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Cycles of Change: Embracing Leadership Challenges with Confidence

Cycles of Change: Embrace Leadership Challenges with Confidence


Don’t you love talking to people who have worked through success – you know, through all of the changes with the economy, the market, all the ups and downs? And when they’re still hanging in there (thriving, even) after all of it, it’s just so inspiring, right?

That’s how I feel – and why I’m so excited to share with you some of the best highlights of a recent podcast I did with the successful Terry Barrett, Director, National Builder Division at Movement Mortgage.

I’ve known Terry a long time, and we both agreed that it takes a lot of fortitude and commitment to stay focused on bringing your best game to the grind every day – especially in these times.

Here’s what we talked about:

What do you love about the home-building industry?

Terry started his career in the mortgage business literally calling on any realtor or anybody he could get to take a meeting: “It’s a tough business to break into, but you reach a certain point where you realize, okay, I can make a career out of this, right?”

It wasn’t easy, but eventually Terry says he reached the point where he went from struggling for every deal to actually having a relationship with a builder and being able to help them with their sales. From there, “It just kind of all fell into place for me, and new construction has been my passion from that point onward.”

What about luck? Some people say there’s no such thing as luck, that luck is the combination of being in the right place at the right time – and recognizing it and taking action on it when it’s there.

When you’re new and you’re trying to figure it all out, you’re primed to be able to recognize those opportunties when they come along, and to make sure you’re completely available to take action.

The harder I work, the luckier I get…” was a favorite phrase Terry’s dad used to say.

know, like, trust

Great Relationships are the Foundation of Success

Terry attributes his success to a simple, 3-tier relationship-building process: people must know, like and trust you.

Early on, he started to build his reputation as someone who worked well with new home buyers, and was active in the Home Builder’s Association and the local sales and marketing council.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – building relationships is key.

Moving into a Management & Leadership Role

From helping customers realize their dream of being able to purchase a home and create wealth for themselves, I wanted to know how Terry transitioned into a management and leadership position.

“I was lucky enough to latch on with one of our largest real estate firms here in the Triangle that had a joint venture with one of the largest mortgage companies in the world,” explained Terry. He began managing their new construction department where they had a new homes division with 20 to 30 communities at any given time – that was his base of a referral partner.

Once that venture ended, Terry’s mentor at the large finance company brought him into the national builder division – a big change where he went from originating loans to actually working with builders and putting together relationships for loan officers that worked for that company.

“I became more of a relationship manager, a consultant, a rainmaker – but not actually taking a loan application from a customer and seeing it through to closing. So that was a big change for me – a leap of faith…”

“You have to let go of something that you’ve developed – reasonable, good processes and systems and things like that – and completely change your prospects from just working for yourself to helping other people,” said Terry.

Facing Challenges in Leadership & Life

Change, ChallengesTerry shared that at one point he worked for a company where he always envisioned he’d eventually retire from. But as with everything else in life, things changed. It came to be that there wasn’t enough reason for him to stay there, and decisions had to be made.

That’s when he chose to pursue excellence elsewhere.

When it comes to making big decisions, Terry says it’s about weighing the pros and cons: “when the cons of staying outweigh the pros, and you see opportunity to find something that can reinvigorate your career” – that’s when it’s time for change.

But no one ever said change was easy…

Overcoming the Fear of Change

It’s simple: for Terry, it’s all about those pros & cons. “The pro column kept growing and the con column kept growing and, and ultimately you reach a point where you just say, you’ve got one go round in this world. It’s time to take a calculated risk.”

If you’re embarking on new employment,

  • Ask if you’re comfortable with the company.
  • Take time to do your research.
  • Make a decision.
  • Take the jump!

Failure…or Opportunity? You Choose.

I don’t like to use the word “failure” because they’re often opportunities to pivot and grow, but I had to ask: what does Terry see as his biggest failure?

“It’s been just finding the correct fit,” he replied.

Most of us can relate to that, right?

He recalled his earlier days bouncing around quite a bit before landing the job where he spent most of his career. So it’s about:

  • Finding the people (and path) that support you.
  • Locating a place where you’re comfortable & motivated to work hard.
  • Acknowledging there might will be missteps along the way.

Like the rest of us, Terry once considered getting out of the business entirely – but he’s glad he didn’t.

I love his advice because many folks right now are in their own challenging situation thinking, “I don’t know if this is going to work out, I don’t know if I’m going to cut it, I don’t know if I want to keep going in this.”

That’s where trust comes in – and that starts with yourself. It’s that deep sense of conviction that compels you to persist and never give up. Self-trust can also help you look at the pros & cons to recognize when it’s time to make a change.

And remember: there’s always a gray area. As I quipped to Terry, “I waited for Eric Clapton to call me for the longest time because I was sure he needed a backup singer – and he just never called. So I figured I’ll stick with what I’ve got…”

Leadership is All About Changechange

Terry works in an industry that changes fairly constantly, and most changes are outside his control. How does he manage change and the constant evolution of things he can’t control?

Terry began, “Right now, the mortgage industry is going through a trough, right? Because everybody who owns a home out there has a 3% mortgage on it, rates are in the high sixes, low sevens right now…Most folks are staying put unless they have a life event that is dictating a need to change houses.”

And as we know, life happens: people are still moving to a different city, getting married, having kids, getting divorced.

“The good part of that for us is that there’s still an underlying shortage of homes…the only way out of that is going to be to build our way out of it. Partnering with home builders right now is something that is very lucrative going forward.”

Use downtime to your advantage. Terry continued, “We’re using this little downtime to improve our systems, expand our product offerings, and we’re coming up with ways to partner with builders outside of just doing the loans for their customers to buy the houses on the end. We’re getting into doing vertical financing for builders. We’re helping by aggregating our builders together and creating a buying platform for them to purchase building supplies.”

It doesn’t stop there: “We’ve partnered with a company that provides home plans, and they’re modifiable online. We’re doing a lot of things with large builders.” It’s been fun, says Terry, to come up with new ways to enhance their product and to partner with home builders.

To the Naysayers That Want to Hold You Back…

Terry and I agreed there are a lot of people who do not have that attitude right now, saying things like:

  • Ho, hum, this is terrible.
  • It’s not the way it used to be.
  • The market has gone south.
  • It’s harder than it used to be.
  • I don’t know if I want to keep doing this.

It’s not just people who are in that mode – companies are too. The result? They stagnate, they freeze. It’s the opposite of being creative, strategic and resourceful.

I shared that there are a lot of companies and people not having fun right now. That’s just not the case for Terry.

Let his passion inspire you to:

  • Accept that there are always cycles.
  • Embrace the new.
  • Be proactive.
  • Keep building those relationships.
  • Embark on an adventure!

Of course, we can’t control everything (don’t we all wish). Instead, ask:

What are the things I can control?

Don’t sit at your desk with a “woe is me” mindset, waiting for emails or the phone to ring.

Look ahead to the future: Ask what you can put into place today to be ready for when things turn around, because we know how this works.

Regardless of your industry, Terry’s advice is a great approach to take.

How Are You a Work in Progress today?

Terry says it’s about growth: “Always growing, always trying to move forward and think of new things…” Even if that means thinking outside of the traditional box.

Today, ask yourself – your company: what can we do constantly be growing?

“What do you want to most be known for?” I asked Terry. When he first came to Movement Mortgage, they’d been a realtor-centric company. “When I first started my chats with them, it was under the guise of a builder division, because it didn’t exist. We’ve really created it from scratch. They had some good builder relationships, but it really wasn’t part of their DNA.

I see my goal as to demystify it and to put it top of mind, because even if it’s not your primary source of business, it is a pillar of your business that every successful loan officer should have.

Terry brought that into awareness for Movement and helped them create a structure around it: “If we can grow Movement into one of the top 5 new construction lenders in the country, I’ll consider my mission accomplished.”

You can’t always plan your path. You have to be willing to pivot – no matter what you’ve achieved and accomplished in life, there’s always more. It really is about the journey, not the destination.

Ever filled with wisdom, Terry closed with these thoughts: “I’ve been in this industry a long time, but I still like looking at myself from the outside. I still think I’m kind of new and have got a lot to learn.

I would encourage everybody to always consider how you can improve – and how you can help others improve: your company, your personal partners, your coworkers. That will go a long way towards ultimate success.

Whatever industry you’re in, you already know times are changing fast. See how Strive Leadership Development can help you achieve more & get the results your company needs to stay competitive.

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