So, it has admittedly been a little while since my last post. Okay. A long while. This is the point where I tell you I’ve been busy, and you, my loyal reader or readers, admonish me for using that tired excuse.
But an interesting thread has popped up in one of my industry LinkedIn groups, and I think it merits comment and consideration.
I don’t claim to be a human resources or staffing expert. Nor have I managed or built large title, settlement services, mortgage or real estate businesses. I have gotten to know a pretty fair number and wide variety of real estate, mortgage and settlement professionals and executives over the past ten years, and I’ve heard their stories. And I’m starting to wonder…do we eat our young?
I’m not asking if we’re cannibalistic, of course. And I’m not making a criticism. I’m genuinely asking the question—not implying anything. As a marketing communications consultant, I don’t get to examine the books. I’m not in my clients’ offices day after day. I’m rarely advised about a firm’s human resources philosophy. So it’s not a rhetorical question.
But I have noticed that I don’t see a lot of young executives or upper level managers in our industry. I see some, but not many. And I don’t hear a lot about the development process for the next generation of leaders. Perhaps many or most firms do have some sort of mentorship, recruiting or development process. Perhaps I’m just not privy to it in what I do. But I do wonder.
Clearly, ours is an industry of thin margins, hard work and changing schedules. It’s labor intensive. And many of the small to mid-size companies simply don’t have the time and/or resources to bring on young recruits and then develop them. Many of these companies don’t have HR departments. And, when times get tough, having inexperienced managers in training can be a luxury most can’t afford.
Experience is also important in an industry like ours, to be sure. We are managed by ever-changing and unclear laws, regulations and ordinances enforced by a confusing array of agencies, bureaus and entities. The public has little idea of what we do. The mainstream media would like to believe it does…but usually paints a somewhat distorted and cynical image. And the number of parties to touch each real estate/mortgage transaction to make it happen can be staggering. It’s not a place for the faint of heart, and those who venture into the fray without a Sherpa and a compass are in for a rough time.
With that said, however, how do we nurture our next generation of leaders? We all agree that the function of the mortgage and real estate industry is valuable to the economy as a whole. We agree that what we do every day is critical. So are we doing something to ensure that the lessons we’ve learned and the successes we’ve won will be carried on by the next generation?
It’s a genuine question. I’d love to hear (generally—no need to give away the secret sauce) what businesses (especially small businesses) in our industry do to seek out, train and develop the “next generation” of executives and leaders.