Sometimes, we run into people who seem like they can do just about anything. Maybe it’s someone who works in our company-someone who’s great at speaking, writing, working with numbers, and so on. Or, maybe it’s someone we know in our personal life–perhaps a “Mr. Fix It” type who knows everything from plumbing to carpentry to electrical work. We often call a person like this a “jack of all trades,” but it can sure seem like they’re a “master of all trades.”
While we often tend to admire people who can do everything, we also sometimes tend to scoff at them. Everyone should focus on his strengths and hone his core competencies, we argue. We should specialize in what we’re good at rather than spread ourselves too thinly. Of course, I think there are merits to both of these lines of reasoning. But, as the world becomes more complex and the market more volatile, perhaps there is some merit after all to becoming a “jack of all trades.”
As a leader, it can really pay off to be more versatile. Sure, you will be better at some things than you are at others, but it’s a great idea to be at least a little good at everything. Why? Because the speed of change is such that, if you aren’t versatile in your strengths, you won’t be able to adapt. What you are best at may no longer be relevant tomorrow. Will you have the versatility to pivot into something new when there’s a sudden change of scenery? If you can adapt, then you can survive.
Closing time in the mortgage industry can be a period of great anxiety. When the lender is sitting at the table at the end of the process with the title company, the realtor, the buyer, and whoever else may be involved, a lot can go awry. You may have spent months working with the realtor and buyer to get them to the table but, regardless of how hard you’ve worked up to this point, this is where you lay it all on the line. It’s at the closing where you go home the hero…or you go home the villain.
What do you do, for example, if you’re all sitting down ready to close the deal and then you are notified that the funding isn’t there? Chances are, you’ve found yourself in such a scenario. The buyer becomes exasperated and, as a result, your relationship with the realtor may become strained. It doesn’t matter how great they’ve thought you to be up to this point; if you can’t finish, you leave the table as the villain. So, how do you ensure you go home with great reviews instead of poor ones?
Have you ever heard the expression, “prevention is the best medicine?” Well, it works that way in business too. The best way to get out of a bad situation is to plan in such a way that you never end up in the situation at all. In your organization, do you have a contingency plan–or are you just making things up as you go? Planning can mean the difference between going home the hero and going home the villain. Don’t wait until your blindsided at the finish line; have a plan for everything that might go wrong.