Our new episode of the Super U Podcast is live! The Super U Podcast delivers curated tips from top performers and thought leaders to help unlock and unleash your inner superpower. This week’s episode features tips from John Janclaes, President and CEO of the Partners Federal Credit Union at The Walt Disney Company. John sits down with Erik Qualman for a one-on-one interview to provide tips on making your financial dreams come true.
Click here to subscribe to the Super U Podcast. Need a sneak peek? Below is the Making Your Financial Dreams Come True | John Janclaes Super U Podcast, as well as Erik’s main takeaways.
[00:51] Episode Introduction — Welcoming John Janclaes
John Janclaes has more than thirty years of experience in the financial services industry, spanning retail banking, brokerage, and insurance. He joined Partners Federal Credit Union in June 2004 as President and Chief Executive Officer. With eleven branches located primarily in California and Florida, Partners serves employees of The Walt Disney Company, currently boasting more than 160K members with $1.7B in assets under management.
[2:15] John’s Journey
John grew up playing athletics, which built the foundation of his love for teamwork. Interested in environments where he could connect with individuals on a one-to-one level, John started his career with a contracting company. In this role, he was able to help make people’s visions come to life, which was a rewarding experience. For John, it’s all about doing something through a group of people that’s bigger than one’s self. He was eventually introduced to credit unions, bridging his relationship with Disney. John was drawn to Disney’s mission. The goal? To double their assets within 5-7 years. John’s company ended up accomplishing this in 3.
[6:08] Successful Traits from Other CEOs and Top Performers
According to John, his successful peers all share the following traits:
- They’re clear on their why. They connect their why with the organization’s mission. There’s a deep connection and understanding of why they do what they do.
- They have one foot in the future and one foot in the current.
John’s why is to help individuals thrive — his cup is always full.
[8:40] Tough Love
How do you sit down with someone and help them? John says the goal is to help someone see things the way they are. There was one individual John worked with who asked why he wasn’t able to secure certain leadership roles. John suggested that the employee come into work at 6 a.m. the next day and then asked him to observe his peers. The employee discovered that his peers were hustling more. They were putting in an additional 20%. It’s important to reconcile the situation and figure out the right move for you as an individual. Are you willing to put in that additional 20%?
[11:16] Morning Routine
John’s alarm rings at 5 a.m. with sneakers beside the bed ready to go. His goal is to spend at least 3 days a week on his Peloton bike. He’s out the door by 6 a.m., his day starting on ‘cave time.’ He opens up his journal from the day before with his 3 ‘big rocks’ to get done in the morning. John spends 45 min – 1 hour preparing for the day, answering emails early on so that he can connect with teams later in the day. He typically gets home around 6 p.m, where he then focuses on writing and recording podcasts.
[17:22] The Ranch
When John and his wife became empty nesters, they decided to re-center on something they could do together. John took up equestrian lessons, following his wife’s footsteps who used to ride and wanted to take it back up again. They decided to go all in and buy a ranch. They went from an idea to an operating facility to competing at a high level. To be successful in equestrian sports, it’s about partnerships. The elite athlete is the horse and the rider’s ability to connect with that horse. Similar to the workplace, John is the CEO and he has a special partnership with all his best performing “athletes.”
[20:00] Overcoming Failures
At one time, John’s credit union was trying to execute their digital transformation too quickly, with John pushing too hard. Their core banking system went down for 8 hours. However, it wasn’t a technology issue. It was a people issue and John was in charge of the people. Therefore, the blame fell on his shoulders. He learned that it’s important for everyone to have an established, harmonious mission and to rise together as one–whether it’s regarding a technological advancement or new operational processes. John needed to give everyone time to develop and be all on the same page.
[22:21] Just Go
If John were to text his 20-year-old self, he’d say, “Just go.” Risk taking is worth the rewards and that’s where growth happens. Lean into opportunities and risk. Don’t be afraid to fail.
[24:20] John’s Influence
John McKinnon is John Janclaes’ influence. On his first day in his financial services job, his boss, John McKinnon, made it clear that John Janclaes couldn’t represent the company wearing the suit he had on. Instead of being a critic, McKinnon stepped into the arena and, on that first day, personally saw to it that Janclaes received a new suit, enabling him to appropriately represent the company and his position. McKinnon was showcasing leadership, all he wanted was for Janclaes to succeed. Through the experience, Janclaes learned that part of being a strong leader is providing your team with support and empowering them with access to the tips and tricks necessary for success.
[26:05] All In
How does John’s credit union differ? Disney is known for putting forth creativity. Every Friday, John’s team wears T-shirts representing what the company is currently doing. They are all in. They fully support what their client is doing. If it matters to Disney, then it matters to them. They also have a clear vision, always making a commitment towards that vision. What’s the vision? Making dreams come true.
[29:49] Beneficial Materials
John recommends Peter Drucker’s Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done. There are timeless tips in this book that every leader should learn. Peter reminds all of us that it’s about starting with the things that are fundamental. If you can’t manage your own time, then you can’t manage others.
[31:34] Favorite Story
John’s first day on the job as a rookie CEO was daunting, John didn’t know what to expect. However, when he walked into his office, he found a memo on his desk from the Board of Directors. The memo said that they were all in the mission together. They knew he was going to make mistakes, but they were also 100% committed to his success. That was a powerful moment for John.
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Take a look at behind-the-scenes footage on our Equalman YouTube Channel: