Enthusiasm is contagious! The mortgage industry is experiencing many challenges, but this is still a great industry to be in. When you’re enthusiastic about what you do it can change the mood of the people around you, the mood of people you connect with and set the tone for all of your interactions. Brand enthusiasm therefore creates better relationships with your clients, prospects and business referrers.
Many brands lack enthusiasm in their culture which can actually be reflected in the bottom line. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Typically on the job, people have a basic energy level which is one of acceptance. Acceptance means that you’re content with your position, but excitement about it is non-existent until it’s time to go to lunch or meet your friends in the break room. This is the level at which most businesses operate. Successful, evolving companies must operate at a much higher level.
If you’re going to succeed at building a culture of enthusiasm, it needs to be grounded in something real, driven by something great that you really believe in!
Here are some key considerations for building a culture of enthusiasm…
- Assess how well your loan officers and/or employees understand your brand and therefore what they’re getting behind when they come to work each day. By assessing their understanding, you’ll discover where gaps exist between your understanding and theirs. Brand confusion, or just a lack of understanding of your brand can be a factor in compromising the level of enthusiasm in the work environment.
- Act on your newly obtained brand insight. Now that you’ve gathered some intelligence about the level of understanding of your brand internally…you can take steps to closing any gaps in understanding. The goal is to accomplish two things:
- Articulate exactly who you are as a company, why you exist and what makes you different.
- Back up what you say with proof. If you can’t prove, for example, that your technology, process, service or what have you is better, then your people won’t be able to get behind your company as passionately as you would like.
- Review all of your communications to see how well they fit within the brand you wish to convey. Look at your website, printed pieces of all types including any fliers your branch managers, LO’s or other sales reps are handing out…everything. Make a commitment to bringing them all in line with the same look, feel and language that reinforces your brand. Establish policies and procedures with respect to future communication pieces not developed by the corporate office so you can monitor and approve them.
- Celebrate your brand! Create a company-wide event that’s fun and engaging where you will unveil a new brand essence statement derived from your research and subsequent meetings. Lead up to this big unveil with excitement so you can rally everyone behind it. The new brand essence statement must clearly articulate who you are, what makes you different and why you exist so that all of your people understand what you’re about and know what they’re getting behind when they come to work each day. The unveil must be company-wide excitement, camaraderie and a sense of team. What it CANNOT be is a memo distributed to employees by email and hangs in the break room. It requires your engaging, dynamic personality and enthusiasm… in-person!
- Make sure your people understand how their individual roles play a role in moving the company vision forward and outward into your target audience. Employees who understand their purpose in a company are proven to have much higher levels of job satisfaction. Essentially there are two touch point categories with your target audience…primary and secondary. Primary touch points are sales people, your receptionist, website…anyone or anything that has direct customer contact. Secondary touch points include loan processors, IT department, bookkeeping…all the people who work “behind the scenes” in addition to the technology that makes it all work smoothly. These people and technology have a very important role because without them doing their part, everything else is compromised.
- Look beyond the internal brand launch. Launching your brand and getting everyone marching to the beat of the same drummer is important. Equally important is sharing with everyone your vision for the future! Many brands focus on the here and now…they hit a certain level of success, become complacent and fail to evolve further which eventually leads to their demise as competitors surpass them. Be sure to get your people involved in moving that vision forward by establishing what we call “momentum groups.” Momentum groups are designed to lead charges in specific areas. For example, you might have one momentum group established that has the responsibility of improving communications with business referrers and the borrower throughout all steps of the loan process. Another momentum group could be established to assess all marketing pieces, purging all items that don’t fit and updating others. Yet another momentum group could be developed to review current business relationships and how they reinforce your brand. Others may be established as well as you think through the re-trenching of your brand. Make sure everyone gets involved in these momentum groups. This will engage them with your brand directly so they understand how their work has a direct effect on the company, setting a new standard.
When people are enthusiastic about their jobs, that enthusiasm spreads. Taking the steps mentioned will go a long way in driving an enthusiastic culture at your company.
Unfortunately, not all will follow suit. There are those that may breed cynicism about whether or not you’re really going to change because “nothing ever changes around here,” or some may simply not accept the change because they would rather not be challenged to do anything different than they have been for years. Watch out for these people and take action with them immediately. Great things are happening and if they don’t want to believe it or take part in it for whatever reason, they will create their own little set of misguided “talking points” that they’ll share with other employees over lunch, in the break room and at other venues, possibly even online. So just cut ties with them as soon as you find them if you don’t think you can bring them around.
If you are committed to a change in culture and creating one of true enthusiasm, then your commitment must be unflappable. The enthusiasm you express will infiltrate the ranks of your company. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities to praise accomplishment, encourage feedback and let your people know that you’re open to any new, great ideas that meet with the company vision.