Rolling With The Punches: How Great Leaders Handle Regulatory Change

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about compliance and the emotional toll that it can take on a team. Businesses in all industries have enough struggles with intense competition, changing customer demands, and an unstable economy. On top of all of this, the mortgage industry seems to suffer the burden of a seemingly unending slew of regulatory changes.

There are a lot of people writing about how organizations need to change in order to be in compliance. Of course, I am a big advocate of organizations taking the appropriate measures to meet regulations, and I would never say that compliance is not important. But, apart from helping organizations understand how to stay in compliance, I also think it’s important to help organizations understand how to cope with the sea of change. And that’s what I would like to discuss here: how do great leaders handle regulatory changes on an emotional level?

I don’t have anything completely profound to say on the subject, and I won’t be saying anything that hasn’t been said before. There is no quick fix or easy answer. I would just like to share a story that I hope can motivate leaders to push on even when the struggle never seems to end. Great leaders don’t quit regardless of how the odds are stacked against them. Great leaders persist in the face of challenges. Great leaders roll with the punches.

When the British first began to introduce the game of golf to India, they encountered a peculiar problem that they hadn’t experienced in their homeland. Everything was going fine until, in mid game, the balls would begin to disappear. When they investigated what was happening to the golf balls, they realized that the monkeys were swooping down from the trees and stealing them. As monkeys weren’t really an issue in Great Britain, they were at a loss as to how to react to the phenomenon.

First, the British began to try to keep the monkeys out. They put up elaborate fences to try to dissuade the monkeys from entering the course. And, did it work? No, if anything, it encouraged the thefts. Monkeys still kept swooping down from the trees and stealing the golf balls while they were in play.

Finally, the golfers came up with an ingenious solution. Rather than trying to keep the monkeys out, they decided to simply make the monkeys a part of the game. Seeing no alternative, the golfers instituted a new official rule: “play the ball where the monkey drops it.” Suddenly, the monkeys ceased to be a nuisance and, instead, began to be viewed as an interesting new challenge for playing golf in India. Nothing changed, really. The monkeys still behaved the same. But the change in perspective made all the difference and brought new life to the game.

The moral of the story, of course, is that regulatory changes are going to happen whether we like it or not. We can “put up fences” to try to ignore the reality, but that won’t make it go away. Why not instead make it a part of the game? Why not consider the regulatory changes interesting new challenges to work around? Nothing really changes. It’s the same regulation and the same struggle to cope. But the change in perspective can make all the difference.

About The Author


David Lykken has garnered a national reputation as a visionary, entrepreneur and business leader within the mortgage industry. He has also become a regular guest on the FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman, Dave Asman and others. He has been a special guest of Governor Mike Huckabee on FOX News’ #1 weekend rated program “Huckabee”. He has appeared several times on the CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV & radio, NPR and many radio shows. On matters related to the economy, housing and mortgage lending, David is frequently quoted in leading newspapers across the country as well as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Additionally, David has his own national weekly radio program called “Lykken On Lending” that can be heard each Monday at Noon Central time by going to .

As co-founder and Managing Partner of KLS Consulting doing business as Mortgage Banking Solutions, David Lykken has over 37 years of management experience as an owner/operator with in depth expertise in real estate finance and housing. His knowledge and skills comprise a unique blend of technology and business strategy. Above all else, David loves helping business owners and executives navigate through extremely difficult business circumstances helping them overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles while rediscovering themselves and their passion for life and living.

Dave is married, has two daughters and currently resides in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas near Austin, Texas. David received a bachelor’s degree in 1973 year from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.