Dr. Troy Hall is with SCF Solutions, a CUSO that offers leadership training, speaking engagement and talent retention consulting. We sat down with him to learn a bit more about what the CUSO offers and how it came to be.
PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences
What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?
I am currently the Chief Strategy Officer at South Carolina Federal Credit Union. My day-to-day responsibilities include advancing the conversations and actionable items dealing with the strategic growth of the credit union as jointly agreed upon by the board and the senior leadership team. This includes facilitating strategic planning meetings with staff and board, managing the overall project portfolio (tactical initiatives and calendar), and producing a comprehensive business plan.
Additionally, I manage the consulting division of the CUSO, which includes speaking engagements and workshops around culture, strategy and change.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
I love the opportunity to collaborate. It is important to me to have my ideas heard, not necessarily accepted. I want to contribute in a way that prompts critical and integrated thinking.
What are you most excited or passionate about?
Helping others to achieve levels of success that they may not have thought possible.
I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for (company name)?
At one point in my career, I was asked if I chose the credit union or the credit union chose me. It’s truly a little of both. I subscribe to seven effective attributes of a leader to include: 1) being a teacher, 2) extending grace, 3) showing compassion, 4) seeking truth, 5) acting with humility, 6) having pure intentions and 7) making peace. Overlaying those attributes are the transformative principles that focus on the development and success of others.
- I strive to help people achieve their hopes and ambitions,
- Be smart in how I deal with people,
- Offer a trusted and safe place that includes conversations of diversity, equity and inclusion, and
- Practice self-regard managing my emotional and cultural intelligence
Now if we can go even further back, where did you grow up and what was it like living there?
With a small amount of creative licensing, I grew up a poor boy from an abandoned coal mining town in West Virginia. My mom often told us that we are not victims of circumstance, but victors of choice.
Being poor was a condition of the pocket book and not the heart. Jokingly, I tell people there are about 250 people who live in my home town. When my mom and dad came to live with us before passing away, there were 248 left.
Where did you go to school?
I attended South Harrison High School in Lost Creek, West Virginia and received my Bachelor of Science in Management from Point Park University. I graduated from Charleston South University with an MBA and received my Ph.D. from Regent University.
Who were your mentors along the way? People who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
I had a great relationship with my parents, both mom and dad. Most of my leadership influence was a result of my strong relationship with my mother. She and dad had the traditional roles. Mom was the nurturer and caregiver. Dad was the provider and protector. When I was 12-years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Imagine living in a small, rural town, with limited education and access to healthcare. We thought mom was going to die. During the summer, I spent every day at her bedside nurturing and caring for her while helping my dad pay the bills, clean the house, shop, cook and get off to work each day. These two people are the most earthly influencers of my life. I learned a lot about people that summer. Mom lived 43 more years after that diagnosis until she passed away from Parkinson’s and dementia.
Finally, can you share something interesting about you that would surprise our readers? It can be anything, a hobby, an adventure, sports, the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you,
Aside from my incredible life marrying my high school sweetheart in 1977, we have raised two children and five grandchildren. So far, I have visited over 60 countries and met with business leaders in more than a dozen. Rode a camel, an elephant and watched a lioness chase and consume a zebra. I have prayed and visited churches, temples, Mosques and sacred places around the world. My integration of Christian faith into my daily life has been aided by my studies of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islamic religions and what it means to practice Shinto principles.
I wrote a book released in October 2019 called Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent. At the end of October, it was the #1 Top Selling Title for Koehler Publishing. My inspiration for the book was the awesome culture here at South Carolina Federal Credit Union, recipient of multiple Best Places to Work designations. I have heard many organizational leaders say that employees are their best asset, yet fail to treat them as such. My PhD research focused on team dynamics and the positive impact of cohesion on performance during all stages of a group’s activities to engage toward achieving a common goal. That work, along with examples of the living laboratory at South Carolina Federal, have given me a global platform to help transform organizational cultures around the world into environments where people feel a sense of belonging, have value, and commit to both personal and corporate success.
PART TWO: The Business Story
Tell me the story of how your CUSO/Company was created – the early days. Tell me about some of the memorable characters in the history, some that brought your story color, drama, comedy, conflict?
South Carolina Federal created its first CUSO in 2002 to solve a need for credit unions who wanted indirect lending services, but had no expertise in providing. In 2011, as non-interest income became a much greater priority, the CUSO was expanded to include insurance services, benefit counseling and consulting services to their suite of solutions.
The consulting arm of the CUSO begin in June 2018 with the launch of the Dr. Troy brand. We made a conscious decision to promote my name and leverage my 42-year experience to garner the attention of business leaders and conference organizers within multiple industries to include: financial, healthcare, automotive and manufacturing. During this short 18-month period, we have completed over 40 engagements to include two international keynote presentations and multiple international workshops in addition to local, regional and national events.
What were the key relationships that mattered most?
The key relationships are those formed with like-minded individuals who focus on the needs of others first, then themselves.
What were the key sources of support or resistance you encountered?
I have found when leaders adopt Influence Thinking™, they are teachable and seek the truth filling their mind with good insights and information. They have formed a trusted council of advisors who will speak life to the leader’s dreams and aspirations while helping to be a grounding board. Finally, these people have understood their actions matter and through observation, imitation and modeling, set forth the behaviors of: 1) inspiring a vision greater than themselves, 2) challenging the status quo, and 3) enabling the heart and encouraging the actions of their followers.
Resistance usually comes in the form of an ego that gets in the way, the person believing they know-it-all and must do-it-all, or they are misguided in that success is all about them and not those they are responsible for leading toward success.
What have been the greatest successes in your opinion?
Of course, my relationships with family, friends and co-workers are very important to me. I have had a number of academic accolades and business successes over the years to include being a Credit Union Rock Star. (Thankfully, I did not have to sing or play an instrument for that nod.) However, my greatest success will be measured by how I treated others and how they feel about me as a husband, father, friend, and most importantly as a human being. I have had the privilege to mentor many young professionals during the latter part of my career. Many, if not all, have remained in contact and we interact to build up each other through affirmation, encouragement and support. “Success is not measured by what you gain, but by how much you give.” That may sound hokey, but it is a foundational truth my mother and father taught me as a young boy.