MReport September 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 35 of 91

34 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE is about having tough conversa- tions with your team, with execu- tives, and with your customer. My go-to line, especially in our mortgage vertical is, "I have questions." To successfully under- stand my customer (in this case, mortgage executives) I need to un- derstand why things are the way they are, what caused them insti- tutionally and how we may come to some sort of middle ground. How can I bring something like blockchain into the mortgage nar- rative without spooking anyone? This has proven to be a challenge! At the beginning of my mort- gage industry indoctrination, I was surprised by how friendly everyone was. They were eager to share their many years of experi- ence and try their best to explain why things are the way they are. Very different than the expecta- tion established in my mind from The Wolf of Wall Street—the "too big- to-fail," recession-causing industry reputation that many millennials graduated into. Not only did I have to change my perspective that we were we going to disrupt an entire industry, I have grown to respect the many facets of the mortgage industry. I did this by intentionally asking questions, finding multigenerational mentors, and listening more than I talked. In order to truly understand the marketplace, we have had to listen and adjust our plans for what the market really needs. Turning a blind eye, or not engaging in con- versations with the intent to learn from them, not just check a box, will cause companies and whole industries to fall behind. Don't Be Driven by Fear I deally, companies aren't about surviving. They're about thriv- ing by way of moving forward, and simply refusing to stagnate. No one thinks they will get ahead by remaining the same as they always have. As the workforces changes, so does the consumer. With the adoption of cryptocur- rency, nontraditional lending, and on-demand commerce, consum- ers are embracing applications of evolving technology to meet every need. From my point of view, startups are able to move quickly because they don't have as many hoops to jump through and there is less infrastructure in which everyone wants a piece of the pie. The mortgage industry must embrace innovators, not ostracize them, because we need each other to understand and to move for - ward. You don't have to go as far as Google where employees are allowed 20 percent of their time to work on side projects, though this has brought about some of the decades most innovative prod - ucts: Google Maps, Twitter, and Slack. Take a field trip to a start up, play some ping pong with them. Start a book club that cre- ates a safe space for conversations about innovation. Get a company Toastmasters Club going where you can practice your speaking skills and pitch world-changing ideas. Think of innovators as another kind of diversity. Innovation is inclusive, and considers many viewpoints. Hiring traditionally diverse teams doesn't matter much if the team, company, or even industry chooses the same path forward. The point isn't to check the 'innovative box' on your to-do list. To truly embrace and become innovative, your mindset is must be one of curiosity, a desire to learn, and a willingness to make smart risks in the short term for exponential long-term payoff. We are all flawed humans, doing what we think is best, the best ways we know how. It doesn't take a huge leap to become innovative, it starts with a small step. Because you can't know what you don't know, the first step is simply asking the right questions. So what are the right questions? And what is the next step toward innovation? Start by embracing and valuing new ways of thinking, and avoid fear-based decision making. Hire multi- generational innovative thinkers, support employees' personal values with your company values, and take small risks. You'll never know where you'll end up un - less you experiment and support inclusive values. Innovation means you have to see things from many perspec - tives. Just like we need diversity in our communities to understand different points of view, we need innovators and traditionalists to come together to combine traditional business practices with a fresh spin. In the end, we are better and stronger because of our differences. CRYSTAL WIESE is the Director of Marketing for Factom, a blockchain service company based in Austin, Texas. Working within the startup tech scene for the past 10 years, she has become passionate about taking great ideas and building a strong comprehensive narrative. Graduating from the Art Institute of Portland with a degree in Design Management, Wiese has always seen the value in creating strong ties between the technical, creative, and business. Ideally, companies aren't about surviving. They're about thriving by way of moving forward and simply refusing to stagnate. No one thinks they will get ahead by remaining the same as they always have. As the workforce changes, so does the consumer. With the adoption of cryptocurrency, nontraditional lending, and on-demand commerce, consumers are embracing applications of evolving technology to meet every need.

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