2018: The CLEAR Course to Success

A new year often brings optimism and determination for individuals and companies to make changes that are inspired by both voluntary and involuntary triggers: There are changes we want to make and changes we have to make. Companies and mortgage loan officers alike regularly adjust in shifting market conditions to maintain and grow production and profit. Other changes imposed by outside forces that must also become an integral part of doing business are not as readily accepted or adeptly made because they’re required for survival rather than promoting success.

While businesses are three times more successful at making and sustaining change than individuals, the numbers aren’t terribly impressive either: The percentage of Americans who felt they were successful at keeping their New Year’s resolutions, for example, was only 9.2% at the end of 2016, compared to a 30% average success rate for companies implementing change and seeking to sustain it over time. In today’s rapidly-evolving technological ecosystem, companies who only successfully execute necessary change a third of the time won’t survive.  

Changes that result in desired benefits are easier to sell and execute within an organization for obvious reasons. But the types of change facing the mortgage industry today and the rate at which they become imperative have created an unforgiving environment for companies who are slow to react and unprepared for internal resistance. Change is inevitable and continuous; mortgage companies must adapt or they will cease to exist through insolvency or absorption. 

Success in the industry today requires total commitment from top leadership to ongoing transformation, and they must stay engaged from announcement through implementation and adoption to ensure sustainability. Successful change requires looking beyond the pain of change to identify its extended benefits, overcoming resistance and a solid roadmap that management fully commits to and integrates into day-to-day operations. How can companies create receptivity within the ranks, and ingrain the motivation to prepare, execute and adopt necessary changes? By getting CLEAR.

The CLEAR Course divides action steps for instituting successful general and specific changes and establishing a culture of change expectancy into five areas required to get desired results in the short and long term:  clarity, leadership, engagement, agility and review.  Each CLEAR step is based on actions taken by companies who reported a 79% success rate for organizational change – three times the average for all transformations – in the 2015 McKinsey Global Survey on transformation.  The entire CLEAR Course is available in our eBook “Change Expectations:  Mastering Organizational Change in the Mortgage Industry.”

As we enter what is predicted to be another brisk year for business, don’t settle for processes that yield 30% success rates (like change management) to drive your goals and adapt your organization to inevitable change imposed by technology, market and other factors. Even the change readiness approach is already on the path to becoming outmoded as a miracle solution to industry challenges because it deals primarily with the front end of transformation and doesn’t necessarily provide instructions for sustainability.

To survive and succeed, companies must recognize that the principles and processes for dealing with change aren’t outside of – or in addition to – the philosophy, premise and practice of running your organization. They must be infused and internalized. Choose and commit to tools and processes that will allow your operation to pivot easily, eliminate inflexibility and learn from your mistakes. Are you ready to take the CLEAR Course to success in 2018?