What the Mortgage Industry Can Learn From the NBA

May 18 2015

Kobe&Tim San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant

I was speaking with Christina Harbridge, the amazing trainer that did our communication workshop at the Growing Happiness Conference in January, to do a debriefing on the event and the assessment she did with our team back in December. I asked her, “So what do you think?” She said, “Darius, you guys have an amazing team! I was really impressed with their engagement in the event and how much they care about the culture and the company. I noticed however that there appeared to be a theme in the assessment amongst much of your team. There appeared to be an US vs THEM mentality. If I could recommend one area for you to work on this year is to get your team to become ONE unit, ONE TEAM. Not underwriters vs sales, or vice versa.” I thanked Cristina very much and I realized that in our industry we have bred an US vs THEM environment. I have seen it everywhere I have ever worked. Loan Officers vs Processing and Underwriting. Brokers vs Underwriting and Ops. Sellers vs Correspondent Underwriting and QC. It is the age old story SALES vs BACK OFFICE.

In sales we learn that we need to push to make things happen. While in Ops we learn that we need to protect to the company and make sure that sales is not pushing on the wrong file. I believe that it is this mentality that if gone unchecked brings about much of the anguish and heartache that the mortgage industry is known for. Yesterday I was reading an article online regarding who is the best of the best in the last 18 years of basketball, Kobe or Tim Duncan? Now I barely know anything about basketball but it was an interesting idea so I checked it out. It started comparing their accomplishments:

Kobe Bryant – 19 season in the NBA , 5 world championships, 1 Season MVP, 2 Finals MVP, 11 First Team All Star Teams, 2 times scoring leader

Tim Duncan – 18 seasons in the NBA, 5 world championships , 2 Season MVP, 3 Finals MVP, 10 First Team All Star Teams, 0 times scoring leader, 1 Rookie of the Year

Pretty even if you look at the comparison, and based on these numbers one could probably make the argument one way or the other as to who was the better of the two players, the BEST of the modern era of basketball. I then read something that really stood out to me. It was an article quoting Kobe Bryant speaking about Tim Duncan from 2014: “I can’t express to you how much I’m jealous,” said Bryant of the Spurs’ sustained success, "I’ve been up and down.” Kobe went onto say “but the advantage that they've had, and that (Duncan) has had and been very fortunate with, is they've had the same guys since he’s been there. That really helps. You've got Manu there. You've got Tony there. Those guys have been through the ups and downs and they have that familiarity, and then they build with pieces around that. The same coach. The same system. Here, I've had to go through so many different coaches, so many different systems, it’s crazy. But I love watching (Duncan). What they've been able to do is something else.”

Here you have one of the greatest basketball players of all time expressing his envy for someone else in the League. Kobe has been incapable of keeping his team together. He has gone through many coaches and systems and team mates. It has not helped that Kobe is known to be all about Kobe. He makes more than twice what Duncan makes and this has hurt his teams ability to bring in other quality players and he has been known to be very difficult to work with, not considered a team player by many. While Duncan and his team have created a dynasty based on the one and only thing that matters if you want to reach the pinnacle of greatness, they have created the world’s best TEAM in the modern era of basketball. With Kobe it is all about Kobe. With Duncan it is all about the TEAM. This struck me as I read the article as I see this in the mortgage business all the time. My question to all of us at Endeavor and TMS is the following: “Who is your TEAM?” And secondly: “What can we do to become a team like Duncan and San Antonio in an industry filled with Kobes?”

Topics: Team, Grow Happiness, Articles, Darius Mirshahzadeh, The Money Source Inc., Endeavor America Loan Services, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan

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