July 2016 - Lessons Learned

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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28 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE the millennial is more fulfilled when everyone pulls together to be successful. Additionally, millennials are going to do better in a less struc- tured environment, one with few- er restrictive factors surrounding schedules and protocols they re- gard as old-fashioned. Time maga- zine cited a report from 2013 from PwC, a global consulting and accounting firm, which showed that millennials prefer flexibility that permits them to start their workdays later and put in time at night. They do best when they don't feel like "slaves to a desk" or dependent on face time with the boss. While mortgage office work - ers need predictable schedules, it is less true for MLOs, particularly considering that millennials truly live with their mobile devices and are accessible virtually 24 hours a day. The traditional "my way or the highway" approach was a fact of life for a very long time in the mortgage business, but it is less likely to be successful with the millennial generation, due largely to their collaborative experiences in so many facets of their lives. The "Shared Economy" Makes Things Fundamentally Different T he shared economy is a great example of the collab- orative experience that is funda- mental to the millennial mindset. This is the largest generation in U.S. history, and they have never known a time when the world's information was not at their fin- gertips. They have grown up with the capability of having almost ev- erything they could possibly want to buy online and deliverable within 24 to 48 hours. They have gaming consoles that immerse them in virtual environments with cinematic-level graphic real- ism, and they have seen economic and geopolitical catastrophes that have changed the way they think about careers, indebtedness, travel, and many other aspects of society. They communicate instanta- neously with one another, both individually and collectively, from anywhere in the world. All this has led to what Forbes refers to as "an economic model where tech- nologies enable people to get what they need from each other—rather than from centralized institutions." Millennials understandably view the world as a collaborative place where access to transporta- tion, goods, rooms, relationships, opportunities, and ideas are shared concepts. We have been an acquisitive society for a very long time, but the next genera- tion is more interested in sharing goods, services, and ideas than necessarily purchasing them. How can this not make things fundamentally different when it comes to motivating and leading them? Some estimates anticipate that the mortgage industry will need as many as 200,000 new loan officers over the next 10 years, and the business needs to understand, attract, train, and lead those em- ployees. That necessitates having managers and executives capable of recognizing potential in young people and tapping that potential if their companies are going to be successful. Every C-suite executive should be determining whether their managers can adapt to and lead in this inevitable paradigm shift, and just as importantly, what ques- tions they should ask millennials to identify the desired potential in their character. What experiences demonstrate their innate ability to adapt and thrive in shifting envi- ronments like today's mortgage in- dustry? How have they dealt with complex challenges within tightly matrixed parameters analogous to the highly regulated lending world? How do they blend a per- sonal approach with technology to create highly positive borrower experiences? Executives in every aspect of lending need to under- stand and embrace new thinking if they are to lead millennials successfully—and it is up to the C-suite people to find those top executives. Leading Millennials to Succeed R enowned customer service expert and consultant Tony Marbury has written extensively about maximizing millennial potential by unlocking their passion, igniting and fostering their creativity, and by encouraging teamwork. A mortgage lens focused on leading millennials reveals several key governing points: Be idealistic. Make certain the message is not all about market dominance, growth, and making money. Emphasize personal development, group dynamics, and the social purpose of the business. What is the company doing to make the world a better place? How can a young individual contribute to the organization's success? Millennials want to do something important, to make an impact and be inspired. Do you have the platform to encourage and enable this? Many do not. Be inspiring. Lenders are in the business of helping people fulfill their dreams of homeownership and building environments that help families and America thrive. When you look at it that way, few businesses are positioned to do more important work. Inspiration should be part of your communication culture. Be electronic. If your company has not invested in technology, particularly mobile capabilities that allow the sales force to do everything remotely that they can do in the office, it is time. Fortunately, there is great cloud- based technology out there that is surprisingly inexpensive to deploy. The mobile technology should not stop there, however; it must also be aimed at millennial borrowers and others who do most of their Internet activities on phones and tablets rather than on desktop computers. Be networked and team-oriented. You may not be able to have reg - ular meetings with all employees attending in person, but you can communicate regularly via other networking tools. Millennials like being included and staying in the know, particularly using the mobile devices that are rarely out of their reach. Be respectful. When you live in a world where so much of what you do and say can be shared globally in seconds, you learn respect. Millennials are renowned for their ability to get along with others, to pull and assess information, and to learn and adapt. They will seek professional environments that encourage and prosper by expanding those capabilities. The C-Suite Challenge C EOs may not have to have all the answers on hiring, training, inspiring, and managing younger professionals, but it is imperative for them to have executives who do. This is not as simple as it sounds. Experience has taught us that identifying the right executives, tactfully approaching them with an attractive and meaningful value proposition, and then accurately evaluating them has never been easy. It is something that requires exhaustive research, significant experience, and deep industry connectivity, along with a persistent, disciplined focus and tremendous amounts of time. Now, with the differences involved in leading millennials, we are adding an entirely new dimension to the executive recruiting challenge. If you expect to manage and inspire the next generation, you must consider leadership talent that understands the vastly different needs of millennials, recognizes their potential, and is capable of harnessing that potential to make a real difference. These added dimensions complicate the executive search effort enormously, but take heart: The recruiting sector has been preparing for this for a long time. Expert advice is available to help senior leaders prevail over this critical C-suite challenge. RICK GLASS is CEO of Rick Glass Executive Search. He has more than 25 years' experience working with the mortgage industry to identify and secure top-level executive talent. He is available at

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