In the rapidly-growing, ever-changing payments ecosystem, there are a lot of voices and payments thought leaders sharing their insight into what the current landscape looks like, and what the future holds. Whether it’s predictions about emerging payments, credit card processing, digital and mobile payments or the latest tech on the block, there’s plenty to talk about.
This is why we’ve taken the time to dig a little deeper into five influencers in order to share how they got to where they are, what they’re saying about industry trends and why they are worth following. Credit card processing is such a diverse, and somewhat fragmented industry, so it’s worth learning from people with different perspectives, backgrounds and from various industries.
After all, as we’ve seen with trends in credit card processing, or mobile and digital payments, things shift fast. To get you started, here are 5 payments thought leaders worth paying attention to.
Payments Thought Leaders No. 1: Karen Webster
Payments thought leaders in this industry come with all different backgrounds and reasons to enter the diverse world of payments. Webster emerged into the payments startup world in 2009 when she founded What’s Next Media and Data Analytics. From there, she formed PYMNTS.com to serve as a platform to provide the latest trends in payments, based on reports from economists, data analytic experts and journalists to dig deeper into what’s hot and what’s not in payments.
What has made Webster successful in this space is her ability to challenge the status quo about what people are predicting will drive what’s next in payments. Instead of taking the data presented to her as fact, she uses years of research and trend analysis to predict and suggest what technologies are here to stay, and which ones will fizzle out. Focused on payments innovation, technology and where the two intersect, Webster provides regular columns on PYMNTS.com about who and what is disrupting payments – and why.
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Another reason to follow Webster? She’s helped other innovators craft their own companies, build business strategies, and boost market adoption of their own products and services. Not only has she built her own company, she has used her expertise in payments to help other startups gain ground in this tough industry. Want the latest in mobile payments, credit card processing, emerging payments, or a critical look into trendy topics like bitcoin? Webster has a lot of thoughts she’s willing to share.
Payments Thought Leaders No. 2: Simon Sinek
Not only do companies need to think about how to connect with their customers, they need to think about how to keep their employees engaged. This is where Simon Sinek’s concept of the “golden circle” comes into play. This approach tackles organizational issues from the inside out, which all starts with one key question: “Why.”
Within any organization, whether you’re innovating credit card processing, mobile payments or digital engagement, you must always ask why people are doing what they are doing — or why a company is taking a certain approach. Sinek’s theory is incorporated into Payline‘s corporate theory and influences how we help our customers experience payments differently.
Also incorporated in the Golden Circle are the “how” and the “what” of an organization. The “what” apply to everyone within an organization knowing exactly what they need to be doing — and how it’s impacting the overall company. The “how” is all about how that person (or a company) is knowing how they are supposed to get the job done right. Because companies are often so focused on what to do, they forget to think about the how and why. Asking “why” is essential in strategically planning how to manage any business’ growth — regardless of the company’s size.
So why is this specifically relevant to the payments industry? Because the credit card processing ecosystem is so large, touches many industries and impacts the everyday lives of business and their customers, thinking about the “what,” the “how” and the “why” ensures you creating products and solutions that match what the market needs at the moment — or will need in the near future.
Payments Thought Leaders No. 3: Brené Brown
When looking for inspiration from payments thought leaders in the industry, another good person to start with is Brené Brown, a vulnerability researcher specializing in leadership. Although not a specific expert in payments, you can apply her same philosophies to how companies should be interacting with their customers.
Her work focuses on using four concepts to better engage people: vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. By breaking down barriers that people otherwise use to hold themselves back, her leadership research is designed to help people cultivate a culture centered on courage, compassion and connection.
When thinking about managing the business-customer relationship within a payments context, companies should take a page out of Brown’s book and design their products and services around experiences. This can also be applied to how companies create a better culture within their office, which can translate to work in the outside world.
For example, Payline is focused on creating a positive impact for its customers, but also cares about how its team can come together to make the world a better place. Through applying the philosophies of passion, purpose and positive impact, Payline humanized the workplace in a way that encourages its team members to be leaders at work — and in communities. This spurred the inspiration for Payline Giving, which enables its employees to create more opportunities to give back.
The products and services may be about credit card processing and better payments enablement, but at the core of Payline’s culture is a mantra that teaches its team members to think about delivering a better experience for its customers, while still being able to be stewards for community.
Payments Thought Leaders No. 4: Jason Oxman
Jason Oxman is a trendsetter in the payments space and is the CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the global trade association of the payments technology industry. With a strong background in consumer electronics, payments technology and every sector of payments that connects with credit card processing solutions, Oxman is quite the veteran in this space. He also worked with the FCC to craft technology policies.
What you can learn from a person like Oxman is that payments technology changes quickly. Whether caused by policy changes, a need for better technology, a push from consumers, or the response to a market need, the world of credit card processing and payments tech will never stop evolving.
When thinking about what types of products and solutions to onboard into a business, that’s worth considering. Instead of relying on a legacy system that’s difficult to upgrade, what Oxman’s leadership has taught us is that you must work with companies that offer the flexibility to constantly upgrade and integrate new tools, products and solutions.
Payments Thought Leaders No. 5: John C. Maxwell
Wrapping up our list is a man most known for his many books on the subject of leadership: John C. Maxwell. Focused on professional development and personal growth, Maxwell spends his time providing inspirational speeches on all types of topics.
Maxwell’s teachings, of course, can also be applied to the corporate world. Specifically, the payments industry, and how businesses should think about developing their leadership to provide a better experience within their own company, and for their customers.
In the payments ecosystem, what business can take away from Maxwell’s leadership expertise is to always challenge the status quo in how you think, or how a business approaches an issue. Successful business leadership today is not just about growing a company — whether that be through credit card processing or strategic business practices. Success is also defined by the ability to know when you need to pivot and choose a new path.
Taking a few pages from his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, business can use his advice to be well equipped to drive up revenue, inspire their team to be better and learn how to connect better with people. On a personal and professional note, particularly in the payments ecosystem, these tactics matter.
Regardless of what type of leadership style you connect with, when thinking about how to craft a better, sustainable business model, it’s important to think about how your company is delivering your products and services in a way that is focused on the customer experience. Particularly in the world of credit card payment processing, there is no room for error, which means you’ll want to have the right partners on your side to offer that top-notch service.
Anna Lothson is a content contributor for Payline Data. She previously wrote for PYMNTS.com, as a Sr. Content Producer, where she focused on financial services and payments innovation, fraud and security, emerging payments, and FinTech news, research and thought-leadership content across the payments industry.