You learn a lot when you build a mortgage business and lead a team over thirty years of mortgage ups and downs. These years have given me invaluable lessons - not just about starting a company, but about life and teamwork, success and failure, and everything in between.
Here in 2020, as we celebrate our 30-year anniversary at Freedom Mortgage, I'm delighted to have curated a fantastic team of industry professionals who are working every day towards our mission of fostering homeownership.
To commemorate the journey that brought us all here today, I'd like to share a few of the most impactful things that I've learned in 30 years of offering 30-yr mortgages:
#1. Align The Team's Goals
No matter how talented you and your team are, if the efforts aren't aligned, you're not going to be successful.
A leader's primary responsibility is to get everybody on the same page and working towards the same goal. Seeing eye-to-eye and sharing the same outlook is the first step to building a harmonious and strong team. Without that — business successes can be few and far between.
#2. Hone Your Mission
A robust vision is the seed of greatness. It's my base-case belief that if you have a clear outlook, you can build a thriving business. A clear mission will provide the vital guidance your team needs to enable adaptivity and resilience. And, when you have a strong vision, you can strategically ebb and flow based on changes.
Without a strong sense of clarity, you're wandering blind. You'll either have no mission or be committed to an outdated and irrelevant goal. Without drive and purpose, your company can't thrive.
#3. Constantly Adapt the Business
It's no secret that the mortgage business is always in a constant state of change. And, if you're not adapting … you're falling behind.
Throughout my career, I've become passionate about the importance of identifying market cycles and leveraging that into preparedness. Being one step ahead of the game is the only actionable way to anticipate the possibilities and opportunities. Then, you can use your insights to shape your vision according to the here and now.
Keep your eye on the data, the trends, and the ups and downs - they're your golden ticket.
#4. Don't Forget to Embrace Technology
Embracing technology is all about embracing change. Today's tech capabilities are constantly evolving. The world we live in today is infinitely more dynamic than just 10 years ago — and in 10 years from now… well, we can't even imagine what we'll be working with!
Rapidly shifting to a teleworking model, for example, wouldn't have been a possibility in the early 2000s, but look at us now. Even though this shift wasn't painless, who knew our fastest growth cycle and most profitable period would be during a pandemic? Things unfold in unexpected ways — but only if you're able to adapt. Technology makes that possible.
Never stop learning, never hesitate to try, and always be prepared. You'll want to have your mitt on before the ball is thrown … so you can hit the ground running.
#5. Clearly Transmit Your Message
We're all unique. We all learn differently. Everyone sees the world through different eyes and perceives it in their own special way. One of the biggest challenges team leaders can face is not realizing this. Remember: the words you say won't always convey what you actually intended.
As such, delivering an idea with clarity is vital. Sharing a message with your team is all about saying what you want to say in a bunch of different ways, without hurting the integrity of your message. Seek to fine-tune your conversations and engage on a level that brings everyone on common ground.
#6. Remember That the Only Constant is Change
Even tomorrow's changes aren't permanent. Those will surely change, too.
Resilience and dedication are at the forefront of success. Always be flexible and never be afraid to be wrong. Things might not always go according to plan, so the secret is to become comfortable being uncomfortable.
If you're too busy being what you were, you're not being what you need to be to tackle today's obstacles.
In sharing, I hope to provide help and support for everyone who comes behind me. If you have a dream, go after it. Be dedicated, be resilient, and keep growing until you have 30 years under your belt, too… but don't stop there. More adventures are always around the corner.
"Keep in mind, everything you've done so far has prepared you for what you are going to do next."
Stanley C. Middleman
Freedom Mortgage Corporation