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More often than not, many businesses and organizations I work with view it as difficult or even impossible to foresee problems before they occur in our unpredictable world. In many ways, the circumstances we faced during the coronavirus pandemic were really nothing new. Sure, we may have never experienced this level of uncertainty before but being ahead of the curve by implementing my Anticipatory Organization Model and understanding what we can be certain about using my Hard Trend Methodology is always applicable.

Where Do We Even Begin?

Many start their business or career looking to change the world or their industry, but they do not know where to start.

Having helped organizations with future planning and innovation for several decades, I applied personal experience and extensive research to develop a methodology for separating Hard Trends, which are future certainties that will happen, with Soft Trends, or future possibilities that are open to influence.

Hard Trends cannot be changed while Soft Trends can. Understanding this allows you to see problems before they occur and pre-solve them, allowing you to redefine risk management and boldly innovate with relatively low risk. Conversely, just because Soft Trends may or may not happen does not mean that they won’t happen; they are just not a future fact.

Should I Avoid Agility?

During the pandemic, we witnessed people largely embracing an agile mindset to deal with the accelerating pace of exponential technological change, solely playing defense.

Instead, we should be shifting our mindset to one of anticipation, where you implement both a good offense and defense in your business strategies. The playing field has been leveled for many thanks to the pandemic, and most of us got quite comfortable in being agile.

While agility is important, you need to be anticipatory and play offense as well. Can you think of any championship sports team that literally won using only defense, where the offense never once took the field? Absolutely not!

Even the best competitors still had to score points by disrupting the opponent’s defense, and that’s what an anticipatory mindset is all about! There are several Soft Trends we cannot fully predict, but there are thousands of fully predictable Hard Trends you can see and use them to your advantage.

Categories of Hard Trends

Hard Trends are interlaced in all of our daily lives, business operations, and even our hobbies. That may sound overwhelming; however, they are more predictable than you realize.

Here are the three categories of Hard Trends I have identified in my research:

  • Demographics

Over the years, I have mentioned the Hard Trend of our aging population of Baby Boomers in the United States. However, let’s consider the younger generations becoming parents and their children. The Hard Trend here is that said new children are born every day, as it is unlikely that no new children will be born, and a Soft Trend is the toys their children find enjoyable.

  • Technology

During the coronavirus pandemic, technology trends accelerated by five to 10 years in just a matter of months. Cloud computing, e-commerce and working remotely are just a few examples of this as we all were forced to change. In total, the pandemic has accelerated 16 technology trends far beyond an exponential level, revealing several new opportunities.

  • Regulation

Every country has government regulations, and they are ever-evolving. Will many industries have more confusion because of changing regulations? Yes, so perhaps developing an artificial intelligence–related mobile compliance app that lets you know the latest rules based on your GPS location for each task is an essential opportunity.

How Cyclical and Linear Change Applies

In addition to understanding future certainties and future possibilities, the concepts of change are part of my Hard Trend Methodology as well.

Cyclical change is more or less a future certainty. The stock market is extremely cyclical; when things go down, they are sure to go back up. These are easy to understand and even easier to predict.

On the other hand, linear change only happens once and transforms the world in one direction. Identifying linear change is what my anticipatory mindset is all about, as it only occurs once, such as the creation of the smartphone that disrupted all other types of telecommunication.

When linear change becomes exponential, it is driven by technology, riding a curve that’s accelerating and predictable. Additionally, exponential linear change can impact and even alter old cycles, vitally connecting both types of change.

Be Human in a Digital World

We should strive to understand our place in a world with technology. Technology is not good or evil; it merely exists in a vacuum. How we as humans apply it defines the application of said technology.

One of the things that I’m urging people to do is to positively shape the future rather than passively receive it. Not only can you leverage exponential technological change to your advantage, but you can use it to better the human race.

By differentiating Hard Trends from Soft Trends, and learning how cyclical or linear changes apply, you can use my anticipatory mindset to be a positive disruptor, setting the bar for your industry for years to come.



Posted On Tuesday, 04 May 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 04 May 2021 00:00 Written by
Larry the Cable Guy’s by-line is Get’r Done!  I hope you have a way that works pretty well to get things done. Today we will investigate a process I recently used with a client firm’s sales department in an effort to improve short and long-term results.
But first an observation from Dr. David Schwartz. In his book, The Magic of Thinking Big,  which I highly recommend, he tells the story of an organization’s sales team of 25 sales people who had one exceptional high performer. This man consistently produced more than five times the sales volume of anyone else on the force. The company hired Dr. Schwartz to come in and consult with the company to find our what this salesman was doing, so that they might attempt to emulate his results with more team members.
After an in-depth look at the high producer’s sales strategy, he came up with what was happening. First of all, the top performer had noble goals with big numbers – he simply expected to sell more! He had better, high-level habits and had perfected the sales and relationship building skills required for extraordinary results. His boss had him speak at their sales meeting to share his success plan. Some increased their sales somewhat from exposure to his ideas, but no one came close to the high performer! He had mastered his success strategy and perfected multiple habits that supported it!
From my experience, I’ve found that there are four key elements, that when put in proper order, with appropriate emphasis from management, can make a huge difference in personal performance. Here are the four elements:
Let’s consider them one at a time…
Expectations, when high, can change everything! There is a book entitled Dream Big Dreams! There is another expounding on the value of having “BHAGs”, an acronym for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals! You get the idea. Many people stifle their own performance by not expecting enough! It’s time for anyone who wants to achieve more to expect more, and follow through with a plan that gets results. One of the greatest things a manager can do for a team member is to encourage them to reach farther, learn new skills, take bold actions, and enjoy better results than ever.
Beliefs make a world of difference. One of the reasons good leaders encourage their team members to learn more, and fully understand how a solid success plan works, is that it can alter their belief system. As a sales person, for example, improves their competence level, confidence improves, and resulting behaviors are improved. They believe! All of this is part of the grand plan of establishing one’s habit structure.
Behaviors are what one does. A simple definition of human behavior is what we see and hear a person say and do. Our behavior, over time, establishes our habits, and this is where the rubber meets the road. Day after day we perform habit after habit. The better one’s habit structure is the better their performance will be. Habits are very strange commanders, but they most certainly direct our behavior and, ultimately, the results we gain.
Results gained tend to determine everything, from current sales performance, to one’s track record over time, and ultimately such things as income, promotions and career progress.
To wrap this newsletter up, let me give you a formula I recently put together for the participants in my Write Your Book! Program. I recognized shortly after creating it that it applied to just about everyone who wanted to gain greater results. Here it is:
                                    (V  +  S  +  D)  x  P  =  Outcome
The breakdown is simple. The first three elements within the parentheses are for Vision, Skills, and Discipline; multiply them as a group by the Passion you have for your project, and that will equal the results, or outcome, you get. All of these are factors largely determined by our motivation to succeed. My advice: Reach out and grab the rest of your destiny with higher expectations, and enjoy a life of achievement, exceptional performance and happiness!
Posted On Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00 Written by

“After closing, you can paint an ugly house, but you can’t paint over ugly financing.” Jo Garner

Real estate is still hot, and mortgage rates are still low.  When a home buyer gets his offer accepted, he had better be able to move –and fast.  As a mortgage loan officer, the best advice I can give anyone getting a mortgage is to get preapproved and compare more than one financing option.    When you sign the last paper at the closing table, you want the contented feeling of satisfaction, knowing that you made the very best decision.

Here are some general rules of thumb to consider:

1. If you plan on keeping the mortgage for over five years, strongly consider getting a mortgage with a fixed rate and not a variable interest rate.  You will enjoy the stability of a principal and interest payment with a fixed interest rate that never changes. Steer clear of variable rates and payments that can wreck your budget and lifestyle.

2. If you plan to have a mortgage less than five years, you can compare some mortgage products with lower-than-normal interest rates that adjust over time.   To lessen some of the risks of payments ratcheting up, look at mortgage programs with strong safety caps on how far the interest rates can move at each adjustment.   

Example:  Some loan customers want to save time and avoid providing lots of documentation by opting for a quick, variable-rate home equity line of credit instead of getting a more stable fixed-rate mortgage. It may be easier today to get the equity line to buy a home. It may be tempting to consolidate debt or fix up your home using quick variable-rate financing, but will you be paying the piper big bucks when the rates start going up again? 

If you plan to be in the home over five years, compare the equity line with its variable rate risk with a standard and stable cash-out fixed-rate mortgage.  The standard fixed-rate mortgage with no prepayment penalty can be a cost saver over time. 

3. If you know you will be getting a lump sum within less than five years to prepay the principal balance owed on the mortgage, take a look at how that lump sum prepayment will affect how much you will pay over the life of the variable-rate loan.   Depending on the large lump sum you can prepay against principal early in the loan, the variable rate might be your best bet on that scenario. 

4. For homebuyers paying less than ten percent as a down payment, compare the FHA loan program with the conventional program. Borrowers will pay less private mortgage insurance to the lender on the conventional loan program, but the FHA program is more forgiving for borrowers with challenged credit. 

5. For borrowers with little or no down payment, explore loan programs such as the VA 100% loan for veterans, the 100% Rural Housing loan, and programs using down payment assistance.

Our customers appreciate the opportunity to choose when it comes to their home and their financing.  As real estate and financial professionals, we earn the status of “trusted advisor” when we present sound options that help our clients feel good about their choice. 

Posted On Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00 Written by

Here we go again! The constant whine about how hard it is to be in real estate because of the lack of inventory. How tough it is to deal with multiple bid situations, houses selling well over asking, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

I might even buy into the challenges if it weren’t for a few things:

• 2018 was a record setting year – highest from 2006
• The 2019 came along and sold more homes than 2018
• Then, despite COVID-19, 2020 surpassed 2019. 

Now we are seeing projections from many groups that expect 2021 to outpace 2020, and 2022 to be even stronger. So I ask this again, “Why is everyone so upset that so many people want to buy houses?” You would think people would be happy? I remember when the housing market went bad and there was what seemed like years’ worth of inventory sitting with nobody to even bother looking at them. Was being bored and broke, better than productive and profitable? The fact we all may have to work a little harder and process more transactions is a problem? Does everyone forget that there are no commissions paid on inventory?

Listings are great and begin the process, but without a buyer, you have nothing! I get that there are challenges, but thousands of people overcome the odds and win the contract to buy their home! In fact, as I wrote about last week, and spoke to in my interview with Realty Times Magazine published last Friday, if you focus on what is winning, you stand a better chance of being the one that wins!

So please; how about we focus on winning instead of whining; look at how deals are won in your market, not the reason you lost your bid, and put your mind straight as to the magnitude of the opportunity, not the difficulty or excuse of what needs to be done to WIN!

There are no commissions paid on inventory, you get paid when your client WINS!

Questions or comments: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Monday, 03 May 2021 00:00 Written by

If you were around in 1964 when Bob Dylan wrote and performed “The Times They Are a-Changin’” you will surely remember how times were changing! The Vietnam War was raging. The US was still adjusting from JFK’s assassination. Free speech pods were springing up on college campuses. As an inner-city high school principal, we were trying to help kids grow, yet understanding their fears and uncertainties. Then along comes Bob Dylan supporting the many changes that were happening. Do we need Dylan now?

In sports, many changes happened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some local schools just finished a shortened football season  (it’s April!). Now as we begin the 2021 Major League Baseball season the suggestion has surfaced that the MLB move the pitcher’s mound!

What in the name of Abner Doubleday is going on? The MLB game is “a-changin’.” They recently changed the extra-innings rule to place a runner on second base to start an extra inning in order to prevent the game from going through several extra innings to get a winner.

Now they are moving the pitcher’s mound back a foot – from 60-feet, 6-inches to 61-6.

What in the name of Abner Doubleday is baseball, which has traditionally held to its time-old standards, doing? Well, MLB is concerned that the 60-6 is too close when pitchers are consistently throwing in the high 90s MPH and many at or near 100. Moving the pitching rubber 12-inches reduces the speed of the pitch 1.5 MPH and gives the batter one one-hundredth of a second more time to decide whether to swing or not. Will the home run rate jump off the charts?

MLB says this “test” will start on Aug. 3. Test? You will recall that MLB lowered the pitching mound from 15 inches to 10 inches in 1969 to help the hitter. The mound is still at 10 inches! It’s all about helping the hitters and increasing the offense. As the Zen master says: “We’ll see.”

Will the NBA follow MLB? Raising the basket from 10 feet to 12 feet has been suggested since I was in high school, but no action so far. NBA players now, and have been for some time, play their game above the rim. Will raising the bucket to 12 feet hurt the smaller players? Does it matter to Steph Curry at 6-foot-3 whether it’s 10 feet or 12?  Are you kiddin’ me?

Will you log-in on about changes you’d like to see in professional sports?

Posted On Sunday, 02 May 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 29 April 2021 08:10 Written by

Steve Jobs of Apple once stated, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” This mantra has resonated with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders over the past decade since Jobs passed on.

What is interesting is how many individuals hear the call to action about changing the world and confuse it with what it means to transform the world. There is actually quite a big difference between change and transformation. If the teams at Apple merely just continued on the path they were on prior to the debut of the iPod, releasing new computers and a few new features and capabilities, Apple would not be the billion-dollar company it is today.

Instead, Apple decided to transform an entire industry by placing “one hundred songs in your pocket” with the iPod, using the same mentality that allowed it to transform the world with the personal computer in the seventies. The mobility and user-friendliness of the iPod would later inspire Apple’s foray into the smartphones that now allow us to browse the internet, stream music, watch TV, and so much more.

How Change and Transformation Differ

As an entrepreneur or a business leader, it is imperative you know and understand the difference between change and transformation. This comprehension is not as difficult as you might think.

The stark difference between change and transformation is as simple as the Apple example above or an example I’ve referenced in the past regarding the switch from cable TV to streaming services.

Change is represented in a cable company merely adding new channels to an already existing service, or perhaps switching its service to a streaming service at no cost reduction to their customers, whereas transformation is a specific network like the Discovery Channel debuting its own streaming platform called Discovery+ and presenting a paradigm shift in media consumption.

Instead of a customer paying hundreds of dollars a month for more channels he or she may not watch as a “perk,” TV networks are splitting off on their own and transforming the broadcast industry just as much as Netflix disrupted Blockbuster all those years ago.

So it’s rather simple: Change is traditionally a surface-value adjustment, whereas transformation is a highly disruptive improvement.

Capitalizing on Disruption

It is safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 certainly—and for many, unwillingly—disrupted the world over the course of a couple of months. Companies scrambled to convert most of their staff to a remote work environment using what was likely legacy technology never considered to be useful, as most never believed a global pandemic could strike in the way it did.

Taking teachers into account, the thought of teaching kindergarteners remotely was preposterous to many school districts; however, they were faced with no choice as cases surged and the government implemented safer-at-home orders everywhere.

Meanwhile, an overly quiet video conferencing company once considered merely useful in special circumstances became a commodity out of nowhere, and it most definitely came to the rescue.

Zoom Video Communications is among several video conferencing options that existed long before COVID-19 arrived in the United States. But why did industries ranging from education to weddings adapt to social distancing using Zoom?

One major reason is that Zoom was founded as a cloud-data solution, whereas competitors that previously had a stranglehold on video conferencing in the business world, such as Skype, Microsoft, and Webex, are built on SharePoint, a ten-year-old code that was not designed to function with cloud computing, multiple devices, or even an influx of people using it outside of corporations.

Coupled with its easy interface and functionality, Zoom rose above to transform the video conferencing industry and make it more user-friendly for everyone during a time when in-person meetings and gatherings were impossible.

Anticipate to Become the Disruptor

Knowing that disruptions in the world can either be created by others, as seen with Discovery+ versus cable TV, or completely outside of our control, as witnessed with Zoom and the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to leverage those disruptions and transform your industry or the world as a whole is always there in some form.

Change is a process of treading water and protecting and defending the status quo in a reactionary, agile way. It might keep you afloat, but it leaves you vulnerable to a detrimental disruption that could very well put you out of business.

The more fail-safe route to go as a business leader is to foster an Anticipatory Mindset. As an Anticipatory Leader, you learn to focus on and understand the importance of transformation as opposed to change. You identify and differentiate between Hard Trends, or future certainties that will happen, and Soft Trends, or future possibilities that are open to influence. Using Hard Trends to pre-solve problems before they occur allows you to transform your industry, becoming the disruptor rather than the disrupted.

Consider signing up for my Anticipatory Leader Membership today to learn how you can better turn disruption and change into opportunity and advantage for you, your organization, and the world.



Posted On Tuesday, 27 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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Posted On Monday, 26 April 2021 00:00 Written by

Some of the most common conversations I have been having with mortgage customers are those concerned with how much value they will get from the home appraisal. These calls come from customers who want to get a cash-out to refinance and remodel the home where they live.  We get calls from customers competing with multiple other offers to buy a home.  They want to know, “How much higher than the asking price should I offer for this home? Do you think it will appraise for that much?”

Prices of homes are continuing to rise. The median home price of $329,100 is up this week 17%  year-over-year.  Mortgage rates are lower than they have been in seven weeks. Prices on homes are being pushed up by high demand from aspiring home buyers competing to buy and lock low fixed rates.    The forecast is for home prices to rise and for mortgage rates to stay reasonably low into the following year.

Longer range predictions are for demand to remain high for real estate for years to come.  This forecast is based on the emerging households coming from the aging Millennial generation and the Z Generation. These generations will continue to need more housing because they are starting new households and expanding the size of their families.  They will continue to need housing to meet those needs. 

If you want to do your homework to estimate the highest value you can get on an appraisal for refinancing your home or the highest value you should pay over the list price to buy a home, here are some tools available for you to use. 

1. Connect with an experienced realtor who sells homes in the neighborhood that interests you.  A realtor can show you details on homes selling recently in your area.
2. Check with your city newspaper for detailed data for your targeted area to help you estimate the value of your home.  These reports can give you the information you need to make an educated guess for a small fee.
3. Appraisers can do a private appraisal for you, but you would not be able to use their review for mortgage purposes.   

When a lender gets an appraisal, they require the appraiser to use “bracketing” when choosing comparable sales to determine the home’s value.  Bracketing requires the appraiser to pick at least one home inside your neighborhood and at least one comparable sale outside your neighborhood.  The appraiser must choose at least one comparable home sale with a value lower than your target home and one comparable sale with a value higher than your target home. You can’t always depend on the appraiser to use the house across the street that sold a few weeks ago to get to the value of your home.   

Real estate professionals who can analyze a home appraisal bring massive value to the real estate transaction and their customers.  Randy the Realtor sold his listing to a buyer for about $250,000 in a neighborhood where most homeowners had upgraded their houses.  Randy's seller on the property had listed for sale had upgraded his home with granite countertops, hardwood floors, and updated plumbing fixtures.  The appraisal came in $10,000 lower than the sales price.  

Randy the Realtor put on his sleuthing cap and started researching the homes the appraiser used as comparable sales.   Randy found that the appraiser had used homes that had not been updated.  By pointing this out to the appraiser, Randy could get the appraisal value on his listed home increased by $8,000.  

It pays to know your way around the neighborhood.  It pays to know your way around a real estate appraisal.

Posted On Monday, 26 April 2021 00:00 Written by
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