BY SCOTT MCCLYMONDS
How did one 17-year veteran credit union CEO’s leadership evolve? It occurred in three distinct phases, each one contributing to who he and his CU, Amplify, are today. Learn how to follow in Paul Trylko’s leadership development footsteps to help take your credit union to the pinnacle of success.
Unplanned Meeting in Denver
A few months ago I was sitting in on a Big Data panel presentation at the CUNA conference in Denver. When it came time for questions, one gentleman out of about 400 people came to the microphone and asked, “Where does Big Data fit into an organizational structure? Does it belong in Marketing, Finance, IT?” I thought that was a great question, and since I had led Big Data teams in banks for about 25 years, I made a point to introduce myself to him after the session to provide my thoughts on the best approach.
That gentleman turned out to be Paul Trylko, CEO of Amplify Credit Union in Austin, TX. As we conversed, we realized we had some mutual acquaintances in common as well as a shared interest in leadership. Paul and I were able to follow up our introduction in Denver with a call, wherein we discussed Paul’s journey as Amplify’s CEO as well as his advice to other credit union chief executives.
Paul has been CEO at Amplify for about 17 years, and his journey has been an evolution as his self-awareness has guided and pushed him to continue developing not only his own abilities but those of his Amplify colleagues as well. For those of us who believe in John Maxwell’s “Law of the Lid”, which says organizations can only grow to the level of the leader’s leadership ability, Paul is a great example of a CEO who has not settled in and gotten comfortable. He exemplifies one who has instead continually increased his leadership expertise.
Most new CEOsapproach their roles with a heavy focus on day-to-day operations and financial metrics. Many continue on this course and never leave it since it tends to fall in their comfort zone. Conversely, others look to continue their professional development by expanding their leadership influence to their communities and industry associations, while focusing internally on culture and leadership development.Paul falls into the latter category and views his CEO evolution in three distinct phases.
CEO Journey: Phase 1
The first era was from 1998 to 2004 when the now $750 million asset Amplify was worth about $100 million. During that era the CU phased out of IBM as a single-sponsor and out of consolidated offices. At the same time, it created a singular focus on the Austin market. Paul described his approach during that time period as very tactical, getting things done day to day with an operational focus. During this time Amplify became a member of CUNA, the Cornerstone Credit Union League and the Austin Chamber of Commerce, but Paul did not play an active leadership role in any of those organizations.