Residential Magazine

Hold Yourself Accountable in Business and Life

Constant evaluation and goal setting are critical to your professional success

By Bryan Lovell

In an ever-changing mortgage market such as the current one, it is crucial for industry professionals — regardless of their business model — to continually review their current goals and past performance. They can then focus on any changes that need to be made. 

Baseball players watch videos of their performance between at-bats while soccer, basketball and football players alike make necessary adjustments at halftime. Whether they are winning or losing, athletes on every level understand the need to constantly adapt and improve.

Similarly, if they want to remain successful in a constantly evolving market, mortgage originators also must regularly review their goals — and the actions taken to achieve them — so they can quickly make adjustments. Although a significant market shift requires industry professionals to focus mainly on their professional goals, it also is important to take the time to evaluate goals on personal levels as well. These include financial, spiritual, physical fitness and personal relationship goals.

When evaluating your goals, consistency is key. In the mortgage business, victories are typically tabulated at the end of each month. But this approach allows for a mere 12 performance evaluations per year. This is simply not enough in an environment as dynamic as the housing market. 

Therefore, evaluation of your sales activities should be done weekly. By assessing these goals 52 times per year rather than 12, any necessary changes are implemented much more quickly and allow you to always remain on track. When assessing one’s goals and developing a plan to adjust to inevitable changes in the market, it is critical to follow four main guidelines.

Analyze performance

When considering how to adjust to a current market shift, it is important to ponder your objectives and any actions you’ve been taking to achieve them. To do this, one must first examine the current market. Is it up, down or flat? Where has it been and where does it look like it’s going?

There may be gaps to fill, depending on whether your stated goals are being met or even crushed with minimal to no effort. Once these questions are answered, there will be a clearer understanding of what is going right, what is going wrong and which direction to go next.

A helpful way to effectively gauge current and past performance is to create an overall life report card for each category of professional and personal goals. This includes business, financial, physical health, mental health and relationship goals. This honest self-assessment when it comes to your performance is the key to moving forward in a valuable and productive way.

Identify time wasters

After past professional and personal goals are thoughtfully analyzed — and new ones are established to meet the needs of the current market — the next step is to determine obvious time wasters. These can include fruitless activities, as well as toxic or stagnant personal and professional relationships. All of these factors, if not carefully and honestly assessed, can end up causing harm.

In a world of endless choices, there are many ways for people to expend their time and energy. For mortgage originators, it is critical to ask, “Is this action worth the time that’s being spent?” All industry professionals should consider this question frequently as they take action. 

Determining the answer to this question is simple. Any action that results in a return on investment (ROI) is an action worth taking and should be prioritized. The larger the ROI, the more valuable and necessary the action becomes. 

Conversely, any action that yields no positive impact on ROI is both inefficient and detrimental to the process of successfully reaching a goal, whether it be professional or personal. By thoughtfully evaluating the answer to this question before taking action, idle time wasters can be quickly eliminated so that goals can efficiently and effectively be met.

Pivot accordingly

For the most part, life (like the mortgage market) is constantly shifting and will continue to do so. As interest rates increase, refinances slow, housing inventory remains tight and buyers begin to take a wait-and-see approach, mortgage originators are being forced to adjust yet again.

Adjustments are helpful to one’s personal and professional growth, but they also are essential for survival. By looking at these adjustments as opportunities to evolve, rather than as obstacles that must be overcome, you set yourself up for greater levels of success.

Change is necessary for improvement. Remaining stagnant in an ever-changing environment demonstrates an inability to evolve. This will only lead to further frustration and difficulty in reaching even the simplest goals, because even these tasks evolve. Therefore, adaptation is one of the most useful survival skills to have in both business and in life.

Establish accountability

In the end, accountability is key. This means putting practice into action. Rules and guidelines are easy enough to create and discuss, but they are quite useless if they are not being followed or if constant exceptions are being made. To create a standard and then honestly work toward it by taking the appropriate actions is the only way to succeed and grow as a mortgage originator — or in any business, for that matter. 

Accountability means finally setting an appointment with a financial adviser; hiring a personal career or life coach; following through with commitments to family members, such as special outings or spending time together; and making goals public on both a professional and personal level. Accountability is the only way to ensure that actions will be taken to reach new and ever-evolving goals.

Success and growth, on every level, is created by constant self-evaluation of past and present performance, as well as the ability to swiftly adapt to business and life changes. It requires honesty and an understanding that what may have worked in the past may not necessarily work in future situations (in fact, it most likely will not).

This is the reality of working in an industry as dynamic as real estate finance. The only way to successfully reach one’s goals is to understand and accept this inherent truth. ●


  • Bryan Lovell

    Bryan Lovell serves as vice president at Highland Mortgage. Lovell joined Highland after 16 years in the industry and believes in the vision to create a company for loan originators, built by loan originators. He is a John Maxwell Leadership Team-certified speaker, coach and trainer. He is driven by serving others to discover their unique strengths, facilitating personal and professional growth, and creating environments where people thrive and contribute their best. Reach Lovell at (813) 727-1867.

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