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The time to innovate is NOW

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Here we are, 6 days into the new year, and our industry is already rife with news of layoffs across the board, and predictions for additional layoffs waiting in the wings. Barely have we recovered from our holiday celebrations, only to be hit with troubling predictions by experts saying we could lose more than 100k jobs in mortgage lending this year. And these layoffs don’t just impact lenders – they will have a waterfall impact on our partners (fintechs, vendors, providers, you name it) across our ecosystem.

Yes, the refinance boom of the last 24-months may be winding down as rates begin to crawl north of 3%. Yes, our industry is shifting to a purchase market once again. Many in our industry agree that [RG2] those who have been resting on their laurels, i.e. cashing in on the refi boom, will find themselves in some challenging times ahead.

For many of us, this is not our first rodeo. We’ve been through this. Multiple times. And we’ve survived. [RG3] I will even go as far as to say some of us have thrived and came out on the other side stronger and more committed to our cause: to help families realize their dream of home ownership and guide them as they build generational wealth for their families!

So just HOW do you lead your organization during an economic downturn so it can weather this temporary storm – and we know it’s temporary, we just can’t predict how long it will last?

It’s simple, [RG4] really: by investing in our organizations and our people.

While it may be counterintuitive, THIS is the time for leaders to do several things:

1) Focus on the big picture – it may be a quick solution to layoff x number of employees as that will immediately mitigate payroll expenses. Instead, leaders should take a step back, identify what is working and where they have gaps.

2) Focus on your customers – both internal (your employees) and external (those who buy your products and services). Go back and examine any surveys you may have conducted recently. Is there something you can be doing better to improve your customer journey? Is your employee engagement feedback providing insights into your culture or serious breakdowns and bottlenecks? Can you cross-train employees to create more synergy and efficiency?

And finally,

3) Focus on your business growth – this is truly the time to focus on how the business is operating, and to harness technology and innovation to transform every part of your business. This won’t happen overnight –with a strategic roadmap in place that follows Jim Collins’ Good To Great principles of “first who, then what,” you will be setting up your employees, your customers, and your organization for future success.

This is the time to be honest and transparent about what’s happening and what steps you are taking to help your organization weather this storm. While things are slower, your organization has the capacity – the time and the resources – to focus on transforming the business, one small step at a time, starting now, because now is the time to invest in your company’s future and now is the time to innovate, to be different, to support those who have been there for you! Let us show you how.

Knowledge is power! Having a strategy and a plan that you can execute during an economic downturn will be key not only for survival but for your ability to flourish and thrive when the good times return – laissez les bon temps rouler!

As Dan Green opined in his HousingWire piece last week:

The Most Awfullest Time of the Year There’ll be much laying offing And pundrity scoffing And lack of good cheer… It’s the most awfullest time of the year

Yes, sometimes layoffs are inevitable and unavoidable – but they should truly be our last resort! Let’s hope our industry and our leaders get it right this time.

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