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A Conversation with Timothy Drabic On Getting Recognized and Standing Out From the Crowd

Timothy Drabic was born in Allentown, PA and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance from Shippensburg University.  While working at Sprint Tim also obtained his MBA from Shippensburg University with a concentration in Marketing.  Timothy Drabic worked for Sprint for 15 years working as Budget Manager, Area […]

Timothy Drabig
Timothy Drabig

Timothy Drabic was born in Allentown, PA and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance from Shippensburg University.  While working at Sprint Tim also obtained his MBA from Shippensburg University with a concentration in Marketing.  Timothy Drabic worked for Sprint for 15 years working as Budget Manager, Area Customer Service manager, Call Center Manager and several other management positions.  Tim’s has also worked for Citi for 18 years and has held positions such as Regional Sales Director, North America Client Experience Director and Global Client Experience Director.  Tim goals are to continue to hone his Client Experience skill set combining it with his financial acumen to contribute to improved business results and an improved client experience.

1. What do you love most about the industry you are in? 

I not only love the industry I am in, I also love the Client Experience world in which I work.  Bank and the financial sector as a whole is rewarding because you have the ability to advocate for the customer in a way which can truly enrich their lives.  It is not only about providing services to our customers and clients but also about education and awareness of the impact financial decisions have on their lives.  When it comes to the area of work relative to the client experience it is an exciting career field as it involves every aspect of the business.  Everyone is responsible for the client experience and in my role, I get to interact and influence the client experience end state using raw data and proven scientific methodologies.  I have seen so much improvement in the client experience over the years using this methodologies that I understand that this process is a journey and not a destination.

2. What keeps you motivated? 

I am motivated most by developing people and by improving the client experience.  There is no better feeling than watching an employee on my tea or on anyone’s team grow and be promoted whether inside or outside of the company.  Developing the talent pool helps to ensure the longevity and profitability of any company.  This is also true of focusing on the customer/client as the benefits are not only on the client experience but also on business results and shareholder wealth.  But the real thing that motivates me is to hear an employee or a customer say I recommend your company!

3. How do you motivate others? 

There is not a one size fits all elixir to motivate others.  It is listening to and understanding people to find out what motivates them and use that insight to help them develop and grow.  There is one lesson I learned at a class a long time ago that I still stand by regardless of anyone’s particular style.  Everyone likes to hear they are doing a good job.  Performance management principles tell you that you should praise someone 4 times for every 1 negative reinforcement which helps prepare that individual for a coaching moment.  Let’s face it we all can improve and I personally want to be coached to improve. That negative reinforcement could be simply withholding a positive reinforcement or it can be as direct as saying what was done incorrectly and how it can be improved.  But I always believe in finding what someone did right in a project or presentation and if necessitated also share what can be improved.

4. Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I get my inspiration from my father who was in banking.  He was a loan officer and knew most everyone in town who owned a business.  He was well liked and respected and to this day he cannot go to a grocery store or anywhere for that matter without someone knowing him and starting up a cheerful conversation.  I admire him for how he positively impacted peoples lives whether he could approve a loan or not he had the clients best interests in mind and he was well respected for that.

5. Who has been a role model to you and why?

I have had many excellent bosses each who have been a role model for me while I was under their tutillege.  Whether it was their interpersonal skills, their realization that they don’t have to be the experts at everything but hire the right talent, to their true insight into the business and current business trends these mentors changed my life. 

6. How do you maintain a solid work life balance? 

I have to be honest this is one area that I had to focus on several times in my career.  I loved the field I work so much that sometimes it encompasses my life especially if it is an important project for the business with strict regulatory guidelines and dates.  I learned the hard way when my once excellent “Voice of the Employee” scores faltered and I realized I was overworking my staff and myself.  Thanks to the qualitative and quantitative data I had at the time and my skip level meetings with my employees I realized I needed to make a change.  From this experience I can now see the warning signs in advance of harming people or a project.  I don’t want to hurt employees’ family lives. I want to enrich them and I want to enrich mine as well and have learned the hard lesson of work/life balance.  My secret is scheduling my work time and my private time to ensure I have the balance we all deserve.

7. What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry? 

My suggestion for anyone starting in banking or any other profession is to get a background in quality improvement and finance.  I was fortunate to learn the 7 step quality improvement process and Baldridge criteria while working at Sprint.  I was a lead Sprint Quality facilitator training others on quality and leading quality teams.  I was able then to use these skills in any job I had whether it was putting together a quality agenda, to facilitating a large meeting using brainstorming techniques or multivoting ideas everyone should have these basic skills to be a high performing business person.  I recommend finance because every recommendation you make in business requires a business case whether improving the client experience or rolling out a new product a business case is required, knowing the financial cost/benefit analysis of any project can help you be successful.

8. What was the hardest obstacle you have ever overcome? 

The hardest job/obstacle I ever had was having Global responsibility for a project which involved different cultures and different time zones.  I would get to work at 7 as normal get home at 7 for regular working hours then get back on the phone with our Asia Pacific team from 9-midnite everyday in order to meet Federally mandated timelines.  How I had to overcome it was to familiarize myself and my staff with cultural differences acknowledge them and respect them.  This worked and helped expedite the project.  I also had to delegate further than i ever had and truly engender trust myself nor my team would work around the clock if we had to work with Singapore at night I would have my team be off in the morning.  Being flexible and being fair with your employees and yourself was the key to success which helped overcome the global obstacles.

9. What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten? 

When I was working a part time job in highschool i jammed the machine that bundled cardboard boxes.  The manager said if you don’t know something please ask as it is easier to explain how something should be done then to fix a big mistake.  I take this to heart everyday and am not embarrassed to ask a question to prevent rework.

10. What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

Whether you are in the business world or personal life you can always improve your brand and relationships by applying process improvement principles.  If you make mistakes admit them, move on and learn from them and don’t let others shame you into submission but grow from the experience.

11. What is the biggest life lesson you have learned? 

Everytime I have a bad life experience or a failure it has allowed me to be more sympathetic to others who have been in that situation which I never thought I would be in.  Now that I have walked in your shoes I understand you and I can now help you better than I ever could have before.

12. What trends in your industry excite you?

The current trends in client experience using advanced technology and incorporating the awareness of going green or being aware of the world’s desire for using sustainable goods is a growing focus and challenge.  A challenge in which i want to be in the forefront by keeping relevant by continuing to be engaged in seminars, linkedin or other educational or news resources,

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