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90 in 90: Vandell Hampton Jr., True Access Capital

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Seek Balance in All Things
Life is full of success, and failures too. The trick of it all is, not get too high on the success, or too low on the failures. Keeping an even keel is not always easy, but it’s always the right strategy. Ignore the swings and stay focused on the long game. Staying balanced doesn’t mean standing still. It means recognizing when you’re getting out of balance and then righting yourself.

Lead by Example
“Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” As a leader, your job is to show the way forward by walking that path yourself. If you expect the team to dig in harder, dig in harder yourself. You’ve heard it before because it’s true: don’t ask someone to do something you’re aren’t willing to do yourself.

You Don’t Always Have to be The Smartest Person in the Room
As a leader, you have a few key jobs: surrounding yourself with great people, providing them with the resources they need, and then getting out of their way. Being on a team with people smarter than you means surrounding yourself with people who inspire one another to excellence. Be clear about your goals, then let people do what you’ve hired them to do.

It Doesn’t Always Have to be Done Your Way
There’s an old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”  Just because something isn’t done the way you would do it, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Respect other people’s opinions because there’s always more than one way to accomplish a goal.

Don’t be Difficult with Difficult People

There will always be difficult people. Don’t give a difficult person oxygen by meeting anger with anger. Look for common ground. Try to understand what this person wants, or what they’re trying to avoid. Go for small wins, and build from there. You can’t always turn a difficult person into a charmer, but you can turn a difficult situation into a win-win.

Trusted Advisors
Leadership is about making tough decisions. You’ll make better decisions if you stay connected with trusted advisors. Look for people who aren’t afraid to be real with you, people who will tell you the truth, and most importantly, people you trust. Share your ideas and be open to their honest feedback and when you’re asked for your opinion, be open and honest in return.

Most Things Don’t Happen Fast – Stay the Course
Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody’s got a plan, until they get punched in the face.” There will always be roadblocks, unexpected developments, and delays. The important part is having faith in your plan, faith in your colleagues, and faith in staying the course.

Don’t Try to Make Everyone Happy
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach on the tree, but there will always be somebody who hates peaches. If you’re true to yourself and honest with others, you’ll be able to hold your head high in every situation.

Vandell Hampton Jr. is president and CEO of True Access Capital, a community development financial institution based in Wilmington.

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