Passive Production
Values Driven Business...

Mirror

It never ceases to amaze me the lack of clear mirrors in this industry. In sales or ops, it's frequently perceived that the company is at fault for their problems. There are certainly times when the 'company' has become a detriment to their future. Usually it is like a marriage plagued by 'irreconcilable differences'; people grow apart. More times it is the management, not the entity that is at fault; it has become personal.

On the other side we have companies that have lost touch with the real world of sales, the field and the competition. They have become accustomed to their margins (or their shareholders have) and they won't make the necessary moves to right size the business. Management becomes fat and happy and blames sales for being greedy. Right now no one wants to admit that the world has changed drastically outside their walls. The correction has happened to the housing market as it needed to do; AND the correction has happened in the lending industry as it desperately needed to do. The pendulum is swinging back to center as it always does after the 'pig fest'; AND like it always does, it will overshoot and over tighten. But if there was ever a time to go cold turkey for the borrower and lender this is it.

I have seen many, many good -- very good originators simply forget how to do their business. They have developed so many bad habits and become lazy and arrogant. They are unwilling to retool their business for the future. They find it easier to blame the company for not giving a better split or not approving 80/20 IO investor deals below fico levels. Some sales correctly blame a lack of support on management. But the support is not paying for more ads or mailers; it's the lack of business planning and the lack of coaching through assistance in implementation. I see net branch companies 'empowering' sales people by giving them the noose and the 2-legged stool. With the barriers to entry so low, we are expecting too much of people in this industry, and give them too much credit for a couple of good refi years. Five years of experience doesn't necessarily mean that much in mortgage banking, especially the last 5 years.

If you are going to leave a firm make sure you have exhausted all options where you are. Leaving for lack of communication isn't a good enough of a reason. Leaving because "they should just know! I shouldn't have to tell them how I feel!" is a poor reason, and you will continue to be disappointed wherever you go. You need to sit your management down, if they don't with you, and tell them your plan, your goals and dreams. See if they are vested in helping you achieve or hone your plan. If not don't assume that other companies will be. Pick the brains of peers at other companies. Get their honest views. Talk with vendors as well, you may be surprised.

On the management side I am amazed at the assumption that people are what they are. There is little faith in people being able to change. They never look at the lack of growth as their fault as the coach and leader. Frankly I don't know how you can't. As a parent how can you not blame yourself in some way and at least analyze how you handled the situation? I am a value manager looking for untapped resources. What better place than in your own backyard? Look at each of your employees and dig to find out what is important to them, their goals and dreams. You have to look at your approach. Can you honestly say you tried everything and you looked at their situation from all angles? I have always been able to increase a loan officers production by 50% if they wanted to, and had an accurate view of their talents and weaknesses.

Instead I see companies trading the same bad pennies for good dollars; spending energy on recruiting instead of internal growth. They pollute their culture and cause unnecessary friction and inefficiencies. Managers be sure to identify your teams goals and establish a plan how you are going to assist them in achieving them. It has to be about them not you or it won't work. Get their plan, review, confirm and correct, help them set an implementation schedule, and calendar a follow-up to ensure execution. Help your people think long term; help them see past the short term panic going on. Cooler, level heads will lead the way in 07!

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well put! love the reminder about the "mirror" kath

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