The mark of a great leader is how he or she responds to change. The very idea of change is unsettling. We like things the way they are. The status quo is comfortable, and it’s much easier to ride a wave of success than to achieve it by clawing your way out of the undertow. But change is inevitable. “Change is,” as it has famously been said, “the only constant.”
There are many trends occurring in our industry, as well as within the global marketplace, that can have a dramatic effect on the way we do business. Those of us who are still competing in the business twenty years from now will be those who will have dealt with these changes in the best way possible. Success has nothing to do with how effectively you can avoid industry challenges; it has everything to do with the way you adapt to them.
One dramatic shift that poses an endless array of challenges to mortgage professionals is the subject that has probably been covered recently more than any other: regulation. The extent to which the industry is being subject to scrutiny by governing bodies has been increasing exponentially in recent years — and we in the industry can’t do anything about it. Or, can we? There are two ways of countering the pressures placed on us by regulation. You could cut corners and seek ways around the regulations. But, of course, that’s risky and shows a lack of integrity. The better way is to get involved in organizations lobbying for the industry. Just like everyone else in the country, we in the mortgage industry have a voice. Let’s use it.
Another dramatic shift has occurred in the way people shop for homes. People have more access to information and, therefore, less need of professionals to make those decisions. Primarily, this shift is the product of the same revolution that has affected every other industry in the economy: the Internet. Ironically, this shift has made strong relationships even more important. People have more information but less time to process it. Therefore, they seek out professionals they can trust. Building strong connections with Realtors, consumers, and other industry partners is absolutely essential in this new economy.
Finally, there has been a tremendous shift in the way people view their work. Into the future, as millennials make up an increasingly greater percentage of the workforce, their values are going to come to dominate in the mortgage industry as much as every other. In relation to work, this new generation tends to care less about traditional incentives such as monetary compensation and other financial perks. Instead, they want to find meaning and fulfillment in their work. Great leaders will turn this shift to their advantage and place an increasingly greater amount of focus on building company culture.
There is no question: now is a pivotal time for our industry. Pressure is being placed upon the best of us from every direction. But it’s only in the most difficult of times that we are able to tell who the truly great leaders are. Survival isn’t about avoiding; it’s about enduring and adapting. Where will you be twenty years down the road? It all starts with the next step you take right now.
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