EVP/Chief Operating Officer Dave Nelson presents his coins to the Express’ Lawanda Adams at Fort Stewart, Ga.

Getting to the Core of Success

The Army had about 570,000 Soldiers in 2012. Today, the Army’s ranks have shrunk to approximately 490,000.

This is only one example of how the Exchange team has excelled despite significant headwinds over the past five years as the organization has generated record earnings for the military communities we so proudly serve. The ability to maintain the benefit during this time is also a powerful reminder of the importance of crisp execution of strategies and programs and a continued focus on our development.

In my last Exchange Post column, I talked about our legacies and the lasting impact we make on those around us. Building a legacy takes time and, fortunately, we have the tools to help not only develop your professional legacy but also grow personally.

“Development of core compe-tencies makes us better prepared to carry out the Exchange’s 2017 strategic priorities.”

At the Exchange, we call these our core competencies:

Thought Leadership – thinking style, business and financial acumen, and potential to do the complex problem-solving and decision-making required to be a senior leader.

Results Leadership – the desire for achievement, drive and initiative as well as persistence, energy level and willingness to take charge.

People Leadership – interpersonal characteristics that are the foundation for building effective leadership skills critical for senior leader roles, including influencing, building relationships as well as developing teamwork and others.

Self-Leadership – an ability to control emotions, act with integrity, take responsibility for actions and tolerate stress.

Each core competency has its place in our daily lives. Consider tackling one of these each month with a focus on how you will grow in that particular area. Do so and you will see how quickly the impossible becomes possible for both you and your teammates.

Improving our teams for success

We need look no further than the New England Patriots to see how a “winning team” is not simply a cliché. The Patriots stunning Super Bowl comeback is just the latest example of how performance improvement is not only contagious, but also assists in individual and group success.

The Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, gave us all a terrific example of how it’s never too early to start working toward our goals when he told the press the day after the big game, “As great as today is, in all honesty, we’re five weeks behind 30 teams in the league in preparing for the 2017 season.”

Whether you’re a Patriots fan or root for another team each Sunday, we can all benefit from taking a page out of Coach Belichick’s book by making a commitment to improve ourselves and our team today in order to win tomorrow.

Regardless of profession, soft skills and competencies are the oxygen of success. We can always teach a new work skill, but interpersonal skills that truly affect our ability to reach our objectives can be more difficult to address.

It’s not easy to take an honest look at that person in the mirror or share our true thoughts with those we work with, but we have an obligation to be candid in order to truly be the best we can be.

Development of core competencies makes us better prepared to carry out the Exchange’s 2017 strategic priorities. These new objectives build on our already-established plan and provide an overarching direction for where we need to go. Execution is what gets us there.

If strategy is identifying what we need to do, execution is about making it happen. We are fortunate to have a game plan that encompass every facet of our business from financial results to associate well-being.

A disciplined and logical approach to getting things done is central to meeting our individual and collective goals. Every associate needs clear, measurable goals that support the organization’s broader strategies.

We must track performance regularly to reward associates and have ongoing frank discussions about what is not working.

In the end, success depends on our ability to convert our plans to reality, and every one of us plays a part in this effort when we open our doors each morning.

No other organization can compare to the Exchange when it comes to taking care of service members and their families. Your passion for serving those who serve is a difference-maker.

We are great because of our people and your commitment to constant improvement. By focusing on our strategic priorities and developing our individual core competencies, we will exceed the expectations of our customers and co-workers.

As our Director/CEO Tom Shull so often says, our business and delivery of the benefit we provide is a team sport.

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