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What did this 100-year-old business do to ensure its survival? Its CEO follows these seven leadership principles.

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Opinion holder entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Celebrating 100 years as a company is an honor reserved for only a handful of organizations and companies in an economy with high turnover. In June of this year, one company did just that. What did USAA — one of America’s leading financial services companies that provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement solutions to more than 13 million members — do right to build its longevity?

We spoke with USAA President and CEO, Wayne Peacock, and went straight to the source for the latest episode of the Leadership Lessons series. He assumed the role just three weeks before his Covid-19 pandemic hit him and faced a unique set of challenges in transitioning to the top role.

During his 30 years with USAA, Peacock has held a variety of roles including contact centers, information technology, shared services, strategy, marketing and communications, security, and corporate real estate. His track record and deep understanding of the inner workings of the USAA make him an ideal candidate to step into the most important leadership roles within the organization.

Peacock learned a lot about business and wanted to share the most important lessons with young entrepreneurs and business leaders.

1. Leadership must be purpose-driven

According to Peacock, purposeful leadership is an essential asset for any company that wants to stand the test of time. This mindset begins with leaders being true to themselves about their purpose and identifying what they want to do and what impact they want to make. , avoid getting bogged down in small decisions and keep your organization focused on long-term goals. Peacock believes that reflection plays a central role in purpose-oriented leadership. “The more you reflect, the easier it will be to decide what to do today,” he says.

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2. Be flexible

Having worked for the USAA for 30 years, Peacock is well aware that life has powerful ways of upsetting our plans. Look for organizations with leaders who “have a dominant strategy while being prepared to adapt to crisis strategies.” Leading with purpose also means keeping an eye on the end goal and building day-to-day strategies in adaptive ways.

3. Success is getting things done and bringing team members along

Results-oriented leadership is essential, but Peacock doesn’t believe it should put team members at a disadvantage. Every organization has his members on the team who are more focused on the social aspects of the workplace than on “getting things done,” he says. Others, by contrast, are productive powerhouses who sacrifice their interpersonal relationships with others around the office to achieve efficiency goals.

According to Peacock, companies are looking for employees who embody a healthy balance of these two traits—those who are both productive and bring a sense of connection and camaraderie to the organization. These workers help foster teamwork and connection in the workplace while advancing the organization’s statistical goals.

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4. Always be a student of the game

According to Peacock, one of the best traits of today’s leaders is “always being a student of the game.” He says that regardless of a person’s field, continuous learning is the key to moving forward and establishing an organization that will stand the test of time. ask a question. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn something new. According to Peacock, curiosity is an essential trait for leaders and entrepreneurs in successful organizations.

5. Create an inclusive environment for your team to win

We go to work every day — shouldn’t it be a place where we feel accepted and valued? We believe that creating a safe work environment where employees feel safe should be a priority. He says people are more likely to perform at their best in the workplace when they feel valued for who they are.

Creating a system that allows team members to feel they can reach their potential plays an important role in this aspect of USAA. Peacock adds that career advancement opportunities, especially for those fresh out of high school or college, are very important to employee mindsets.

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6. Fulfill the company’s mission

Communicate your company’s mission in a way that resonates with your employees. The more they understand your organization’s goals and the reasons behind their work, the more committed they feel at work. A productive and dedicated team “fulfilling the company’s mission” is a top priority, according to Peacock, when her members are needed. It’s not uncommon for everyone to feel a little off the organisation’s goals if employees don’t feel tangible as individuals.

Peacock strives to make USAA’s priorities and mission clear and personal to all team members. Organizational goals need to be important to each employee to discourage the feeling of working “for the paycheck.” Seeing yourself and her team members step by step closer to achieving their goals motivates them to work hard and give their best in the workplace.

7. Be gentle

Peacock’s final tip is simple. He says doing things well doesn’t have to come at the expense of treating others without dignity and grace. It can make people feel safe and secure, and encourage team members to do their best and be open about their concerns at work.

Wayne Peacock has found success in the insurance industry, but his lessons in leadership will be valuable to others in all walks of life. His success shows that achievement is not just the result of his one strategy or action, but of many. To learn more about his hour-long talk with Peacock, watch the full webinar here. The ever-growing collection of episodes of the Leadership Lessons series gives you access to his successful CEO’s Best His Practices for over 30 brands including Heineken, Foot Locker, Headspace, Zoom, Chipotle, Warby Parker, ZipRecruiter and more.

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