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As you become more of a leader in the mortgage industry, you will increasingly face the temptation to lose touch with what's going on in the frontlines. When you're at the top level, doing interviews with trade publications, attending conferences, and chatting about the workings of the industry from a higher level, you can lose sight of what's going on with your employees and consumers. Don't get me wrong ... I believe all of these things—industry news, conferences, etc.—are important to becoming a stronger leader. But, you've also got to pay attention to what's going on at the ground level.
There's a powerful scene in the third Rocky movie. Rocky has gotten famous and is starting to get comfortable with his celebrity status. He pays more attention to the interviews he is doing than improving as a boxer. As a result, his technique suffers and his performance begins to slide. When he approaches his trainer for advice, he receives the following explanation: "The worst thing that can happen to any fighter—you got civilized."
Sometimes, as leaders in the mortgage industry, I think we can get too civilized. We can get too high-level and too generic. If we really want to make a difference in our organizations and the industry, we should spend some time each day talking with the people on the front end. We should talk to our LOs. We should talk to our consumers. We should talk to people at the very root from which our industry grows. Only then will any conversations we have at a higher level actually make sense.
David Lykken is 40-year mortgage industry veteran who has been an owner operator in three mortgage banking companies and a software company. As a former business owner/operator, today David loves helping C-Level executives and business owners achieve extraordinary results via consulting, coaching and communications, with the objective of eliminating corporate dysfunction, establishing and communicating a clear corporate strategy while focusing on process improvement and operational efficiencies resulting in increased profitability. David has been a regular contributor on CNBC and Fox Business News and currently hosts a successful weekly radio program, “Lykken on Lending,” that is heard each Monday at noon (Central Standard Time) by thousands of mortgage professionals. He produces a daily one-minute video called “Today’s Mortgage Minute” that appears on hundreds of television, radio and newspaper Web sites across America. He may be reached by phone at (512) 501-2810 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.