Friday, August 2, 2013

The Big Project

In my July 9 post, I mentioned business was going well, keeping me very busy and that I had several large projects underway.  All were occupying most of my time.

One of the big projects culminated yesterday with the announcement that Mortgage Cadence has become part of Accenture.  I can honestly say I had very high hopes for this little company when we opened the doors 15 years ago.  I think I can speak for the founding Prime Alliance team when I say they, too, had great aspirations for our shared idea: mortgage lending is a manufacturing process, that it could be made more compliant, efficient and cost-effective and that the financing experience could also be greatly improved for the borrower.  None of us, it's also safe to say, imagined our company and these ideas would be recognized by a global consulting, technology services and outsourcing organization the magnitude of Accenture.

What happens next?  Plenty.  I've joined Accenture as Managing Director of Accenture Credit Services.  I remain as intrigued by the mortgage industry as I was at my first encounter.  Certainly it has changed and definitely it has become more complex, yet to a large extent, the structural issues and the fundamentals are the same.  We simply have to make it adapt to today's possibilities.  This is one of the opportunities I look forward to.

My team - the entire Mortgage Cadence Team - joins Accenture and will continue to provide our solutions to our customers and to all mortgage lenders as part of Accenture Software Services.  They are a committed group of driven professionals.  As a team their accomplishments over the years have been remarkable.  And, if you've been following us, you know we have been growing rapidly since last summer.  Demand has never been higher, driven by all the new dynamics of this ever-changing business.  We thought business was brisk before.  Now it accelerates.  Greatly. 

After reading this, you might be thinking it is business as usual, albeit on a bigger stage.  While there is some truth in it, another aspect of this project is very exciting for us.  Our technologies will also be used to power Accenture Credit Services’ mortgage business process outsourcing (BPO) capabilities.  Outsourcing is one of Accenture's main businesses; mortgage outsourcing is a relatively new focus.  Mortgage Cadence's technologies will shape the mortgage manufacturing process of the future, exactly what we set out to accomplish in 1999!

I say the project culminated yesterday with the announcement, though it's far from complete.  We've come a very long way, and there's further to go.  Mortgage lending became efficient, once, before the bubble burst.  It's gotten inefficient again.  Compliance, too, was easier in the early 2000s but has now become one of the biggest concerns most lenders have.  And there is plenty of room for improvement in the financing experience.  The team and I, all now part of Accenture, have a great deal of opportunity in front of us.  The project continues, then, until closing a mortgage is just as easy - and fast - as closing a car loan.  I'd say we have our work cut out for us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's Been Awhile

Hard to believe it's full-on summer.  Harder to believe the last time I posted snow was flying in all parts of the country.  Everyone was wearing parkas and boots. We're definitely into shorts and sandals weather now.

Time has flown by because the pace of our business has increased exponentially just since the first of the year.  Our growth has been remarkable.  The many and varied changes taking place in the mortgage industry have led to interesting, productive conversations with lenders.  Not only have I been busy, I've been having a lot of fun as well.

Business at the current pace would be enough to keep me occupied.  I like to be really busy, however, so I've taken on a number of big projects as well.  While I am not ready to talk about what they are or how they might further improve on the mortgage process it won't be long before I can.  I will say this, though, the new customers who have joined us combined with the projects underway make for exciting times and opportunities for our business.

You know I like to read.  While traveling this last week I finished Susan Cain's book Quiet.  Cain is a corporate attorney and an introvert.  Quiet is about thriving, and helping introverts thrive, in our extroverted American culture.  When she began practicing law she thought she might struggle because she tended to listen intently rather than talk frequently.  When she did talk she tended to ask questions - lots of them - rather than make statements.  She also knew she preferred, or even required, very quiet spaces in which to work.

What she found was her introverted nature served her well.  Turns out listening carefully and asking many thoughtful questions are qualities of a good negotiator, and a good lawyer.  Also turns out the detailed study of law and legal cases is often best done in quiet places.   Being an introvert not only worked, it made her very successful.  History, too, is full of successful introverts.  Vincent van Gogh, Bill Gates, Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Albert Einstein.  Cain is in good company.  

That got her thinking about how, as a culture, we came to celebrate extroverts while dismissing introverts.  I wondered that, too because I work with a lot of introverts. As I was building the company I was careful, and adamant, about having quiet spaces where our developers could create.  I suppose I knew intuitively they would have a hard time thriving in noisy, open office environments.  It also seemed pretty obvious we could not or would not attract the creative software and other artists we needed to be successful if we didn't have the right environment.  There wasn't any hard evidence at the time that supported these ideas.  For that reason Cain's book was a revelation, and one of my best reads this year.   If you're an introvert, celebrate it.  I am and I do.

It won't be six months between posts.  Not this time.  Might not even be six days.  Check back next weekend.  One or two of those big projects I mentioned might just be ready for bright, summer sunlight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Confident Leadership

Welcome to 2013! One thing I have learned and will be keeping top of mind this year is Confident Leadership. I have never had all of the answers, but I have always had the confidence to know that I could find them or find people who had them. Confident leadership is a must in today's business world. Teams of competent individuals need a leader to rally them with vision and with cause. A leader to help them navigate the course when it isn't clear. The secret behind confident leadership is helping your team find confidence in themselves. Asking them the right questions that allow them to see they knew what to do all along. Elite CXOs can help you and your team put these unique perspectives to work in your organization. What have you learned from years past that will be top of mind for you this year?