difficult to convey or prepare for?
Raube: Leaders need to possess an underlying belief that they will achieve their objectives. Those who don’t tend to make safe decisions that accomplish little. Extraordinary leaders know their boundaries of competence and masterfully exploit them. This is the intangible leadership quality of self-efficacy. The challenge in preparing to embrace self-efficacy, is that a leader’s boundaries of competence, and the concomitant reasonableness of their aspirations, are shaped and framed by the organizational context in which the leader operates, which is constantly changing, requiring the leader to have a high degree of self-awareness and adaptability to succeed.
CUToday.info: Are you a fan of a management book or books? If not, why not. If so, which have resonated with you and why?
Raube: Competency and intelligence are important qualities for a leader, as a leader needs to know what they are doing.
However, in my view what ultimately distinguishes the great leaders from the mediocre are their personal, inner qualities, which have been shaped by their life experiences, and their ability to authentically harness these qualities into a sense of purpose about which they are passionate. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, by Bill George,reveals the power of authentic leadership and how one can discover their own authentic leadership style. At a time when our country and companies everywhere are in desperate need of servant leaders, women and men, willing to put the needs of others before themselves, this book is a helpful compass for leaders committed to making a difference in their companies and communities.
CUToday.info: Innovation: four syllables getting all the attention. Deservedly so? If so, can you really drive innovation? Or is it coming at the cost of implementation and delivery?
Raube: Not only can an organization drive innovation, in my view doing so is often imperative to create or to sustain a competitive advantage. In my experience, there are three keys to successful innovation, applicable to both product and process innovation. First, the CEO needs the support of the Board and shareholders to ensure there is appropriate appetite and ability to fund innovation in a manner that follows best practices. Demonstrating how innovation is a key enabler to delivering long-range financial targets can help gain this alignment. Second, innovation needs to be woven in the cultural fabric of the company, so that employees embrace it and are passionate about it. Engaging employees in the innovation process and visibly demonstrating commitment to it supports organizational buy-in. Third, it is critical that the organization anchor its innovation efforts with a proven methodology that optimizes the probability of success. Methodologies such as Outcome-Driven Innovation or LEAN Innovation, both of which we use at Info-Pro, are proven to have superior statistical results to approaches such as idea-first innovation.
CUToday.info: If you could go back and talk to You On The First Day On The Job, what advice do you share?
Raube: I would emphasize that in achieving stretch goals, it is important to remember that “none of us are as clever as all of us.” Very early in my career, `at times `I thought that it was my job to know everything and make all the decisions. Overtime, I appreciated that my job as CEO is to inspire people, help set the vision and strategy, create the work environment culture and give the team room to do their jobs. In this context, it is important to hire people who are smarter and more experienced in key functions than you because they will make your team stronger and your organization better. We all learn from each other, and we all bring different strengths to the table. When we put all those together, we can accomplish much more and come closer to reaching your most noble aspirations.
CUToday.info: My Keeps-Me-Up-At-Night concern is? Why? And My-Let’s-Me-Sleep-At-Night optimism is?
Raube: My most pervasive and constant concern relates to the most important resource in any organization – its people. Are we effective enough in developing and retaining our employees? Are our employees engaged to a high degree and is it on an upward trajectory? Does our incentive program sufficiently motivate? Is our succession plan robust? Does everyone understand our vision and are they aligned behind it? Similarly, what helps me to sleep well at night is also our people – notably the high quality and character of our people at Info-Pro. More specifically, it is the fact that at Info-Pro, our cultural fabric is knitted with a genuine passion for delighting our customers that fosters teamwork and cohesiveness of mission at every level of the organization, and with such an anchor for our ambitions and aspirations, I rest easy knowing our organizational foundation is one that positions us well for growth and achieving our goals.
About Info-Pro Lender Services, Inc.
Founded in 1997, Info-Pro provides banks, credit unions, and others in the financial industry with real estate tax tracking, flood determination services, and property insurance monitoring services. Its mission is to provide an unrivaled customer experience for lenders and it currently services over 300 customers across the U.S. Info-Pro is part of the Guaranty Service Group of companies, which includes Guaranty Title Service.