Modern Lending Podcast | Brian Covey

Alec has Brian Covey, one of the Southeast’s top mortgage professionals and Vice President of Regional Production for TN, AL, MS and LA Sales Teams. They Talk about what it takes to be a modern leader and going all in on their teams.

Your snippet of this episode of the Modern Lending Podcast:

  • Nothing that is substantial comes overnight.
  • Focus needs to shift to making real human connections over digital means.
  • What if you didn't have to do it all yourself?
  • Results should lead your search for coaches; even the best have coaches.

Episode Transcribe

Alec:
What's up, Modern Lending Podcasters.

Get ready, buckle up, episode six is dropping right now with my boy Brian Covey.

Look, we're going to unpack what it's like to be a professional soccer player, what it's like to go all in on social media. I mean, this guy's got 60-something-thousand followers on Instagram, almost 30,000 followers on LinkedIn. And more importantly, what it's like to be a contemporary modern leader. With all the changes happening in our industry that all of our loan professionals are dealing with, trust me, if you are a leader in the space, you're dealing with massive change too. So, lets unpack it. Let's not wait any longer. Let's bring on Brian Covey.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, here we are. Brian Covey in the studio, in the house, in the flesh.

Brian:
We're here.

Alec:
This is really happening right now.

Brian:
Yeah, man.

Alec:
Man, I'm so intimidated by your muscles. I know, it's just, you've been crushing the morning workouts, I've been following you on the Gram. I need to get back, I need to get strong.

Brian:
I was lifting out there, you have the setup. So, I had to get some reps in.

Alec:
For the listeners, there's a pull up rig outside of our office, so we're maniacs here. Crossfit-ers and insanity. But look man, I'm pumped to talk to you. Because there's been a lot of cool themes that have been on the different episodes of the Modern Lending Podcast. Where you have a unique viewpoint into the industry, is as a contemporary leader who has grown up in the industry to a degree, and now is facing the modern age. Leading a tremendous team, and I'll let you kind of break that down for everybody listening. But man, it's going to be really fun to get into the meat of what is modern leadership in lending.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
That's going to be a fascinating topic, there's a bunch of people out there who listen to this, who are looking at leaders, wanting to be leaders, are leaders. And there's unpacking all of the ... I mean, we talk about the change for our loan originators and it's massive, what they're having to deal with. But it's also massively changing for the leaders.

Brian:
100%.

Alec:
Okay. So, let's go back.

Brian:
Okay.

Alec:
Before mortgage, what were you doing with your life?

Brian:
Playing soccer, playing in a band, living the life.

Alec:
Okay. Hold on, but you say playing soccer, what does playing soccer mean? Because I played soccer too. What does playing soccer mean?

Brian:
I was the guy that grew up and played competitively through college, played a little bit professionally, that was my dream.

Alec:
Oh, a little bit professionally. Just a little bit in there, a little bit. Wait. Where? What does that mean? I don't know.

Brian:
In Nashville. So, it's kind of like you have MLS and all that going on now. So, I was one of those guys.

Alec:
What was your position?

Brian:
Goal keeper.

Alec:
Keeper.

Brian:
Second shortest, maybe the shortest goal keeper in the league.

Alec:
Everyone on YouTube, everyone's going on the YouTube channel now to be like, "How tall is this guy?"

Brian:
Claim to fame.

Alec:
Dude, that's epic.

Brian:
Yeah. Yeah, be the short guy out there, you'll get a lot of attention.

Alec:
So, the soccer career winded down.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
And what'd you do?

Brian:
Yeah, so I was finishing up school. I had left to go play, so the draft took me out, went and played a little bit. Came back, finished my degree.

Alec:
Nice.

Brian:
And then realized okay, I need to get a real job that actually pays the bills.

Alec:
I love professional athletes who are like, "I got to do something else."

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
It's part of the life though, it's part of the cycle.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
So, what'd you do?

Brian:
It was time. So, I'd actually met now my wife, Nicole, who you've met. And I decided I need to get a real job because I need to impress her father. Right? I need to propose, this has got to work.

Alec:
Ooh. Impress the father.

Brian:
Soccer wasn't going to do it.

Alec:
Yeah, yeah.

Brian:
So, I saw friends going out and they're in finance. I had a lot of my friends' dads that were in business and they were in capital markets and working for banks. And I thought okay, well I liked economics, I like finance, I like all these things here. What do I go do? And I literally showed up to the job fair, and being an athlete you walk through the job fair and you realize, "Okay-"

Alec:
Oh my gosh.

Brian:
Oh man, these guys are here. Wells Fargo Financial Recruiter there, he's like, "We hire athletes, we hire people that are competitive. We bonus you." I'm like, "This is great, I can compete."

Alec:
"Bonuses sound good, I like bonuses."

Brian:
I was like, "What's this all about?" They're like, "Don't worry, we'll train you, we'll teach you." So, that was my introduction into the business.

Alec:
So, there's proof that there's life outside of Wells. You survived.

Brian:
I did it 13 years.

Alec:
13 years, you actually are semi-competent, congratulations.

Brian:
Yes.

Alec:
That's amazing.

Brian:
Yes. Bootcamp.

Alec:
Bootcamp.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
After Wells, what'd you do?

Brian:
Went over to Movement Mortgage, had been introduced to those guys. And I knew, I could see the shift that was happening and I knew I needed to get out of the bank culture. And for me to really grow and expand, so I connected up with those guys. I actually had one of the managers there recruit me to be their manager, which is always fascinating. He said, "Hey, come join our team."

Alec:
[inaudible 00:04:28] in a minute. Yeah, that's awesome.

Brian:
Yeah, that was pretty cool. And had a great run with those guys, really enjoyed it. But it got me out of the bank and introduced me to more independent lending and just what was happening there and that was a cool journey.

Alec:
Fast forward a little bit, give everybody who's listening kind of your scope of management today. Let them understand kind of what your chess board looks like.

Brian:
Man, we're growing fast. So, you ask me today and what it'll be in the future will be crazy.

Alec:
Yeah, when this actually comes out and posted, it'll be different.

Brian:
When it comes out. So, today our team is about 100 originators, and that will change in a week, it'll be more.

Alec:
We'll be at 200.

Brian:
Yeah, we'll keep growing. We'll do probably $1.2 billion this year. We've continued to grow at about 100% rate over the last two years. I'll be celebrating two years here the end of March.

Alec:
Nice, congrats.

Brian:
Yeah, and we continue to grow. We've got eight states and we've got a long way to go.

Alec:
How many sales leaders do you have? Branch managers, sales leaders, area managers? How many do you have that are leading originators with you alongside you?

Brian:
Yeah, so right at 15 when you include some of our sales managers that want to grow to branch managers. So, I'm helping them grow and build there. And then we've got branch managers, one just got promoted to an area manager. So, Chad just took on that role.

Alec:
We don't want to talk about Chad.

Brian:
No.

Alec:
No.

Brian:
Chad doesn't get in this one.

Alec:
Chad does not get in this. Chad you are not allowed. He snuck in as like the number one branch in the country, so we're not going to talk about you.

Brian:
Yeah. Yeah, he crushed it.

Alec:
Okay, that's a great view of scope. Billion dollar plus region, 15 plus management team, 100 plus loan officer team by the time this kind of launches and everybody's listening. So, that's a pretty large scale operation. That's epic. There's a lot going on in that world. So, what I want to start to unpack and lean into is a couple things. For you personally, I want to talk about social media for a second. I mean, it's becoming a mandatory crucial skillset and topic for our originators.

Brian:
Absolutely.

Alec:
You can't ignore it. And by the way, it's been ignored for too long. I think that's safe to say. I think our industry has ignored it for too long. Other industries have capitalized way faster than us. And a lot of traditional mortgage local professionals are either on there to kind of stalk around or trying to figure out how to leverage it. You've got a tremendous social media impact and presence. 60,000 plus Instagram connections. How many on LinkedIn and Facebook, do you know offhand?

Brian:
About 32,000 on LinkedIn.

Alec:
Ah, you beat me. You son of a ...

Brian:
I'm trying to keep growing.

Alec:
I got to work harder.

Brian:
I'm going to 50,000 this year, that's my ... I'm going to get there.

Alec:
All right. Okay, so you got this.

Brian:
You'll pass me.

Alec:
When did you start going all in, into the social media game?

Brian:
Yeah, so probably about three years ago I recognized some of those shifts happening in my own business and I realized-

Alec:
What'd you see? What'd you notice?

Brian:
Here's what I started to see, is people were going on their phones more. Right? And we started to see Facebook, people are starting to connect there. I started to see people connecting with me that I thought, with me on social media, "Well, maybe I should do the same thing." And I started to make actual real connections that I would meet people in person, whether they were in Nashville or another market. I thought, "Okay, there's some power behind this." Because if you reach out to me and I'm willing to connect with you, chances are there's other people that I want to do business with, that if I reached out to them in the right way, not send them my pitch and try to sell them, but actually connect with them, there's something there that I could get to more people than I could ever get to just making phone calls and dialing.

Alec:
Man, I hope everybody heard that message. Two things to unpack there. Number one, three years of work and effort to get to that level. It's not overnight, nothing's overnight. Lewis has the quote, C.S. Lewis, "You're never too old to dream a new dream."

Brian:
Love that.

Alec:
So, you coming in and going, "I'm seeing the trend, I've got to start engaging," and building it from there, shows everybody that's listening the possibility. The second thing you said that was gold, was that you were making real human connection digitally. Because a lot of people think it's about followers. It's not.

Brian:
No.

Alec:
It's not. For those of you that are listening, and we'll throw some social links in for Brian, but you honestly are one of the most authentic connectors with people. I mean, I'm trying to learn from you on this. I've told you this before, so you know this is true. When you are commenting on somebody on social, break down what's going through your head. Because you're engaged actively across these platforms.

Brian:
Yeah, I've just recognized for me there's a way that I can engage with people immediately there and give them feedback about a post they had. And I think everybody's innate desire is they want to be validated and they want somebody to come-

Alec:
Oh, please everyone hear that point right there. Say it again.

Brian:
People want to be validated.

Alec:
Yes.

Brian:
And they want to be cheered on. And I think a lot of us are starting to put things out on social media that we're like, "Should I put this out?" And they're testing boundaries and feeling it out what works. And if I can come alongside and I resonate with the message and then I encourage what you're doing, you're now going to reciprocate that and go, "You know what? Brian comes alongside me and actually validates what I'm doing."

Alec:
This is absolutely the gold strategy for social media. Because it's authentic and it's right. But guys, hear it. Okay? Imagine your own insecurity, and I talk about this a ton, when you want to put yourself on social media. If you're going to film yourself and put yourself out there, everyone in your head go to that space, imagine what that feels like. Isn't it wonderful when somebody like a Brian comes along and encourages you, not gives constructive criticism like, "Hey dude, put the lighting better and fix the camera angle." But more like, "I resonate with what you're saying." And I've seen you do this all over the place. Man, clearly that's been part of your success in social media. Because that connects and makes engagement.

Brian:
It does. And then what I think I have seen is I connect up with you, then I connect up with your network and then we start to absolutely organically grow. Because we realize people that are liking the similar posts and resonate with messages, man you just start, at that point you're kind of cross-pollinating your networks. And then I'm learning from you, and at the same time I'm encouraging what you're doing.

Alec:
Dude, I love that. I love that. Let's go there a little deeper. Obviously we said this before, but when you started three years ago you did not have everything figured out. And I would argue that none of us have everything figured out-

Brian:
Still.

Alec:
Still. So, you said, "I'm learning from you and I'm learning from others online." What are you learning? Give a tactical example, what have you learned?

Brian:
Yeah, so a couple things I watched is in video specifically, we know that's a trend. Right?

Alec:
Yeah.

Brian:
So, you have video. And I'm watching what people are doing with, closed captioning's a great example. Many of my videos lately, it's just a very fundamental tactic that I said, "People aren't always turning on their volume."

Alec:
Nope.

Brian:
So, if I can put closed captioning, it'll differentiate my video from the person that does a video that's a little bit more basic. But I also felt like that message would communicate and they would know this is the message Brian's speaking about today. Whatever that is. And I went to the Monday Motivations for a while. And people knew, hey, Brian's got Monday Motivation. What's this all about? But you got to brand it that way. So, I'm learning that. You did a fantastic job with yours, it had sound in it that was recognizable with music and things there, that people knew right away, "Hey, this is Alec's piece." And they could connect up, not only just sound, but what your message was.

Alec:
Let's pivot a little bit because that was too much gold. If we keep going it's like my head's going to fall off.

Brian:
Rabbit hole.

Alec:
You're leading the other human beings who are working their butt off to do great, to change their lives, to build their careers, to make impact, all the fun stuff that we're all trying to do. Let's unpack what the modern leader, that word, that little phrase. Because I think that's fascinating. How do you define a modern leader today?

Brian:
That's a good question. I think the modern leader is the one that is a learner, they're willing to adapt and they're willing to lead from the front, but also empower their team. So today, what I think has shifted dramatically people don't see, is my job is not necessarily to tell you what to do and to give you all of the tactics to execute on. My job's to come alongside you and bring out the greatness that's in you, your unique gifts and talents. Bring that out of you and give you courage and reinforcement on what you already have inside you and be you. Because Alec doesn't need to be Brian, Brian doesn't need to be Alec. Right? But if I can see that in you and I can amplify that up, man you're going to be doing exactly what you should be doing.

Alec:
I want to go deeper on this. And the reason I want to go deeper on this and what you just said is because everyone has to hear things a couple times to really hear it. So, let's put some context and framing on this. If I overgeneralize and simplify the mortgage business, there's a lot of branch managers, regional managers, et cetera, that were great originators in their own right. So, somebody came along and said, "You're a great originator. Here's a title, you should be a manager." And all you have to do is get everyone else to originate like you do, we're killing it.

Brian:
Game plan.

Alec:
It's over. But you absolutely described something radically different when I asked you how you view the modern leader. I think that we should go deeper on that for a second.

Brian:
Cool.

Alec:
How do you reconcile those things? Because there are plenty of mortgage leaders out there today that in my opinion are just trying to tell their loan officers how to do what they did. But the landscape's changing. And what they did and what I did, might not work anymore.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
Or might work differently and now there's these phones everyone's on. I mean, I used to joke that I drove around with a Thomas Guide to find houses or MapQuest print outs. Well, you don't do that anymore. So, how do you reconcile those two things?

Brian:
I think as a leader, the more you get to know your team and you really lean in and have conversations with them, then you're going to know what their strengths are. You're going to know what they're good at. You're also going to know what their fears are. Because what I want to know is, where are you really gifted that you get energy? Because what I don't want to do is put you down a path or let's say a strategy that you don't enjoy doing.

Alec:
Yeah. You have an example? Someone come to mind, or something?

Brian:
Here's a great one, is going direct to consumer versus going out and calling on realtors.

Alec:
Yeah.

Brian:
Today, that's real.

Alec:
Two totally different skillsets.

Brian:
Two totally different skillsets. And if you look at that, if you're great with consumers, maybe you came through that, you're great on the phone, you're very comfortable, it's not the face-to-face. We have other leaders or originators that man, they crush it face-to-face. You put them on the phone, they can't really deliver necessarily that same message. So, we need to figure that out for them. It doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the other channel or the other way to do business. It just means I'm going to amplify what you already do well.

Alec:
Let's ask the million dollar question, what if the thing they need to do to win that you see in them, you don't have any experience in? I mean, let's just call it like I see it. Let's say, we picked on social media, but I'll use an example. Let's say a loan officer's like, "I want to go all in on social," and you're a leader who goes, "I'm not all in on social. I got my toe in on social, but I'm not all in on social. I haven't mastered that game. I know how to talk to realtors." But they're like, "I don't want to do that." How do you come alongside that person?

Brian:
Over the three years, probably the thing that I could take out of not just building relationships, but the thing that I can look at, is the network I've built now has some experts and gurus in it. So, what I've realized as a true modern leader and to connect with everyone, I don't have to do it all.

Alec:
Hold on. No.

Brian:
Yes, secret.

Alec:
No, because a leader, they've got to have the answers.

Brian:
Ah, man.

Alec:
They got to know everything. You feel me on that.

Brian:
That was the way we came up.

Alec:
Yes. If you know it all-

Brian:
And if you don't, you're not the best leader. Here's what we've learned. Our group has leaned in on this, is we're such a tight knit group, we bring in coaches, we bring in each other. And I figure out what do you have that you can bring to the team? And I'm okay with you know what? You're going to teach on this topic. You're going to be the one that maybe a peer helps you. I don't have to have all those answers. But my job is to keep the culture tight and to build the best team and leverage my network. Because someone out there can help.

Alec:
I really hope every leader out there today or aspiring leader hears that. You don't have to have all the answers, you just have to go back to what you said at the very beginning, you have to be willing to learn. And I love that comment of leading from the front and I agree. Because if you're willing to show your people how to get uncomfortable, they're going to have more confidence to get uncomfortable themselves.

Brian:
100%. Right?

Alec:
That's the truth.

Brian:
That's it.

Alec:
I mean, I went to, a branch hosted a video night for the first time.

Brian:
Saw that.

Alec:
Right? You see that.

Brian:
That was awesome.

Alec:
It was epic. And what I was most proud of though, was the branch manager in her office filming herself putting herself in the same position her loan officers were to produce video content. And I was like, "That's what leadership is."

Brian:
That's it. They see us, they watch us and we don't realize the impact we make. And I'll even share, and this is against, probably counter-cultural to what we were brought up as leaders.

Alec:
All right, I'm ready.

Brian:
Here it is, leaders as I grew up, they wouldn't share maybe fears or areas that they weren't-

Alec:
Oh, they wouldn't appear vulnerable.

Brian:
They would never appear vulnerable. And I go to my guys, I'm like, "Hey, I don't have this figured out, this is something that, this isn't in my lane all the way. Will you help me? Will you teach me this?" That, I believe, builds true connection. If I'm willing to tell you that I don't have this figured out and you can help me, I can help you, we are now partners. I'm not your boss, I'm not coming from that angle, we're partners.

Alec:
I feel like we're done. It was like that, that's 15 minutes. Everything's impact in this last 15 minutes. So much stuff is impact there, that if you're listening, man, that's the right direction. A posture of learning, a posture of being a student of the game, and then a posture of leading with vulnerability.

Brian:
Yes.

Alec:
Creates human connection, trust, all the good things.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
Okay, so where do we go from here? I mean, you've kind of unpacked modern leadership as you see it. What are the challenges of it?

Brian:
Here's a quote I shared with my team today and it actually came from a friend of mine that I workout with and he's actually a pastor. And he said, "Always make sure that your influence, as it grows wide, that your character runs deep." I'll unpack that a little bit because that can go multiple ways. As your influence grows, you need to make sure that what you say and what you do have 100% congruence and alignment. If I'm on social media saying, "This is what we do," and we're talking about things, that needs to be backed up. And I think people see authenticity when they see your actions follow up with your words. And when those two things meet consistently over time, not only will you attract the best talent to your team, you'll retain them, and people will actually lean into you. Because they go, "You know what? I've seen that over time. Your words and your actions align up."
And that quote's going to stick with me and it's going to be something we lean in on this year. Man, our influence I believe is going to grow wide this year. It's going to continue as we grow our brand and our team. But our character and what we do and making sure that we say and do the things that we believe in, and live those out.

Alec:
Okay, so let's get tactical.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
Let's get tactical into living it out. What are some of the key initiatives that you have as a modern leader today for your team that you're really going in on for 2020? We're starting with a brand new year, right? Here we go. Roaring '20s is back. What are some of the things you're diving into?

Brian:
We're going back to fundamentals of how do we get local in our community and do realtor education and trainings? Which in the past, we had done. But we're going to put a different twist on that. Because now, what we need to do is not only get out in front of the realtors, they don't want to hear about our products and programs and the things ... Let's be real. Let's not show up and-

Alec:
I mean, they do ask that question, but-

Brian:
They do.

Alec:
You're right, man. You host a seminar and say, "Let me tell you about my product list," it's like no one's coming.

Brian:
Yeah. But what I've found they're going to lean on this year is we're going to share our journey. And we actually have set up a studio in Nashville, so you've probably seen the one that we put together.

Alec:
Ooh, I have seen it online.

Brian:
And we're going to bring in some agents and say, "Hey, come along the journey with us." Right? We're doing video, we're uncomfortable, we're still learning it as well. Do you want to come along that journey with us?

Alec:
That's killer right there.

Brian:
Because that's what they want, is someone to come along and be a partner, not just receive the referrals. We can all do that, right?

Alec:
It's almost like generate the referrals together.

Brian:
That's it. That's going to be a pivot for us.

Alec:
That's a great initiative.

Brian:
Yes.

Alec:
Do you have a goal with that? Or is it just kind of like, "Hey, how many realtors can we get in?" What's your thought on it?

Brian:
The low ball goal is I want 50% of my loan consultants actually participating in it.

Alec:
Nice, okay.

Brian:
That's a low goal. I mean, I think that's achievable, that's doable. Man, in a perfect world, we'd get to 100%. That would be the bar of excellence. But reality is, we know not everybody leans in on that concept. So, we've set that out.

Alec:
Sure.

Brian:
Right? And that's reality for us.

Alec:
Okay. Love that initiative.

Brian:
The other tactics that we've kind of gone into is guys, this year you need to get clear on your beliefs and you need to be doing your own videos. The company has provided great marketing, like many companies do. But I want to hear from you. I want to connect with you.

Alec:
Yeah, you got to humanize the brand.

Brian:
I want everybody on our team to at least have one video that at least explains, and I can connect with who you are.

Alec:
It's a big goal.

Brian:
It's a big goal.

Alec:
Everybody get out there and get vulnerable.

Brian:
It could be a minute, it could be three minutes. We don't really care what it is. But I want everybody on our team to have the opportunity to see what happens when you put yourself out there and connect.

Alec:
What's been your experience when you put yourself out there? What happens?

Brian:
Scary in the beginning.

Alec:
Yeah, but what happens? I get the fear, but what happens after you actually do it?

Brian:
The amount of connections I've made at events and the amount of people that have leaned in and supported me when I most needed them to give me a word of encouragement on a day that I'm down, in a day that I needed it where I got punched in the face, something didn't go that way and where boom, somebody's reached out at just the right moment. And those were people that I connected with many times on LinkedIn. Right? I mean, you can't put a value on somebody just reaching out and saying, "Hey man, I love what you're doing. Love that post, that really spoke to me." For me, that's fuel. That's like, "Brian, keep going. Keep going."

Alec:
You got bringing realtors alongside on the journey and partnership, which is epic. You've got a desire to push 100% of your loan officers and sales force and leaders into a place of vulnerability and empowerment to get on video, tell their story. What else is running through your head?

Brian:
As we grow, I'm passionate about leadership. So, as I look around at the team that's around me, we're leaning in on coaching. Because here's what I know, is if we all consistently learn and get better, it's like sports. I go back to my sports days. If I don't practice-

Alec:
I was going to say.

Brian:
If I don't practice, I don't get better. And I believe the people that show up early and stay late and put in the work get better. The consistency. And we've really bought into the 1% every day improvement. I'm not going to solve the world's problems or becomes an expert marketer in a week.

Alec:
No, no chance.

Brian:
It's not going to happen.

Alec:
Nope.

Brian:
But 1% every day. And last year we had a motto, "One more."

Alec:
Yeah, I saw that-

Brian:
It's a t-shirt.

Alec:
But what did it mean, one more?

Brian:
So, it took on various meanings.

Alec:
It can.

Brian:
But for some people it was I'm going to make one more phone call before I leave today. I'm going to put one more loan in before I finish my week. I'm going to make one more realtor call before I end the week. I'm going to do one more sales call. Whatever it was for them, it took on various meanings. What was interesting is the lofty goal we set, oh I know one more had an impact on that.

Alec:
Oh, I have no doubt.

Brian:
Because every month we were just right there clipping along a goal to double our business in a market that we were not that well-known and we were still new to the market. It took every loan officer taking on that mentality of one more. Because if everybody doesn't put one more in, whatever that was-

Alec:
Is there a theme this year, then? Is one more going to continue or is it going to ... What do you got?

Brian:
Yeah, so we're going to announce one coming up.

Alec:
Oh, it's a secret.

Brian:
It's a secret. T-shirts are going to be out, it's going to come out in February. If it hasn't been announced, hopefully-

Alec:
No, no, this'll be out by then.

Brian:
Oh, it will be out by then? So it should be good.

Alec:
This'll be out by then. So, what do we got?

Brian:
Okay, so ...

Alec:
Spill it. Trust me, this is not ... You're good.

Brian:
Okay. Okay. We did the one more and then this year we had looked at ... I'm trying to remember how we framed it because it'll be on the t-shirts. But it was more around making an impact and actually making what we do count. And more into the significance of what we do. Because I think that's where-

Alec:
That's a great thing. Significance.

Brian:
And I don't remember the ... because we've got a tagline for it. So, I'll add it to this when we get there. I don't remember it.

Alec:
Yeah, it's playing around in your head. But I do love the comment of significance because we get jaded in our business. Not jaded, we just get transactional sometimes. If we're really hustling and cranking, I mean, when I was doing loans I was closing 10, 15, 20 loans a month. Man, you're a machine. Well, you forget you're actually helping human beings.

Brian:
Every day.

Alec:
With like the biggest loan of their life. You're just like, "Yeah, next one." So, I love that and tying into significance. So, you've got bringing realtors in, the significance, whatever the new slogan is for the t-shirts, which I'm jammed. I better get a t-shirt.

Brian:
Oh, you're getting one.

Alec:
I better get a t-shirt.

Brian:
Yeah, you're getting one.

Alec:
I'm mad at Chad. And then you've got getting everybody on video. And then you really are, you've talked a lot about developing leaders. What's your goal for 2020 in developing leaders?

Brian:
There's a couple areas that I think leadership as you look at, we've got to continue to grow our teams and retain our teams. And a leader is one that creates other leaders. Not by title, but by are you a leader in your community? Are you a leader in your circle that you run in? Do people come to you and view you as the expert? So, I'm looking at this is a group of leaders, regardless of your title. So, one area we are going to lean on, which I think is a skill that's changed, we talked about earlier, is the originator role has changed, recruiting and retaining top talent looks dramatically different than it did a few years ago.

Alec:
Oh, I totally agree.

Brian:
Totally. So, that is a skill that we're leaning in on heavily with my group. Because what I know is, if they can attract and retain the best talent, we will win in the market. We will.

Alec:
Yeah. That's pretty simple. Simple equation.

Brian:
It's a sports analogy.

Alec:
Yeah.

Brian:
If I have the best players and we're coached really, really well. Right? We will win games.

Alec:
Let's unpack coaching for a minute. You said it a few times now, I know you're passionate about it. And I know there's a lot of people out there who are not coached today. And I'm just going to ... I'm just stating the fact. Just don't have a coach. How do you frame coaching, meaning what should a coach do? Right? Come alongside you. How do you find coaches? How do you know if they're good or not? What's your process?

Brian:
Yeah, so I've had multiple mentors, I would say, we're different than coaches.

Alec:
Okay, yeah. Let's separate the two. Because there are people out there who are like, "Oh, this person's my coach." We're like, "Uh, they're your mentor."

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
What's the difference?

Brian:
Fundamental difference is a coach is actually going to provide true accountability.

Alec:
There you go.

Brian:
I mean, bottom line.

Alec:
You don't need to say anything else. Yeah, because a mentor's not going to call you every day and ask if you did your job.

Brian:
No. No. They're going to give you wisdom-

Alec:
Yeah, they'll give you advice.

Brian:
They'll give you advice and they're going to say ... But typically a mentor is there to make you feel good and they're going to give you insights as to their experience and how that relates to you. And it's just, it's going to be a conversation. A coach is going to get you uncomfortable. The best coaches in my life got me so uncomfortable. And you look back and go, "I'm glad I did it." During the process, maybe not so much.

Alec:
Do you remember a moment?

Brian:
I do. I think back and I share this story. One of our coaches was so particular about being on time and actually being early. His on time was 15 minutes before practice.

Alec:
Of course.

Brian:
You showed up, you had your gear on and you're warming up. Because when he came in, practice started.

Alec:
Well, you rolled up late.

Brian:
I do remember a time when I showed up late. And I ended up doing somersaults on the pavement.

Alec:
That was what you ... He just said, "Hey, thanks for being here, Brian. You're going to do some somersaults."

Brian:
"You're 10 minutes late, you're going to do 10 minutes. Just keep somersaulting on the pavement." Okay?

Alec:
You mean like forward rolls or like handstand-

Brian:
Oh no, no, no like forward roll somersault.

Alec:
Forward roll. On the pavement?

Brian:
On the pavement.

Alec:
Oh, you're going to earn that.

Brian:
And you're like, "Man, how can I not get this right?" So, being on time today has stuck with me. And there's consequences to actions, right?

Alec:
Do you do forward rolls now when you're late to a meeting or something? That'd be epic. You walk in, you're like, "Hey guys, I'm sorry, two minutes late. I got to do two minutes of forward rolls."

Brian:
That, burpees, something, right?

Alec:
I've got one too, I shared this on social a while back. I was a junior playing on varsity basketball, we were a great team, won a ton of games, CIF, all that fun stuff. And I had a moment where my power forward, my best friend at the time, when he was going to cut back door, he would hold a fist out. So, he would kind of come out from the pit, hold a fist, I'd fake it, juke the defender, he'd cut back door, dunk. He couldn't dunk, but in my mind I saw it, a beautiful dunk.

Brian:
It looked good in your mind.

Alec:
Yeah. And he came out, he did not put the fist out, he cut back door and I just sailed the ball off to the sidelines. Just into the ... And it was a practice, it was practice. But I just sailed it off. And I yelled at him because I was like, "Kevin, put your fist out," or something. Coach blew the whistle, brought everyone together. And I'm like, "Oh, Kevin's going to get it. Kevin's going to get it." And dude, and for me, who grew up very insecure, had to deal with a lot of personal demons. Being on the spot, in the spotlight, I'm never comfortable. I've gotten comfortable now. But coach, all of a sudden I realize he's looking at me.

Brian:
Yep. Uh oh.

Alec:
And the ball comes back, someone got the ball, and he puts the ball right in my hands. And he's like, "Alec, who threw the ball out of bounds?" And I immediately went into an excuse. "Kevin didn't put his fist out, you saw, he didn't put his fist out, we all know the rules. You got to put your fist out."

Brian:
"Come on, man."

Alec:
Kevin! And he immediately just goes, "Alec, who threw the ball out of bounds?" And everyone just like on me. And I just remember I'm just like, "Ah, this is the worst feeling ever." But what it drove into me was such a state of accountability that the results are my results, regardless if he held the fist out or not, I threw the ball out of bounds. I had control of the ball. And I'll never forget it. Just like the somersaults. It ingrained in me a value set. And I'm forever thankful for Coach [Ora's 00:29:32]-

Brian:
Straight ownership.

Alec:
Yep. Changing my life, dude. It was a moment of that. Kind of looking back to the present here, how are you training leaders in this kind of style? And specific to coaching, how are you encouraging them to get coached? I love the concept that coaching is accountability, not just mentorship. But that also makes people uncomfortable, so how are you leaning into that?

Brian:
Yeah, so I was the first one to actually hire a coach around-

Alec:
Of course. Of course. So, he did it first.

Brian:
I had to.

Alec:
No, no, this is the message. This is the message. Everybody. "How did you start and get everyone into coaching?" "I did it first."

Brian:
Yes, I signed up. And what I shared with them was very simple is, I need a coach to continue to get better because as the team grows, I need to grow as a leader.

Alec:
God, I love it. I love it. No, of course. Of course.

Brian:
And this is something I believe and I've shared with my group. My capacity has to increase as our team increases. My ability to run and lead a team doing $250 million versus a team doing $2.5 billion-

Alec:
Yeah, it's different.

Brian:
... looks dramatically different. So, I've leaned in on the concept of I'm going to help leaders grow with us and we're going to grow together. I'm not going to look to replace, I'm not going to look to make you somebody you're not. But I am going to bring out the best in you. So, hiring a coach for me, it showed them Brian's willing to put his money where his mouth is and he's going to go and walk this. Right?

Alec:
So, let's go deep and deep and deep. What does your coach do for you?

Brian:
I have a recruiting coach that we actually have accountability that's there. But also, my systems. I learned for me, and I really have learned this, is I have good intentions some days. If I don't have great systems-

Alec:
Good intentions don't translate to actions.

Brian:
They don't pay the bills, they don't happen. So, you need fantastic systems. Because it's one of those where you may have high goals, but if your systems are down here, you will fail.

Alec:
So, one benefit of coaching for you was systems.

Brian:
Systems, right out of the gate.

Alec:
What else?

Brian:
And then I went into how can I start to take what I'm learning, translate to that to my team? Because if they're not in coaching yet, how do I take what I'm learning but then give you some of what I'm learning? Because as a leader, that's part of what I do. If I learn something from this coach or I learn from this podcast, my job I believe, is to share that and to give that almost as a gift to my team. To say, "Here's what I just learned. How does that relate to you?"

Alec:
Yep, awesome.

Brian:
"What do you think about this?" So, we'll many times collaborate on those ideas, as we come in together. So, that was one. And then I realized on a separate level, we hired another coach that's more in the sales, prospecting, follow up, how do you become a person of interest? That ties into the whole influencer of social media and all that.

Alec:
Agreed.

Brian:
It's like I don't have this figured out, but I found somebody that did. And they had a great network around them. So, two benefits came out of it. One, I was being coached, so I was accountable and I was learning new skills. Two, I've now tapped into a network of like-minded individuals that's being coached by someone that's fantastic.

Alec:
Yeah. And that's lifting you up too.

Brian:
That's lifting me up.

Alec:
And you're learning the whole time.

Brian:
And I'm learning and I'm connecting with people that are like-minded on the journey that want to get better.

Alec:
So, how do you translate that, how do you tell your team, "You need a coach."? You're showing them, you're doing it yourself. But then you still got ... they got to do it.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
So, what do you do?

Brian:
If you're sincere and you go to your team and say, "Hey, I want you to come with me." I would bring them to specific events with me.

Alec:
Oh, okay.

Brian:
"I want you to come with me to this event, I've got a ticket for you, here's who's speaking." And I would bring them to either VIP dinners, daily sessions. "Hey, will you join this webinar with me? Here's the topic that's going on."

Alec:
Get everyone exposed.

Brian:
Get them exposed to it. And however I can get them interested. Because what I know is if I can get them from this point of not being in the game, I get them interested, and then the next phase for me is get them committed. Because interested and committed are two different things.

Alec:
Oh, we know that.

Brian:
Right?

Alec:
What's the thing, what's the animal thing? The cow is committed to the glass of milk but the pig with the bacon is committed. I screwed it up. I'm terrible.

Brian:
Yeah, one of those.

Alec:
Thanks for listening, this is Alec Hanson with the Modern Lending Podcast. All right, all right. So, coaching obviously plays a significant role. How much of your success would you attribute to coaching?

Brian:
A large percentage. I don't know that I could quantify it, but I would tell you the times that I look back on seasons that I've been all in with a coach and actually was very consistent, the results speak for themselves. When I pull off of that, I can see that start to, in a way I lose clarity and I lose focus.

Alec:
Yeah. I wanted to ask it so intentionally because I wanted people to hear the reality that it's really hard for us to stay absolutely accountable and focused on our plans, ourselves.

Brian:
Yes.

Alec:
We just, we self sabotage, guys. We self sabotage. Real talk. Insecurities come in, busy-ness comes in, whatever, the man cold shows up and you're out for two months. But if somebody's on your back with love and encouragement. So, what characteristics do you think is important in a coach? That someone should be looking for. If they're like, "Fine Brian, I believe you. I should get a coach." What are the characteristics they should be looking for if they're out there talking to people?

Brian:
I look for people that have results. Because that's something-

Alec:
That's a good start.

Brian:
I mean ... But I think it's overlooked. People hire coaches that haven't actually been successful. And I'm a big believer in, if I'm going to hire somebody and spend my money and invest there, I want to know the results. Tell me some clients you've worked with. What have you done?

Alec:
I laughed, but now I'm serious. There are a ton of, quote, gurus who are out there telling you how it is and never really living it themselves either.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
Yeah, so that's a good point. Look for results.

Brian:
So, I would start there. I also want to look at the network that they have and the association. Because it's back to the people you associate with the most, you're going to drift and become like them. And is that a good thing or a bad thing for you? If you're around high performers and that's a group that's being coached, here's what I know, if I put myself in that setting I'm going to grow and improve. So, I want a coach that actually has people they're coaching as well. That it's not just me being coached, it's also me being part of a network of people being coached. Because that's where you exponentially grow your influence and everything else. You can learn from people. That's beyond coaching.

Alec:
That is.

Brian:
So, I would look for that.

Alec:
Results and you look at who they coach and the people they surround themselves with to establish credibility, authenticity. Awesome.

Brian:
Yeah. Yeah, and don't forget their systems too. Because here's what I've started to figure out, that coach is going to follow up with me and put systems and processes in place that I can learn from that actually could fit into the mortgage process and they could fit into how I lead my team. For example, we've moved to video calls.

Alec:
With the coach or with your team?

Brian:
Both.

Alec:
Oh.

Brian:
Because I saw them doing video calls. And I'm like, "Well, I should see my team." My team's across eight states, I don't see them regularly. But if I can see you, I connect with you. Those are little subtle differences. We now send recognition emails and recaps via a video. No more long emails.

Alec:
Oh God, thank you.

Brian:
Gosh. Who wants the long email?

Alec:
Well, at least I can turn the video on and I can do my email and I can be listening and getting the ... I guarantee some of you listening to this podcast right now are literally multitasking. It's on, on the screen next to you. And that's fine. Do your emails, drink your coffee.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
I love it.

Brian:
Right. So, we shifted there. And those are tactics today, that as a leader your ability to connect with your team in a modern approach is going to differentiate you. Because what I know is most leaders aren't going to do that.

Alec:
Nope. No, they're not. Let's get vulnerable.

Brian:
Yeah.

Alec:
Let's do it.

Brian:
Let's do it, man.

Alec:
I mean, you're talking about it and you're leading from that position. What are you working on right now? What's your coach working with you on right now? What are you learning? What do you see in yourself as a deficit that you're like, "Hey, I'm focused on this."? What do you got?

Brian:
I think in some areas, I have confidence from playing sports in that, in other areas I feel like probably some of you guys, I'm not adequate. I'm not ready to take on this large of a region. As we're growing this fast, as a leader sometimes I'll doubt. I'll go, "Hold on, we were this big and now we're going to be this big. Are people going to want to stay on my team?" It's the negative self-talk that gets in. And I'm a positive guy. But somehow it still-

Alec:
But you still got negative self-talk.

Brian:
Dude, it still gets in there. And you're like, "Get out of my head. I don't want to hear that." So, those are things we've been working on. How do I start my days in a way that will program my subconscious and get my mind ready for the day? Ready for battle, in a way. Of, "Okay, today there's going to be things that go really, really well. Fantastic. There's going to be some things too, they don't go my way."

Alec:
Dude, Brian I love this. In episode one on the Modern Lending Podcast I interviewed John [Bianki 00:38:04], $500 million producer, first team that I really know of, all this incredible stuff. And to hear him talk about call reluctance that he still deals with as a insecurity. To hear you go right in and say, "I still got negative thoughts that I manage. I still got insecurities that pop up and be like, 'Hey, can you do this?' They're chirping left and right." I hope everyone listening understands. There's no superhuman out in the world today, guys. They don't exist. What do exist are remarkable people who are doing their best to deal with the same thing we're all dealing with, the same insecurities, the same battles, the same demons. And we're all wrestling with it. And that is encouraging because that means there's hope.

Brian:
Right.

Alec:
And everything you're dealing with, other people have dealt with or are dealing with today and you're not alone.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
What else?

Brian:
And to be in touch with that I think is important. Because what I know if that's going on in me, I want to be able to share that with leaders on my team so that they know that's things we can talk about.

Alec:
Yeah, and it's okay for them to have it too.

Brian:
It's okay. It's okay to have a bad day. It's okay to show up, and in our world we talk about I'm very competitive. So, something I'm learning to deal with is when something doesn't go exactly as planned, I want to win.

Alec:
Yes.

Brian:
So, how do I respond to losses? How do I respond to setbacks? How do I respond to here's the goal, but we're not quite meeting it here? And then how do I bring people along the journey without being the hammer? And how do I encourage them? And that's an area I'm working on is how do I lift you up versus, "I know what you need to do, I need to get you from point A to point B." But how do I get you there as a true leader and influencer, versus, "Hey, I'm your boss. You're going to do this."

Alec:
Yeah. Where's the authoritarian, yeah.

Brian:
Yeah. And I think that's for all of us as a leader, you have to know who you're talking with and to be able to connect with them. Because that connected is going to open the window to let you actually share and speak into them. I'll give you a real example this week.

Alec:
Okay, I love it.

Brian:
Talking to a leader, and let's call it what it is, they're struggling recruiting. And I said to them, in so many words, "I need to give you some tough love right now. Are you willing to accept what I'm going to share with you?"

Alec:
No.

Brian:
And if they say no, that's okay. Say, "I'd like to share something anyway." Right?

Alec:
So, I'm willing, I'm ready. I'm ready. I need the love. What'd you say?

Brian:
So, here's what I've been observing. Here's some areas that you're winning in, and I believe you have greatness in this area. But we haven't figured out how to tap into it together. I need your help. We need to figure out how we can help you attract the right people to your team that you'd be proud of to work alongside and that you know would help you achieve your goal. Because I know you wanted to add people to your team this year. What do you think we can do? What are we not doing?

Alec:
You just said that like you just rolled off your tongue. But there was so many pieces in there as I was listening, that are worth me recapping for listeners, that are leaning into being a leader and a great leader. Number one, you recognized in the person their inherent goodness and their inherent greatness and capacity to do well. You were like, "I see this in you. I validate this, I recognize this." But you didn't shy away from the fact that, "Hey, we didn't get there." And the way you phrased it was so good. "I know you wanted to add more people to your team this year. Obviously we didn't do that," and you didn't need to say that, but you recognized, "Hey, we didn't hit it."
And then you offered to come alongside. "How can I help? Let's explore this together." I mean, I think that equation as you communicate to your employees, guys out there, man, it's going to resonate. Because you're taking it on together.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
So, how did that person respond?

Brian:
Our follow up action item is, we set them up with a different manger on my team to have a conversation to figure out how they had been winning. Someone that was highly successful that had hired 12 people in the last year, highly successful. In our world, to hire 12 quality people, you're hustling. Right?

Alec:
You are hustling.

Brian:
So, I saw in that moment, the feedback could come better from a peer on my team that knows me, knows what we believe, is bought into the mission, and they could give that tough feedback in a way that would be received. Literally the next day I get a phone call, "Brian, thank you. What you did was the catalyst for me to make a phone call to another manager in another market to figure out what am I not doing?" And I loved what they said, "I knew I was doing the activities, I just knew I was falling short." They recognized effort does not always equal results if it's the wrong activities and you're not approaching it with the right follow up and systems. So, it opened a window on our team. And this is part of what I think modern leaders do well, is you leverage the strengths of your team. It doesn't all come from me.

Alec:
100%.

Brian:
100%. Every time-

Alec:
I love that you had them call another leader in your group. I love that. Because that ... man, number one, you're helping that other leader grow. Number two, you're stepping back and letting your team wrap support around.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
Because sometimes that's the right person to talk to them.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
They may not need to hear from you or me. Maybe they need to hear from someone who's doing it with them.

Brian:
That's right.

Alec:
Dude, that's an epic story. All right, so few more minutes. I do this kind of as a wrap down every time on this podcast. I would love for you to just kind of take our conversation, take what you've been learning, if you were speaking one-on-one to a loan officer right now and they were asking you what to do or asking you for advice or encouragement. And they could be brand new to the business, they could have survived the crisis and have been in here for 20 years. What do you share with them? What's your message to them?

Brian:
Today, personal brand matters more than anything. Your testimonies and who you are as a person is going to connect up with the consumers and the referral partners that you need. You being you, is going to connect you with the people you need to be doing business with and that you can serve.

Alec:
Yeah, you can't hide anymore.

Brian:
You cannot hide. And I just believe life is too short to go out there, the fake it 'til you make it is long gone. Let's call it what it is, if you're authentic and you come out and you share who you are. For example, in Nashville there's a lot of musicians.

Alec:
You think?

Brian:
You think? I've heard that's true.

Alec:
There's several.

Brian:
So, if I love music and I connect up with people and that's venues I can go to, I'm going to do events and I'm going to do things around music because that's what I love. And I'm going to lean into that, while at the same time, leveraging my unique ability to help people finance their homes and refinance and to be a true partner. So, I would encourage people to get clarity on who you are and what you believe. Because at that point when you get clear, you can then communicate your message and you will attract people that want to get there. And you have to put in the work to follow that. It's not a, "This feels good message," and, "I've got clarity, I feel good." Now what? What are you going to do with it?

Alec:
Totally.

Brian:
Do not be a secret agent in your market.

Alec:
I love that.

Brian:
Okay?

Alec:
That's right. Do not be a secret agent.

Brian:
If I can't find you online and you're not showing up in the marketplace. And I shared this with our team, you need to earn the seat at the table. We've talked about this. But when you get a seat at the table, it's going to be your character and your ability to deliver that's going to make sure you retain a seat at that table. I mean, that to me, we can talk tactics, we can go into all these other things. But man, if you don't have this and you continue every month, like most loan officers. "I got to go find another deal. I got to find another deal. I'm starting at zero." I hear this all the time, the roller coaster.

Alec:
It's true, this is what they're living.

Brian:
Get off the roller coaster ride, get a game plan, get a coach and get serious about your business and go 100% all in and watch what happens.

Alec:
All right. I'm in. One more. One more. The branch manager, the leader today, leading a group of people. What do you say to them?

Brian:
Surround yourself with people that are doing what you want to do, that will have a positive influence on you in the sense of they will bring out your individual greatness. I believe more than ever, surrounding yourself with the right leader that's going to challenge you, but also come alongside and be a partner, is vital today. And that shift has happened. It is no longer I'm going to tell you what to do in your business and it's just going to be a tell and follow. You need partners in your business that care about you and that'll come alongside you. And I would look for characteristics of people that are stepping outside their comfort zone regularly. You want to be aligned up with those people. Because those are the ones that are going to inspire you when you need it and they're the ones that are going to push the envelope. As their capacity grows, your capacity grows.

Alec:
Dude, you are on fire. I mean, there's so much in here that I'm excited for people to experience. Brian, thank you for taking the time.

Brian:
Thank you.

Alec:
To just kind of impart your wisdom and share your vulnerability. I think that to me is a true aspect of a great leader and you're living it. So, thanks for doing it here with everybody listening. So guys, that's it. There's the messaging. Brand is inevitable, you've got to build a big one. And if you're going to be a leader today, start with learning, start with making yourself vulnerable and start by putting people around you that are going to help you become who you want to become.

Brian:
That's it.

Alec:
That's it. All right, we're out of here, you guys. Stay tuned for next episode. If you enjoyed this, drop a comment, share, subscribe, spread the message. I appreciate you guys. We are out.


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