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When Brad Crain became president and CEO of Arvest Bank’s Springfield region in 2014, he spent much of his first 90 days listening and observing.
“What became very apparent to me was that in order for us to hit the growth target and milestones that were expected of us, we needed to begin to focus strategies and efforts outside of our branches while maintaining a high-level customer experience in our branches,” Crain says.
To do this, Crain helped implement a comprehensive growth strategy that focused on growing households, deposits and relationships – and it all began with educating employees on why.
“Educating our teams about the why was a crucial step in our growth strategy,” Crain says, noting in this case, “why” addressed the need for growth and its importance to the company and its employees. “When associates understand why, they are much more likely to take ownership and participate in the success.”
Crain also has other theories on how to enable success through leadership.
“It goes without saying that in order to lead, you must have people who are willing to follow,” Crain says.
He touts strategies such as open communication, approachability, fairness, consistency, trustworthiness and humility as ways to demonstrate to associates that they are valuable and their efforts are important.
“I have found that if my teams see me working on their behalf and for their best interest, then they will generally be much more willing to follow me and the initiatives that I direct or desire to undertake,” he says.
That connection can promote success for more than just the company. Crain says his career path has been monumentally changed through the interactions of a few key individuals.
“Because of this personal experience, I want to make sure that I, too, am reaching out and investing in the success of others,” he says.
This attitude helped spur the creation of a new company career path and star talent identification process in 2015.
But Crain takes time to influence lives other than those at the bank.
“Growing up in a small community of under 1,200 people, I learned the importance of community involvement at a young age,” says Crain, who recalls spending time with his family volunteering on a variety of service projects. “That foundation, along with working for an organization that emphasizes community and civic involvement, has allowed me to find key initiatives and issues to support throughout my career.”
That mindset landed Crain in the middle of the local service scene. He serves on the board for the United Way of the Ozarks and is involved with hunger, poverty and children’s initiatives in the Springfield area.
Crain wants to challenge associates and community members to become more involved in civic organizations.
“I believe that it is important for me not only to be actively engaged personally, but to allow others to hear and see the passion I have for civic issues and hopefully encourage them to be active, engaged and fully aware of the impact that they, too, can have,” he says.
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