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making hard decisions...

It's never too late to make the right decision. You can always stem the blood loss and release yourself from that nagging decision that haunts you. BUT now that you have finally done it, how can you be sure to prevent that from happening again?

There are two ways to build in steps that will keep you from being stuck with tough decisions later. The first key is to have made the right decision in the first place.  I know it sounds obvious but in our industry, leaders/management/owners are sales people with ADD or operations people wrapped up in details. Neither one will take the time to do the proper due diligence, to gather and analyze the info in order to make the proper decision. In our business we get distracted by the drama of one loan and don't spend the time on decisions that will affect all loans.  Why do we do this? We were all put into our current positions because we were good at selling or processing one loan at a time. We made lots of small individual decisions quickly. We either created money or moved money through the system well. But taking time to do neither and read, study, analyze, talk, discuss, and think doesn't seem to make money. It sure looks like something all those fat-assed management types who used to bug you used to do. They seemed to be just pure overhead, eating up the revenue you created. Well I'm sure that many of them were overhead, but some of them may have been taking the needed steps to prevent you from running into major issues that hurt your ability to do business successfully.

So how do you release yourself from the guilt of not "doing" and find the time to clear your mind to make the right decisions in advance? The guilt is the hardest thing to get over. If you are good at what you do, then you are self-motivated and driven. You have pushed yourself into strong work habits that are hard to modify. You start with the slight modification that you make a challenge of trying to do your habitual tasks in less time, streamlining for efficiency. You then fill those small time slots with personal time--actually make appointments. The hard part is taking those appointments seriously; not sacrificing them to a money making opportunity. There is no secret to that; it's just discipline. The same discipline that got you where you are today.

You start giving names to those slots. For example a key slot is the one at the beginning and end of each personal and work section of the day. At the end of each work day you take 15 minutes to review all that took place that day. You see if there any take aways for short term actions and delve into why certain things occurred that may be the start of a long term trend. You do that same brain dump at the end of day at home to clear your mind. It will allow you to be prepared for the next day, clear your mind of details and let you focus on the bigger picture. The morning starts with a review of what you wrote down the night before at home and work to prioritize what the day has ahead for you; so you can take charge of it before it takes charge of you.

These mind games allow you to justify the time to make the clear-headed, non-reactionary decisions. You can take the time to cast the proper net to get the right people, for the right position, that you did the right job description for, that you asked the right interview questions for and then did the proper due diligence to verify who they were. These steps could also relate to the purchases of advertising or technology. Taking the right amount of time in the proper frame of mind prevents having to make the tough decisions later.

You say, "well that's great Brian, but what about all the dumb decisions I have made so far!".  Whether these have been getting yourself into a marketing deal or real estate partnership, or making a bad hire who you just continue to ignore, a big picture, factual assessment completed in your opened time slots will focus you in on solutions. You have to make the time to be able to hold a clear mirror up to your past decisions so you can see them for what they truly are. We, especially sales pros, are all especially adept at selling ourselves into "giving it a little more time" or "I'm starting to see some progress" or "it's not that bad" or " those people complaining are always complaining so I can't believe their comments about that person" or simply " I'll do it tomorrow....".

If you are early enough in the life of the issue, you can still stop and measure how you made the decision, whether the results truly match your expectations, take immediate action to review with the partner or employee your thoughts, and leave with a firm timetable of expected results and follow-up actions. I have witnessed more lingering bad decisions in the mortgage business than I believe any other. We are always moving so fast and forward that we never look back. I see cancers festering and growing on P&Ls, eating up monetary and personnel resources; starving out the energy, money and morale needed for growth or simply survival.

Take the time to make those hard decisions personally and professionally. Where we are now in this business, you can't afford to be wrong for long.