Innovation Calls for ‘Thinkers, Not Followers,’ Exeter CEO Says

In search of inspirationIRVING, Texas — It’s important to understand that innovation is not simply about bringing in “fresh faces,” Jason Grubb, chief executive of Exeter Finance Corp., said in an interview earlier this month.

Without being immersed in the long-term undercurrents of the industry, any “new voice” is more likely to repeat old mistakes, rather than create a truly innovative environment, he said. However, experience alone is not enough either, he added.

“Having an industry pedigree doesn’t necessarily correlate to success. I’ve actually seen it play out both ways. Some industry veterans just regurgitate jargon that sounds impressive, but really provides no value,” Grubb said. “These people are always in a hurry to tell you what you should know. I personally prefer individuals that actually listen, think, and ask qualifying questions.”

For example, Grubb added, instead of asking about just delinquencies, employees should try to get a feel for the overall credit mix of a portfolio, as it represents the risk of a company’s marketshare.

“For us to achieve our goals, we need a team of thinkers, not followers.”

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