CUToday.info: Your experience has shown what intangible of leadership is most difficult to convey or prepare for?
Hackney: Communicating the organization’s plans and goals effectively to all employees. When the organization is small, it is easy to sit around a table and discuss plans. But as the organization gets bigger, it requires much more time to develop plans across the organization, what are the dependencies, synchronizing multiple departments, etc. and then communicating those plans multiple times and ways to get the message understood by all employees.
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?
Hackney: I like the books from Tony Dungy and Colin Powell on leadership. They are in very different disciplines, but they both have a plan and they get their constituents to believe and buy into it. They were also successful and respected. Not all leaders are both. However, what resonates with me most are real life experience. I’ve served under seven different chairmen who are/were successful CEOs of their respective CUs and each has a different style. I have learned traits from each of them I have tried to incorporate in my own style.
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?
Hackney: I think it is deservedly so as that is one way to differentiate yourself from the competition. The payments ecosystem is very large, complex, and integrated and I’m not sure all the CU’s collaborating together can drive innovation by ourselves. We can all get behind a particular product or service to create scale and cost efficiencies for CU’s to be more competitive with the big banks, but for CU’s to truly be the drivers of innovation in the payments ecosystem would be a challenge. Take the recent Apple Pay announcement as an example. Though there are nearly 6400 CUs representing 100-million CU members, there are 800-million iTunes accounts.
CUToday.info: If you could go back and talk to You On The First Day On The Job, what advice do you share?
Hackney: Look at the org chart, and develop strong board relations!!! Soon after I got the CEO job, I came upon an HR article about CEOs and Board relations. Since this was the first time I had ever reported to a board, I read it, thought it was pretty much common sense, and have tried to follow the suggestions. It has served me well. A board can be a wealth of information to draw from.
CUToday.info: The-by-its-very-nature-impossible-to-answer-question: from where might your unexpected competitor/threat emerge?
Hackney: No ‘might’ to it. In payments, it is the non-traditional players. The recently announced Apple Pay is a great example. What was a computer/entertainment repository/mobile phone company has successfully cobbled together a partnership consisting of the three largest global payment networks and the four largest US banks into a single mobile payment initiative. That’s something no one else has accomplished.