There’s an old adage in business: you can’t have it done fast or you can have it done right, but you can’t have both. Of course, it’s not that simple. There’s a continuum of how well you do something—just as there is a continuum of how quickly you do it. It’s not either/or. However, this adage does point to a profound truth in business—there is always a trade-off between speed and accuracy in our work. Improving one often does mean cutting back on the other. So, which is more important?
Of course, when it comes to regulatory issues, the answer may be quite obvious. We can’t afford to overlook the details when we risk incurring fines from regulatory agencies, not to mention how our reputations can negatively impacted but such oversights. But, apart from these matters, I still think it pays to go over everything twice to make sure you’ve got it right. Why is this the case? Isn’t “double checking” just a redundant waste of time? Shouldn’t you just do it right the first time and not have to worry about going over it again?
The problem is that we are often poor judges of our own work. All of us are a little biased toward our own abilities, and we tend to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We’re much quicker to catch the mistakes of others than we are to catch our own. When we double check ourselves, we can stand a better chance of catching the mistakes we missed the first time.
By not reviewing our work, we may tell ourselves that we’re just “saving time,” but the truth is often that we don’t want to doubt our ability to do it right the first time. But, we’ve got to swallow our pride and be willing to examine our work. Success is worth much more than the pride that risks preventing it.
The general public doesn’t always have the highest perception of the mortgage industry. Often, it can feel like we don’t exactly known for being selfless. We are, after all, in business to make a profit. We provide a service and expect to be compensated for it. We and are people have bills to be and goals to accomplish in our lives. We aren’t operating a charity, are we? That being said, we are helping people by what we do in the same way that other professionals are; so, there isn’t any reason why we couldn’t garner a less self-serving reputation.
The real problem with having a selfish reputation, though, has less to do with what the general public thinks of us and more to do with what our own people think of us. I think it is important that the members of our team don’t see us as merely self-serving. Otherwise, they will see themselves as replaceable and will be less likely to believe that they are valuable as employees. And when our people don’t feel important, they will less inclined to work hard and even less inclined to remain loyal to the organization. If we want to keep people, they must feel like they matter.
For leadership, making people feel important can mean taking a cut in compensation for the good of the company. Is this a good thing to do? Different organizations believe different things on this matter, but I will say that it is definitely a way to gain the respect and admiration of your people if you’re willing to sacrifice some of your own gain to make them better off. And I can’t help but think that the mortgage industry will be improved by making employees feel like their companies are great places to work…
All too often, organizations in every industry think of training in a limited fashion. For many organizations, the only training that is ever offered occurs at the time of hire. Employees are first starting off in an organization, and they need to be taught how the organization works. So, they go through a period of training for the first few weeks on the job–and then they’re turned loose.
I think an initial period of training is absolutely essential. You always want to get your employees started off on the right foot, making sure they understand your purpose and values as well as how they will contribute to the team. That being said, while essential, I don’t the initial training that most organizations provide is quite enough. Training, if it is to be effective, isn’t a “one and done” sort of thing. The best training is ongoing training.
In all sorts of ways, the mortgage industry is constantly evolving. There are changing regulations that employees need to be made aware, new technologies employees need to understand, new process they need to learn, and new techniques they need to try out. The opportunities for learning don’t end after orientation; they go on forever.
As leaders in our organizations, we need to be willing to invest in training. Our team is only going to be as good as we’ve trained them to be. So, what about you? Is training something you just do with new employees, or is something you continually invest in as the industry chances and your employees develop in your organization?
We live in a very hectic society today. In our always-on, twenty-four seven, never let up culture, it can be easy to get sucked into the frenzy. As leaders in the mortgage industry, we always want to be first. We want to be the fastest to adopt the new technology, the fastest to enter into an emerging market, the fastest to hire the most talented employees, and so on. Whatever it is, we move quickly because we want to get there first.
Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly something to be said for speed. Being more responsive and proactive than competitors has obvious benefits, and we should always be aware of the opportunities available to us by reacting as quickly as possible. That being said, we need to also be aware of the risks. It is possible sometimes to move too quickly. What if we make a decision too quickly and then new information comes to light that, in retrospect, renders it a bad decision? Or, what if we commit to quickly to something and end up missing a better opportunity that comes along later?
As leaders in the mortgage industry, there is a place for strategic patience. Waiting isn’t necessarily a sign of laziness or complacency; waiting can also be a strategy. Taking thoughtful, measured steps can be better in the long run than taking quick, erratic leaps. We want to move as quickly as possible, but we also want our decisions to make sense. At the end of the day, great leaders don’t just move with speed; they also move with purpose.
Have you ever heard someone use the slogan, “No Plan B?” Usually, when people are trying to convince themselves and others that they are full committed to a certain path, they’ll take up this mantra to prove it. Of course, there is something to be said for persistence, confidence, and resilience in you work. You don’t want to do anything halfheartedly. On the other hand, in business, having “no plan B” could be perceived as a sign of commitment, but it might also be perceived as a sign of carelessness.
The mortgage industry has had plenty of ups and downs over the last decade and, with the incoming Presidency, it is uncertain how the industry will evolve. Some say that President Trump will introduce a more volatile market, while others suggest that he will be more pro-business. Whatever the case may be, one thing is sure: putting all of our eggs into one basket will not be an effective strategy. More than ever, we need contingency plans so that we’ll be able to adapt if our initial plans don’t work out.
Consider your particular place in the industry. Think about the business your currently engaged in and your plans for the near future. The smallest regulatory change can come out of nowhere and completely upset the foundation of how we do business in the industry. Are you ready for the next time that inevitably happens? Do you have Plan B? If you don’t, it’s probably time to get busy drawing one up. Remember: fortunate favors the prepared, not the ones who think they’re too unstoppable to need preparation.