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As a consultant, I am endlessly curious about what separates the most successful leaders from the merely mediocre. What are the key determining factors that cause one company to outrageously succeed while another merely skates by—or ceases to exist altogether. When I talk to the most successful leaders in the mortgage industry, it almost always comes back to one single factor—organization culture.
Time and again, the top executives in the mortgage industry talk about the workplace culture. They may not even mention their business models, their competitive strategies, their use of technology, or many other factors that may play a role, but they almost always bring up the way their people function as a team and experience the mission of the company. If you're a leader in the industry and you're looking to improve, then, the one area you should focus on above all others is that of your team's culture.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, I am met with cynicism by some when I explain the value of culture. Some of the industry folks I speak with shrug off culture as too fluffy or abstract of a concept. "It doesn't really matter," they argue, "that's just what executives say." My response to that is, "Well, culture may be important or it may not. But there's only one way to find out ..." Invariably, I find that when executives invest in their organization's culture—no matter how doubtful they were to begin with—they are pleasantly surprised by the results they see.
As human beings, we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We want be part of groups in which we're both valued and valuable. We want to make a difference. And this doesn't just apply to our social, religious, and civic groups—it also applies to the workplace. If you can create a workplace in which your people can see themselves as fulfilling an important mission—rather than simply doing their jobs—I guarantee you'll be well on your way to success.
David Lykken, a 43-year veteran of the mortgage industry, is president of Transformational Mortgage Solutions (TMS), a management consulting firm that provides transformative business strategies to owners and “C-Level” executives via consulting, executive coaching and various communications strategies. He is a frequent guest on FOX Business News and hosts his own weekly podcast called “Lykken On Lending” heard Monday’s at 1:00 p.m. ET at LykkenOnLending.com. David’s phone number is (512) 759-0999 and his e-mail is [email protected].