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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2008

How to Manage Projects: 10 Tips

Follow pointers for successful project management and watch your business grow

Whether you are a mortgage broker, a loan originator or a loan officer, you must keep your eye on how to grow and build your business. One place you may not have looked for growth potential is the discipline of project management.

Project management not only is about efficiency and effectiveness, but it’s also about meeting deadlines, achieving short- and long-term goals, building teams and communicating clearly.

Sound familiar? These are things mortgage professionals need to do to be successful and take their businesses to the next level.

Here are 10 ways that project management can help grow your business:

  1. Show results: Project management is about getting things done. When you improve your skills, you’ll get things done more quickly. More important, you learn how to document the results. In our careers, we are often as good as our last hit. You want to keep charting, year after year, with success after success.
  2. Be efficient: Project management teaches you how to best use resources to generate the best results in the least amount of time. This is especially important in the mortgage industry. At the end of every loan, you capture best practices and lessons learned. You create an invaluable documentation of hits and misses.
  3. Create an ongoing dialogue: One mistake I often see in business is the assumption that after just one phone call or meeting, the communication ends and somehow everything will still get done. Your communication skills are not about your vocabulary. They are about how you manage your communication. Are you communicating frequently enough and with clarity?
  4. Play well with others: When people hear the word teamwork, they often groan or they say that they are, of course, team players. Bring it back to kindergarten. Do you play well with others? Do other people want to be on your team? Do they respect you? Do you listen to what others have to say? Good project managers know when to lead and when to get out of the way.
  5. Let your confidence shine: When someone shows confidence, everyone in the room feels it, too. Having confidence makes you feel more competent in your work, and that reflects onto your co-workers and your clients.
  6. Keep your commitments: Missed deadlines and projects that slip through the cracks are career-killers, especially for a mortgage broker. Project-management skills focus on timelines and results that build your reputation and give people a reason to trust you.
  7. Get a grip: Good managers don’t have to freak out. They can remain calm and in control because they have a project agreement with all the critical information. They know when all the deadlines are and who is responsible for what and when. They also document changes. Everyone wants to have someone on the team who can stay calm when a loan file gets rocky and who can bring stability to chaos.
  8. Adapt to change: Don’t ignore change. As evidenced in the mortgage industry in the past year, companies change, and people come and go. Good project managers know they often have to adapt their plans and document how change impacts the entire project.
  9. Know what you don’t know: What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you need to move to the next level? Once you have a solid foundation of project-management skills, keep building on that foundation. Don’t stagnate. Continual learning and a thirst for knowledge are fuel for the engine of success.
  10. Lead with purpose and passion: People will follow those who know what they are doing and who can generate results. Project management is a powerful leadership tool. It not only shows us how to keep our eye on the prize and the purpose, but it also is about the passion to achieve and succeed. Nothing feels better than accomplishment.

Before looking for new software or a magic elixir to build your business, bone up on your project-management skills. They could give you a new avenue for growth just when you need it most.


 


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