Leadership is always challenging. It is lonely at the top of the leadership world, especially for leaders left on our own and trusted to guide our businesses for our employees. Well, my 23+ years of leadership experience tells me that while it may be lonely at the top, it can be just as lonely at the bottom. As leaders, we are the ones who must ensure the professional welfare and incomes of the people we employ – and their families. Knowing what our employees need to be successful at work can be challenging and requires diagnostics and re-calibrating on an ongoing basis.
That being said, when we choose the best fit for ourselves as leaders, often many people will follow, stay loyal, and invite others to join our firm. For me, as a servant leader, I am looking for ways to constantly improve the way business is done at the firm I am at for the benefit of those I employ.
For 17 years I owned a mortgage banking firm with approximately 550 employees, and every day I looked for ways to improve in every area so my employees would be so happy they would have no reason to look elsewhere. I knew they were being recruited to join other firms on a regular basis. It was my job as the leader of that firm to give so much to my people that they would never leave because there wasn’t a better option than working at our firm.
From July 2010 to August 2013, I had been a Branch Owner (franchisee) for a mid-sized mortgage banking firm. After two or so years, things at the firm began to change and I began to look into what other large ($4 billion – $10 billion in annual mortgage volume) mortgage bankers offered to the Loan Officers and support staff.
“For 17 years I owned a mortgage banking firm with approximately 550 employees, and every day I looked for ways to improve in every area so my employees would be so happy they would have no reason to look elsewhere”
Through this process, I learned that I could improve my employees’ experience in many ways by my moving to another mortgage banking firm and hoping they would follow me. In addition, me being at a mortgage banker that offered more than my firm would attract people I had known in the Southern California region for many, many years but who were looking for a different experience than my firm could offer.
I looked for a number of key areas that relate to improving the customer experience and the products, pricing, and services the various firms provide to the Loan Officer. The Loan Officer must have the most competitive tools in all areas of the mortgage banking business to beat the competition and earn business.
By offering lower pricing, a more attractive series of mortgage products, and bringing the operational functions (processing the loans, underwriting the loans, and closing the loans) to my regional office, I could give the clients, referral partners (Business Managers, Realtors, Attorneys, past clients etc…), my staff and our Loan Officers more control, face to face contact with the people working on processing, approving and closing their loans and the widest array of products at the most competitive prices. I found all of those things at Primary Residential Mortgage.
Many staff members and Loan Officers joined me at Primary Residential. We attracted many other people who I hadn’t worked with in the past. I have heard over and over from so many people on our team how grateful they are for me doing the work I had done in diagnosing the different firms in the marketplace and choosing a place that provided the best option for them and their families.
Philanthropy comes in many forms. In this case it came in the form of offering people in the mortgage banking business in Southern California the opportunity to work for a great mortgage bank without them having to do the hours and hours of diagnostic work it takes to find the best option.
For the leaders who own their own companies, self-diagnostics is a great way to improve at every opportunity and make your company one everybody wants to work with and nobody wants to leave.