Alter company culture on an individual level
by Jason Forrest, CEO at Forrest Performance Group
If you want to push drive in your mortgage company, look for people who bring positive energy to every situation. When you have teams full of that sort of energetic buy-in, you’ll break new plateaus.
At our most recent quarterly meeting at my company, Forrest Performance Group (FPG), we put everyone in our organization through a drive-related exercise. We had each person pick 10 of the attitudes that drive them every day out of a long list, and then narrowed that down to four core drivers. We printed out a graphic of each person’s core drivers and handed one out to every employee.
This not only provided us with an individual snapshot of what drives us, but gave us a map as a company of what collectively drives us. Our top driver? Family. Next? Gratitude.
A key behavior you can observe from a person fully locked in drive is that they bring positive energy to every situation. The fact that gratitude was our second-biggest driver was huge, because as a company we recognize and teach our clients that gratitude is necessary in all situations as a driver for positivity. The important distinction we don’t often make is that we don’t have to have gratitude for every situation, but we need to have gratitude in every situation. See the difference?
In the past, we’ve hosted large production events that require tons of planning, outreach, and large scale coordination. As anyone who’s done event planning knows, there are a lot of moving pieces. And that means long hours and heaping helpings of stress. At an event a few years ago, we put in tiring 16-hour shifts during the event, and there were hiccups as there always are. Many times it’s things we notice that the audience doesn’t, but at the end of the day it’s all too easy to focus on those things and ignore what went right.
When the final tiring day was over, our team slumped into chairs in a conference room and began recounting our failures in detail. The motive was pure; we wanted to avoid those things for the next conference. But the negative energy quickly snowballed and soon everyone was only focusing on what went wrong. It quickly became a woe-is-me session.
To refocus the energy, I gave our team a task right there: write down 100 things that went right or that you were proud of from the event, and read aloud every single one to the room. Then, and only when we finished, would we talk about things we needed to do differently for the next year. The mood quickly shifted and we realized the event went quite a bit better than we initially allowed ourselves to believe.
Our takeaway as a company was that there’s always time for gratitude, and there’s always time to start positive. Ever since that event, we always start with what we’re grateful for in those situations to put us in the right mindset to creatively and energetically come up with solutions for the next time.
It’s all too easy to beat up on ourselves. Scientific research suggests that we spend the majority of our thought-processing time – up to 70% in fact – thinking about our failures. And according to a joint research study done by Yale and California-Berkeley, this kind of internal negative reinforcement only makes the problem worse, not better, because it only fixates us on the past without giving us concrete solutions for the future. Not only that, but it can drive us into depression and hinder our ability to problem solve. Not good.
It’s not as simple as just deciding to think positively, either. It may work over a period of days, or even weeks, but not over the long haul. Those negative thoughts come from core beliefs and stories we tell ourselves about our abilities, goals and drivers. If we don’t believe we’re enough, and we don’t tell positive stories about ourselves internally, then those negative thoughts will always creep in.
One of our coaching constants with our clients is to help them see that each individual employee is enough. They have within them the ability to succeed and live into their core drivers, and when reinforced by their leaders this naturally leads to a more positive frame of mind. Our circumstances can’t change who we are, but a negative environment can convince us we’re not capable of reaching our potential. By qualifying and walking your clients through the lending process, that’s exactly what you’re doing too. You’re a source of confidence, motivation, hope and certainty for your customers. And you access that by bringing positive energy to every interaction.
Our method of training encourages professionals to grow over time by changing the culture of the company on an individual level. It starts with our past programming, which drives our beliefs about who we are and what we’re capable of. Those beliefs drive our emotions, which in turn drive our behaviors, and it’s those behaviors that drive results.
One of the most important programming malfunctions I see are past inhibitors that stop us from bringing positivity to every situation. Once we alter that programming and change our beliefs about ourselves, we’ll come to see that we’re enough and can be a beacon of positivity every day.
Jason Forrest is the CEO at Forrest Performance Group in Fort Worth, Texas. Jason is a leading authority in behavior change and an expert at creating high-performance sales and best-place-to-work cultures through complete training programs. FPG has won five international awards for its behavior change programs in sales, leadership and customer service. Connect with Jason @jforrestspeaker on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.