Let’s Think This Through

As most of you reading this know by now, I have two sons. As they grow up it is amazing to me how different they are. One is more reserved and artistic and the other one is more social and athletic. In fact, let me share a quick story with you.

I get the kids up every morning, get them ready for school, pack their snack, etc. In order to speed things along I give them their clothes. I figure letting them get their own clothes will result in lost time and the two of them messing up their room, neither of which is a desirable outcome for me. Well, my little one is very into sports. Now he won’t wear anything but sweat pants to school. I would argue every morning with him until I decided to just buy him a bunch of sweat pants to make our mornings go smoother. You know what they say: If you can’t beat them, join them.

I thought having boys would mean that they didn’t care what they were wearing. I guess I was wrong. These morning fights got me to thinking about thinking. I wondered, what made my younger son think that it’s okay to just wear one kind of pants to school every day. I cam across a book called, “Coping With Difficult Bosses,” written by Robert Bramson in which he identifies five thinking styles to categorize our modes of thinking and problem solving we use most frequently. They include:

Synthesists ?According to Bramson, “Synthesists are creative thinkers who perceives the world in terms of opposites. When you say black, they think white, when you say long, they think short.” ?To connect with Synthesists, Bramson suggests to “listen appreciatively to their speculation and don’t confuse their arguing nature with resistance.”

Idealists ?According to Bramson, “Idealists believe in lofty goals and standards.” ?To connect with Idealists, Bramson suggests that you “associate what you want to do with these goals of quality, service, and community good.”

Pragmatic Thinkers ?According to Bramson, “Pragmatic thinkers are flexible, resourceful folk who look for immediate payoff rather than for a grand plan that will change the world.” To connect with Pragmatists, Bramson suggests that you “emphasize short-term objectives on which you can get started with resources at hand.”

Analyst Thinkers ?According to Bramsom, “Analyst thinkers equate accuracy, thoroughness, and attention to detail with completeness. They are likely to gather data, measure it, categorize it, and rationally and methodically calculate the right answer to any problem you come up with. ?To connect to Analysts, Bramson suggests that you “provide a logical plan replete with back-up data and specifications.”

Realist Thinkers ?According to Bramson, “Realist thinkers are fast moving doers who know that reality is what their senses — sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch — tell them it is, and not that dry stuff that one finds in accounting ledgers, or the insipid pages of manual of operations.”

To connect with Realists, Bramson suggests, “If you communicate with Realist bosses as if they were Analysts, you will never get their attention. Rather than gobs of computer-printouts and other detailed information, Realists want a three-paragraph “Executive Summary” which tells briefly what is wrong and how you propose to fix it. For rather complicated reasons, they will often take you at your word if they see you as a qualified expert. You become an expert in their eyes when they know that you’ve assembled a store of facts in which they are interested, and you have proposed a set of actions that they already believe are the best things to do.”

Why do I bring this up? Honestly because I’m not sure there’s much long-term thinking going on in mortgage lending. As long as I’ve been in this space, lenders tend to be reactionary. They do something because they are told to do it by an investor or a regulator, or because their competitor has already done it and they feel like they’re behind. In my experience few lenders constantly think about how to improve the mortgage process for the sake of improving the mortgage process.

So, here’s my message to everyone reading this: Figure out which type of thinker you are and use that knowledge each and every day to genuinely improve what you’re doing. I think you’ll be very happy with the results that you get.

About The Author

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Tony Garritano
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.