Kevin Davis in conversation with David A. Snodgrass
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Listen to David A. Snodgrass, President and CEO of Lake Trust Credit Union on the Culture Eats Everything Podcast in conversation with Kevin Davis. David shares his unique journey—from growing up in Pennsylvania to his unexpected path into the credit union industry. Discover how the creation of Lake Trust, resulting from a series of mergers, presented David with the opportunity to become a CEO 12 years ago.
In this insightful conversation, David shares his personal journey, the importance of credit unions, and the keys to successful leadership. So, let's dive in and explore the main themes that emerged from our conversation.
The Power of Credit Unions: A Mission of Impact
David's journey into the credit union industry was not driven by a lifelong passion to become a CEO. Instead, it was the unique nature of credit unions that drew him in. He highlights that credit unions are financial cooperatives, focused on making a positive impact in the communities they serve. Unlike for-profit institutions, credit unions prioritize the well-being of their members over financial gain. David emphasizes that the mission and impact of credit unions are what make them special and rewarding places to work.
The Transition to Leadership: From Player to Conductor
David compares his transition to CEO to that of a musician becoming a conductor. As a CEO, he no longer plays an instrument but instead focuses on helping the organization and its employees perform at their highest level. He emphasizes that leadership is about understanding people, their motivations, and creating an environment where they can excel. David believes that the key to successful leadership is recognizing that it's less about individual expertise and more about empowering the team to achieve their best.
Creating a Culture of Excellence: The Importance of Engagement
David believes that creating a culture of excellence starts with having a team that is willing to engage in the journey. He emphasizes the importance of having passionate and engaged employees who are committed to the organization's mission. By fostering a sense of purpose and encouraging everyone to be their best, David believes that success will naturally follow. He also highlights the significance of storytelling in engaging employees and showcasing the positive impact the organization has on individuals and communities.
Balancing Vision and Measurement: The Art of Leadership
David acknowledges the challenge of balancing the organization's vision with the need for measurement. While measurements are essential for tracking progress, they should not overshadow the overall mission. He emphasizes the importance of a balanced scorecard that includes financial, member well-being, and internal cultural measures. By focusing on these three dimensions, David ensures that the organization remains aligned with its purpose while still monitoring performance.
Authenticity and Substance: Keys to Leadership Success
David attributes his success as a CEO to being true to himself and his values. He emphasizes the importance of authenticity and avoiding the pitfalls of politicking and maneuvering. Instead, he encourages aspiring leaders to invest in themselves, develop their skills, and demonstrate their capabilities. David believes that passion and commitment to the organization's mission are crucial, as they provide the foundation for genuine leadership.
The Journey to Greatness: Lessons from "Good to Great"
David recommends the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins as a valuable resource for aspiring leaders. He highlights the book's lessons on the pursuit of greatness and the dangers of settling for mediocrity. David emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and the need to avoid complacency. He draws parallels between the transformation stories in the book and the journey of Lake Trust Credit Union, emphasizing the long-term commitment required to achieve greatness.
Conclusion and Future Outlook
In this thought-provoking conversation with David Snodgrass, we explored the power of credit unions, the transition to leadership, and the keys to successful leadership. David's insights highlight the importance of mission-driven organizations, engagement, authenticity, and continuous improvement. Aspiring leaders can learn valuable lessons from his journey and the principles outlined in "Good to Great." By investing in themselves, staying true to their values, and embracing the long game, leaders can make a lasting impact on their organizations and communities.
As we look to the future, the credit union industry continues to evolve, driven by the desire to make a positive impact. Leaders like David Snodgrass are at the forefront, guiding their organizations towards greatness. By embracing the principles of engagement, authenticity, and continuous improvement, these leaders are shaping the future of the industry and inspiring the next generation of CEOs.
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