W.I.N. Revisited by Stewart Mednick

by 29 Oct 2009

I have been writing this column for just over two years. I was perusing through some of the first articles I wrote as I reminisced over the anxiety I felt as I painfully and passionately typed each word wondering if the audience would enjoy this idea. I wanted each word to be meaningful and each sentence to explode with brilliance and each paragraph to conjure thought provoking stimulation….

Ok, a bit over the top, I know. But, I really wanted to stress that there are different ways to work. There are a variety of actions that, in various combinations, can build and grow your business. I wanted this column, “Tip of the Month,” to be the first page a subscriber would turn to see what new ideas I had to be implemented to make this month’s sales or closings a bit better than last month for you. You are the subscriber. You are my target audience. And since I am still here writing to you and you are still here reading, two years later, we are both doing something right.
 
So what makes a successful business? What drives an ambitious mortgage professional? What are the nuts and bolts to the daily grind that keeps the passion alive and the fire in our bellies lit? A W.I.N.ning strategy may be one of those things.
 
I wrote about this concept in the November 2007 issue of The Niche Report. The opening paragraphs went something like this:
 
The other day, I was chatting with a friend and fellow football coach, Haywood Simmons. Yes, I am an assistant varsity football coach at a local high school. I love the game and as a former football player myself, I believe that many lifelong lessons are learned on the grid-iron. Coach Simmons and I were sitting at my kitchen table sipping morning coffee. Every time he raised his mug for a sip, I was mesmerized by the large, multi-jeweled National Championship ring adorning his right hand. He earned the ring in the 1993-1994 season as a defensive tackle for the Wisconsin Badgers football team after beating UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
 
“Hey Coach,” I started, “I bet you have some great stories of the glory days, huh?”
“Some of the greatest lessons in life I learned from Head Coach Barry Alvarez. He is, to this day, one of the most influential people in my life. He taught me about the ‘W.I.N.ning Strategy’ I use in my everyday life….” 
 
W.I.N. What’s Important Now.
 
I listened intently as I learned about using time wisely and prioritizing events.   I started to think of many motivational and time management gurus and how many of the tips I gleaned from them over years seemed to fit nicely into this framework. Mundane, unprofitable and unanticipated tasks have a way of eating up massive chunks of time in any business day. Here are some suggestions for focusing on profitable and important tasks daily with W.I.N.
 
The wonderful aspect of W.I.N. is the ability to easily customize a system to fit anyone’s needs for any event or length of time. In all situations, the first step is to determine relevance of activities to a specific goal. Perhaps you are prioritizing necessary actions to clear conditions on a loan amongst other daily activities like returning phone calls, keeping appointments outside of the office, or responding to emails….
 
…Assessing which tasks to do immediately can be pooled in two categories: what tasks are prerequisites for goal completion and what tasks makes money. Each task should stage the next one on the list when completed, so a natural progression and smooth transition from task to task transpires. When a task is completed, think to yourself, “What’s Important Now” and move to that task, which should be the next one staged from the newly accomplished task. Seems easy and obvious, but a good way to mentally take a role-call of tasks and the order they will be performed….
 
Over the years, I have contemplated, expanded and refined many work flow concepts. I still like this because it has an easy elegance about it. 
 
What’s Important Now? How do I know what’s important now? I know that I should prioritize. I know I need to keep my eye on the money. But am I logically or emotionally reconciling the next action?
 
I believe there are two methods to making a decision. The preferred method is logical. Logic makes sense. It is a thought-out process and an end to a means may be obtained. The not-so-preferred method is emotional. These decisions are seldom sound actions. We regret these frequently. Emotions suck, to put it bluntly. Emotions get us in trouble. These decisions are snap judgments that reveal themselves in the form of a raised voice, foul language, hasty actions, and lack of listening…especially to logic itself. 
 
I will say it again, emotions suck.
 
Tom Hanks summed it up best as a lush baseball manager for a women’s league in the movie A League of Their Own, “Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball!” Yes, there is no room for emotional decisions, is what he really would like to have said if he was sober (alcohol logic is not open for discussion in this column).
 
Logically, you need to ask: “Where is the pain?”  Where do you need to focus to cure the pain? What’s Important Now is subtitled, Where’s the pain because I have a hypodermic needle with morphine ready to kill it! The pain could be a decrease in sales. It could be issues with retention of employees. It could be lack of repeat business from customers. What’s important now is where the weakest link is in your business.
 
So now that I can figure out what really is important, how do I blaze a trail of success? Many people equate success with luck. The most successful are the luckiest. Ever notice that? Bill Gates is the luckiest man on earth. He just happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right idea pitched to the right people for the right product…. That is just too many “rights.” Luck has many definitions. All the definitions read like a recipe; one part inspiration, another part preparation, another part perspiration, blah, blah, blah. 
 
I do not believe in luck, personally. I believe in effort. Effort, to me, has four elements: rigor, persistence, passion, and endurance. Next month, I will break down these elements and apply effort, as I define it, to making sales.
 
To create a new habit, one must continuously reinforce an action over a period of three weeks. Apply the W.I.N.ning strategy through to the next issue, and then see how lucky, uh, effort-y you are.
 
Stewart Mednick is a seasoned mortgage banker and published author. His writing focuses on relationship development, personal empowerment, customer satisfaction, marketing and sales techniques. Stewart is available for marketing consulting, personal coaching and training sessions. If you have a comment or a question for Stewart, contact him at 651-895-5122 or smednick1@netzero.net

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