By Susan Meitner, an EO Philadelphia member, and president/CEO of Centennial Lending Group
Every industry and business has its ups and downs. I had been working in the mortgage industry for 20 years before I decided to open up my own company. In my current position as president, I can see when something needs a new process and procedure. As I expected, employees appreciate things done right and they appreciate being appreciated. It’s an unbeatable combination.
Culture is important to any business. Both physical space and social space create a culture that is very important to me and to our company. Our offices are open with tables and comfy chairs available for sitting and working when a desk just won’t do. We do not have walled work spaces or cubes. I believe an open work space contributes to a conversational, collaborative atmosphere. With open spaces and open minds, everyone at all levels is approachable and new ideas can be vetted across disciplines.
Taking culture one step further – I am a true believer in allowing employees to run with new ideas. When an idea doesn’t work the first time, I encourage them to keep trying until it does. Recently, one of our loan officers heard of a national company was doing 24-hour turnaround on loan approvals. I encouraged them try it at our company. The process was messy and soon seemed like it wouldn’t work because the files were too overwhelming for the underwriting department to turn them around in the 24-hour time period. We were not giving up on the idea, and I encouraged all the employees involved in the process to find a better way. They soon figured out that sending the files to the processing department allowed for a speedier and more organized underwriting procedure. Best part is– it works!
The success and growth that my company has achieved is the direct result of my years learning and doing all aspects of my industry, putting best practices in place in an open and flexible environment, and nurturing our customers, our referral sources and our employees. We have built a better mortgage company and that proof is in the growth we continue to enjoy. I believe any business can grow and be a better company putting these same principles in place.