Today's Headlines - Realty Times
It’s March Madness time again and, indeed, the prominent word is “Madness!” With our country’s pandemic still in place as we try to safely open schools, indoor- dining, and with sports opportunities becoming more prevalent, will this year’s March Madness operate as it did in 2020? It probably won’t. Of course, there is a plan in place, but the real question is will they be able to make it happen? Stay tuned!
The present NCAA plan is to hold this tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana with all 64 schools in or about that location. The plan that has been in operation in “normal” times is that selected teams would play their first game in the higher-seeded T*E*A*M's home team arena. As the tournament progresses the winning teams would play in divisional tournaments with the winners moving on the next round and ultimately going on to the “Final Four” usually played on Saturday with the two winners playing for the NCAA Championship the following Monday night.
At this writing, all 64 teams will be in or about Indianapolis with Lucas Stadium (home of the NFL Colts) being the site of the final four. Those Saturday semi-final games would split Lucas in half. The question is what is the process of even getting to Lucas? Like the guy asking: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall (in NYC) ?” The answer is “Practice! Practice! Practice!” The question here is, ”How do you get to Lucas?” The answer is: “Win! Win! WIN! In past years it was easily determined with the higher seed being at their home arena. But for 2021, various arenas in and around the Indianapolis complex had to be secured. Incidentally, ALL players, coaches, 96 officials, and media will be housed in and about the city of Indianapolis.
Let’s look at those playing locations.

1. Indiana University in Bloomington is some 54 miles (1 hour + driving).
2. Purdue University is 65 miles (1 hour+ driving).
3. Butler University near downtown Indy.
4. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is just minutes away from Central Indianapolis.
5. Indianapolis State Fairgrounds is near the city.
6. And Lucas Stadium will have 2 courts available, but will only use one at a time.

These six courts will be available throughout the tournament with play scheduled morning, afternoon, and evening. All of the above is tentative at this writing. It will be an interesting tournament.
Will you be watching CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV throughout the tournament from March 22nd – April 4th?
Posted On Friday, 19 March 2021 00:00 Written by
We have all heard that world does not stand still! Neither do our industry or our individual endeavors. Experts say the “Knowledge Mass” is now doubling approximately every 3 years. In the past year our world has changed dramatically. Have you and your company changed with it? Your BRAND is your identity which is created through your name, symbol, design and reputation. A known brand is customarily a symbol of trust; an unknown brand is no brand at all.
And we must all realize that the world and, more specifically, your market, have no need for another “Me too” brand. The degree to which your brand tells a differentiated story, will often be the degree which enables your success to come about.
Let’s talk about how you might re-energize your brand and image. I suggest you get 6-8 of your best and brightest team members together for a “Brand Brainstorm Session”. This is a platform where you can take advantage of the collective intellect of this group by seeking the input of each of them on multiple brand-related topics. Remember, all of us is smarter than one of us!
Start with an in-depth discussion of what your brand has stood for over the past ten years. What’s good about it? What’s outdated about it? What needs to be updated in the message you want to send to your marketplace?
Next create a mechanism for surveying your current client base to find out what they want and need in your space at this time. Perhaps it is done with your key people making phone calls or personal visits. Perhaps an e-survey would work for you. Endeavor in your meeting to define your current target market. How has it changed in recent years? What identifiable trends have you discovered? Is it advisable to expand your target market at this time? Careful - Don’t try to be all things to all people. If you do you may well end up being nothing to anybody! It’s normally best to make changes in your target market reservedly with well-thought-out reasons and precision strategies.
One way to advance your brand and reputation is to become known for the problems you solve. Now that we have identified what our target market wants and needs, we can fine-tune our solutions to create more value. Then we are tasked with selling our brand value to our target market.
Advertising guru, David Ogilvie once defined brand identity as The intangible sum of an organization’s known attributes. As you increase your capabilities and deliverables, the word will spread and your brand and image in the eyes of your customer will be enhanced.
Also, what do people think when they see your logo?  Does it stand for excellence? Is it tired and in need of rejuvenation? The GM logo has been consistent for almost a century – they simply have no resounding reason to change it! And I’ll bet you can picture it right now. Instagram recently created a new and improved logo to rave reviews. BB & T Bank and SunTrust recently merged and are now Truist Bank with a new logo. With good reason, it is sometimes time to step out and update your brand.
This writer believes that your goal should be to gain brand loyalty from those in your target market. If there are some who really don’t know about you and your brand, they are indifferent; from there we need to create awareness; then we want to earn preference status; then we go for brand insistence, and, ultimately, they become advocates of our brand.
The image of a company, product, or employee is never a constant, it’s an ever-changing variable. We are only as good as the last transaction we had with a given customer. Brand insistence is achieved by performing knock-your-socks-off service and a reputation for customer centric behavior! (Which is a discussion for another day)

We are in extraordinary times that call for extraordinary performance! Think hard about your brand, logo and market presence. Reinforce it as is, or tweak it, or change it altogether if need be, but carefully work through what you are saying to your marketplace and the way it will be received.

Posted On Friday, 19 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Rick DeLucaRick began his career as a part-time agent in 1976, quickly becoming full-time and eventually buying the company in his fifth year.  He grew it from 34 to 193 agents and lead the U.S. in agent productivity.  His personal sales production saw him sell 200+ homes per year during his sales career.  He was honored to be both Renos Salesperson of the Year, as well as the Nevadas Realtor of the Year.  Upon selling his company, Rick has shared his successful strategies worldwide ever since.  He has spoken in all 50 states, for every real estate franchise and has been recognized as one of the most popular trainers within the real estate industry. In 2014 Rick became the Regional Director for an Australian based franchise and grew it to 7 offices with 125 agents in Oregon and Washington.

With over 40 years of experience Ive seen every real estate model offered to this industry.  When I was first introduced to Exit Realty, I was intrigued with a business model I had never seen.  The culture of we help our people grow immediately impressed me. While providing state of the art technology, Exit Realty continues to emphasize the importance of relationships.  The combination of providing incredible tools, exceptional service to owners, agents and staff, a strong emphasis on strengthening relationships and a compensation plan that rewards growth has created a culture that is truly unique in this industry.  I believe my 40+ years in this business has prepared me for this journey and by joining the Exit Realty family I will create a legacy I will be proud to claim.

Posted On Friday, 19 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 18 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 18 March 2021 00:00 Written by

 Kathy_Schmalen.jpgKathy Schmalen is the owner of Che Sguardo in Chicago, IL and has extensive experience as an expert in both the professional image and beauty industries.  A Miss Illinois winner and Miss USA semi-finalist, her career accomplishments include international modeling for top fashion and beauty industry icons such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, commercial styling/beauty consultations, national esthetic trainer for many international companies, and prominent activism in the Chicago area non-profit and philanthropic communities.  Kathy established Che Sguardo/makeupstudio in 1984 with a focus on serving the commercial beauty industry, but also anyone who is passionate about healthy and vibrant living. 

Posted On Thursday, 18 March 2021 00:00 Written by

How do you work at home when your 2 young daughters have hijacked the Lucky Charms cereal to make a swimming pool for their Barbie Dolls all over your kitchen and still get work done? Super Mom and Co-Founder of Workman Success Systems, Brianne Workman Ika, shares how she really does get it done, carve out a little quiet time and still have some balance while smiling through it all.

 A bit about Brianne:

ValerieMorrisBrianne is committed to the success of WSS coaches, clients, and an amazing team. She has spent the last 8 years working as Verl's right hand, and the last 5 years as the Co-Founder and VP of Strategy and Growth helping to build Workman Success Systems. She loves working alongside her brothers, and dad, every day and excited about the future of WSS.

Posted On Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:00 Written by

California doctor has court hearing for traffic violation;

Logs into Zoom to appear for meeting with Judge;

Appears to be wearing operating room gear;

Appears to be in operating room;

Appears to be operating and performing surgery!

The court clerk asks, “Are you available for trial?  It kind of looks like you’re in an operating room right now?”

Doctor: “I’m in an operating room.  Yes, I’m available for trial.  Go right ahead!”

Medical equipment, beeping in background, doc handling surgical tools…

On a court appearance Zoom call!!!

Response from the wise Judge:

“So unless I’m mistaken, I’m seeing a defendant that’s in the middle of an operating room appearing to be actively engaged in providing services to a patient,” Judge Gary Link said during the virtual hearing.

“I do not feel comfortable for the welfare of a patient if you’re in the process of operating that I would put on a trial.”

Ok, Time-Out.

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury, I would like to present my first case:

The Doctor in Surgery –

1. The Promise to show up for court is one level of keeping the promise.
2. The Promise to be fully present and focused only on the task at hand – meaning: your court appearance – is the next level.
3. The Promise to keep your client safe during surgery, and rescheduling your surgeries and court appearances, is another level entirely (that would seem obvious).

If I may, I’d like to present my second case:

The Judge –

1. The Promise to show up for court is one level of keeping the promise.
2. The Promise to be fully present and focused only on the task at hand – meaning: judging with all of your judging powers a doctor who has already missed a court appearance and is now on screen appearing distracted – is the next level.
3. The Promise to stop the trial mid-court time in order to ensure the safety of the patient, who is not your responsibility, while the surgeon acts recklessly, in defiance, to appear for court, is another level entirely. 

The Jury finds the defendant, Doctor Surgery While On Zoom Guy, GUILTY of every crime against Zoomanity and sentenced to having a quick, un-announced surgery to be performed on him by a blindfolded surgeon while filmed before a live studio audience.

The Jury also finds the Judge, The Honorable Gary Link, the highest level of Promise Culture Leaders in the Universe and thanks him on behalf of all Humanity, as well as on behalf of the patient, who was about to lose potentially more than was scheduled.

Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury, and this Blog, are you the Doc or the Judge?

Keep The Promise.

(* Note: This is a REAL STORY, link HERE, as reported by CNN)



Posted On Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 16 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 16 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Artificial intelligence (A.I.), one of the 20 core technologies I identified back in 1983 as the drivers of exponential economic value creation, has started out simple. From Amazon’s Alexa, Siri on your iPhone, or proclaiming “hey, Google…” in your home, there are several small but impactful applications of A.I. that have become fully integrated in our world today.

Now, following a historic moment in contemporary history dominated by a global pandemic, A.I. advancements have been turbocharged like never before.Consumer products that implement A.I. that have been in the spotlight for a handful of years are now having to share that fame with Information Technology (IT) solutions and its place in industry. If you haven’t already, from this point forward, it would be a good idea to keep a closer eye on A.I.’s rapid development and look for both predictable problems as well as amazing opportunities.

Disrupting IT Operations

Now that A.I. is starting to work its way into jobs and specific industries, many who turned a blind eye to its consumer and entertainment-based applications are now starting to get uneasy.

A job as an IT professional has been in increasing demand since the widespread growth of the Internet in the workplace, with the job market loaded with various opportunities. But as A.I. makes its way into the workplace, the tasks of an IT professional are rapidly transforming into something entirely different.

For example, A.I. and what’s called Machine Learning (M.L.) have the capacity to handle tasks that would require a large staff working around the clock, such as building a secure IT system. The fact of the matter is as the Internet and digital technologies evolve, so do cybercriminals. In order to prevent hacking and detrimental data breaches, an IT department at an organization must stay ahead of cybercrime.

What better way to do that than by implementing a system that can actually learn how to adapt to changing digital environments and know how to defend against them faster than a human cybercriminal can hack?

Artificial Intelligence In Manufacturing

A human’s physical ability to work in a manufacturing plant is not limitless in the traditional sense. We as people are sentient, emotional creatures; therefore, we require vacation time off, lunch breaks, and can at most work twelve-hour shifts before we start to clock out mentally, even if we are still physically on the job.

And consider how many individuals you need working on a line, each of their pay, and how many you need to switch in every shift change to keep up with the customer demands.

Working on an assembly line in a manufacturing plant is a prime example of what is referred to as Process Automation in the world of A.I. and M.L. What would ordinarily require a multitude of humans to perform physical, repetitive tasks can be accomplished by A.I. applications quicker and, much like the IT security system mentioned above, around the clock without needing to consider the labor rights of the machine.

Replacing Humans?

With advanced A.I. promising almost limitless possibilities that will enable businesses in every industry to make better decisions and complete tasks in far less time, what happens to humans in all of this?

Of course, entry-level workers all the way up to supervisors alike are worried about losing their jobs. We as humans like our comfort zones; however, there is no longevity in protecting and defending the status quo with rigorous fervor as the digital world around you speeds by like a bullet train.   

It is crucial to recognize how the technological landscape is evolving before our eyes during this digital transformation. Yes, it is true that hundreds of traditional jobs are disappearing, which may leave many out of work, but it is also important to realize how there are a wealth of new roles and employment opportunities arriving that are needed to help us progress further.

Learn To Anticipate The World Of A.I.

The key is to implement my Anticipatory Leader System, which is developed based on the identification of Hard Trends – future certainties that will happen – and Soft Trends – future maybes that are open to influence. In doing so, you will be able to pre-solve problems with newly emerging digital disruptions before they disrupt and leverage those disruptions for game-changing opportunities in your individual career or organization as a whole.

As an organization, it is important to identify the Hard Trend of A.I. and M.L. Those technologies have been at play in consumer markets, such as smartphones, for years. I always say, we aren’t going to suddenly stop using Alexa or Siri, so the technology of A.I. is certainly a Hard Trend.

But the Soft Trend is how A.I. will be implemented as it grows in the manufacturing industry, IT, and beyond. How will you implement A.I. at your organization, and more importantly, how will you reposition your workforce to keep their jobs and work with the technology?

For every new technology, there is a “human side” or “soft science” to it, which cannot be automated. Consider the historic Miracle on the Hudson, where Captain Sullenberger took over the machine to save lives, whereas in that case, the machine was designed to follow a set of predetermined instructions that would’ve ultimately led the plane to crash.

There is always a place for humans in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and it is either up to you as a leader at your organization or an employee to become anticipatory in how you will work with it rather than fight against it.



Posted On Tuesday, 16 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Words from a basketball coach- “Shooting means every time you catch the ball, your eyes go to the rim. By looking at the rim from any position, allows you to see everything that happens on the floor.”

When you are positioning yourself to score on your real estate or mortgage deal, you need to have your eyes on what you want to accomplish.  It might be buying a home in a particular neighborhood.  You may want to reduce your overall monthly debt by refinancing a mortgage. Knowing your comfort level on move-in costs and monthly payments helps you keep your view of the playing field in perspective. 

We have experienced the lowest rates we have ever seen several weeks ago.  February 2021 saw the price on rates start an upward climb due to the fear of inflation, actions, and comments by the Federal Reserve. Even though mortgage rates are not tied to the Fed Rate, the Federal Reserve somewhat controls the price you pay for your mortgage rate by the amount of mortgage-backed securities they buy.

We are seeing the highest values on homes. Corelogic Equity reported fourth-quarter 2020 showed that homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase by over 16% year over year. The increased equity build-up helps home sellers position themselves well for more net profit selling their homes. 

The week of March 8th, 2021, was kinder to rates, inching down slightly.  What does the playing field look like to you with your plans to buy a home or refinance the one you have?  Are you going to make your play and take your shot to score?  Some people say you miss every shot you don’t take. 

Renters want a piece of the profit from real estate values.  They are playing some smart strategies to buy a home.   It’s competitive, but if you know what you want, you are prepared and play a good strategy, you can score on purchasing the home you want. 

Bo Binkins felt cramped for space in the city apartment.  He wanted fresh air and the wide-open space outside the city.   With the help of a low-interest rate and low mortgage payment on the 100% USDA Rural Housing loan, he moved his family and his fishing gear to his new home on a country road closer to his favorite fishing spot. Bo can brag about his zero-down home purchase with his monthly payment much lower than the rent he was paying in town for a smaller space.  

Karen had worked hard throughout her career.  She had sacrificed to invest in her retirement funds and hoped to have her home paid off by the time she retired. Retirement loomed ahead, and she realized with a slight bit of panic that her income would decrease, but her bills would still be high.  

Karen told me, “It suddenly hit me that I do NOT have to pay off the house. If I can refinance my mortgage back to a 30-year term on a rate this far below what I am currently paying for the 15-year loan, I can do more and live better with the extra freed up cash flow each month.”   

Realtors and mortgage loan officers can see the real estate market from high up in the press box. What opportunities do you see for your homeowners, home buyers, and home sellers?

As a real estate professional, you are in the press box with a top-down view of the opportunities available to your clients.   What winning strategies do you see right now? 

Posted On Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00 Written by

The mortgage and real estate industries are bound by a series of rules, regulations, laws, and hopefully by ethics. While there has always been a few that have avoided or just plain disregarded the rules, most of those in the professions of mortgage and real estate have paid attention to the rules and were likely held to task when they didn’t.

The mortgage meltdown led to a huge collapse in the markets worldwide. Most responsible for the violation of trust placed with them have never been held accountable for their actions and some that were, didn’t suffer more than pennies on the dollar for their crimes, forget going to prison for a long time.

Today we are facing larger and more overt violations of rules and regulations than we saw prior to the mortgage meltdown and nobody seems to care! Major companies openly violate norms that have been well established and yet NOTHING happens.

How is it possible that these things happen in broad daylight and it goes almost accepted as part of the new world? How is it possible that companies can violate some of the most basic of all ethics in the real estate community, not communicating with or marketing to, a seller who is already listed their property with a licensed real estate agent and share with them specific strategies on how to terminate that agreement and the benefits of listing with a different agent, one that the company soliciting that seller will be happy to direct them to? You just have to go back last week to the National Real Estate Post and see their piece about the story of an agent in Washington State and wonder how this is possible, but nothing has even been done about it!

Is it possible that the National Association of Realtors® could have missed it? Is it possible that the local real estate board or the State of Washington could have missed it? Is it possible that collecting dues and thinking about what to lobby for is all any of these people are good for? Please go to and look at the March 1st video. Then ask yourself what is going on?

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

Posted On Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 15 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Sunday, 14 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Sunday, 14 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Sunday, 14 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Ron HowardSince 2005, Ron Howard & Associates has been one of the top teams in the Baltimore region with just under a Billion in sales. Ron's team holds the rare distinction of being one of top selling teams annually and the most favorably reviewed on Zillow with over 780+ reviews. Ron has earned his brokerages highest annual sales award - the Diamond Club - 9 times, while also being inducted into their Circle of Legends and Hall of Fame.

Ron became a real estate professional after he and a partner bought, renovated and sold dozens of properties, and he's built upon his professional experiences in sales, information technology, broadcast video production, and computer networking—from which he learned how to launch innovative, high-impact marketing campaigns. A cornerstone accomplishment was creating and launching Proforms, a contract writing software for the residential real estate industry. His specialty in the technology of automating work groups and work flow has bolstered his success in pioneering a team approach to the real estate business.

Currently Ron leads a top producing 15 person sales team in Maryland that is expanding into multiple markets. In 2018 Ron wrote Create Demand and Stop Chasing Business, which spent months as a Real Estate #1 best seller on Amazon and made the Inman "Best Real Estate Books of 2018". Ron is releasing his second book in July of 2020 – Profitability & Performance Pitstops for Real Estate Team Leaders.

Posted On Friday, 12 March 2021 00:00 Written by
The tragic automobile accident that nearly took Tiger Woods’ life recently could certainly be a lesson for all.
Remembering my classroom driver education teaching days of many years ago, I can vividly recall my continuous stern warnings to those tenth graders: Speed Kills!
While it may not have been announced by the investigation, we certainly can assume that, given that no physical impairment was confirmed, speed was a factor on that tricky road in Southern California.
While this accident doesn’t compare to the 500,000 lives that have been lost in the US due to the coronavirus, this article is not written to explain comparisons. Automobile accidents happen every day and many with fatalities. Tiger is lucky to be alive. The tragedy is his loss in the golfing world. That sport like so many others has lost superstars over the years. But what is it that seems to make this tragedy so special?
Tiger has had many transgressions in his 45 years. It was recently commented that Tiger has probably had more surgeries than wins on the PGA circuit. In fact, in an interview on Sunday (two days before this accident) with CBS announcer Jim Nantz at the Riviera Course, Tiger was asked if he would be ready for The Masters in Augusta, Georgia (April 8-11). Tiger responded that he hopes so, but it will depend on the doctor’s evaluation. It sure will!
Tiger has had five back surgeries and five knee surgeries. Most will remember that Tiger came on the scene when he appeared on the Mike Douglas television show in 1978 accompanied by his father Earl, who was his mentor and staunch encourager. On that show, Tiger demonstrated his putting and golf swing to the amazement of Douglas and his viewing audience. His amateur play was about as auspicious as it could get. He turned professional at age of 20 and began winning immediately.
He won four PGA Tour events including his first major, The Masters, winning by 12 strokes at the (youngest ever) age of 21. He has continued winning with 82 PGA Tour wins tying Sam Snead’s record.
With Tiger as his idol, Colin Morikawa won the World Golf Championship in Bradenton, Florida by a 3-stroke advantage. This was the first PGA tournament following Tiger’s accident. His presence was prominent at the WGC with several players adopting Tiger’s wardrobe style of traditionally wearing black pants and a red shirt on the final (fourth) day of the tournament.
Morikawa, who was a year old when Tiger turned pro, was also planning on that type of wardrobe, but his ordered package failed to arrive on time. Colin had a tear in his eye in his TV exit interview.
Posted On Friday, 12 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Thursday, 11 March 2021 00:00 Written by

A bit about Jo: 

pic jo garner 3 21 17 rems logo by lsi“Whatever YOUR personal priorities are, my job is to help you get the mortgage terms that will give you bragging rights when you talk about it and help you score on hitting your goals.”

As a mortgage loan officer, my job is to help you get to the benefits you want from your financing terms. What is most important to you? I can help you find the financing terms that will help you get to what you want.  What is your comfort level on a house payment? How much are you comfortable paying down,? What type of financing do you need to get the house you want to buy or refinance?

Different clients have different priorities in life—some are buying their first home with very little down payment funds. Some are recovering from medical challenges, divorces or preparing to send children to college and some are embarking on a long term goal of buying properties to build rental income.”

Jo Garner is a mortgage officer with extensive knowledge in tailoring mortgages to her customers who are refinancing or purchasing homes all over the country. She offers conventional, FHA, VA or other loan programs for refinancing and purchases.

Jo can help you look at rent vs buy, when it makes sense to refinance, how to get the best deal on your home purchase financing.  

Jo Garner has been in the real estate/financing business for over 25 years.  She got her start in Portland, Maine where she first began her real estate career. She received her real estate education from the University of Southern Maine and was personally mentored in San Diego, California by Robert G. Allen, author of Nothing Down, Creating Wealth and The Challenge

On moving back to West Tennessee in 1987, she went into business buying and selling discounted owner-financed notes secured on real estate.  In 1990 Jo went to work for a residential mortgage company and has been a mortgage loan officer for over 25 years.  Her goal is to offer excellent, affordable service to her customers, tailoring the loan programs to the specific needs of her clients.  

In addition to her work in the mortgage field, Jo Garner is the primary sponsor and founder of Talk Shoppe in Memphis. Jo Garner also host the radio show Real Estate Mortgage Shoppe airing on News Radio AM 600 WREC and iHeart Radio with podcasts and show notes published on  

Posted On Thursday, 11 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Wednesday, 10 March 2021 00:00 Written by

What makes you HAPPY?

I think of that zone I get in when work is just flowing, I’m cranking out emails, finishing To-Do lists, projects delivered and ready to be published;

Moments cruising down the highway in the RV as I look in the rearview mirror and see my children playing a game with Mommy with the open road ahead of us;

How about those times when you know you’re doing what you should be doing – eating healthy and clean, working out, feeling great, sunshine on your shoulders and it makes you happy.

What are those times for you?

How do you capture them?

Can you share them with those you love?

Can you utilize them to inspire those you Lead and work with?

I want to bring a smile to your face like this brought to me.

Of course, it’s not the same if you’re not there with me, but video will have to do for this one, coming from the top of Brighton Ski Resort in Sandy, UT.

Perhaps in the future you want to join me on top of this mountain?

As The Promise Institute continues it’s roll-out to the world, we will introduce little snippets of what will be offered to leaders who want to come join me in Utah as the world continues opening up (or we’ll go to other incredible locations), where we will enjoy views like this together as we discuss The Promise and how it can both multiply your leadership output at work and even more in your soul.

We are working on life-changing stuff, my friends – more to come.

Enjoy the video above and the unreal view!

Your Promise Prompt:

Share with us, in the comments, some of the simple/big things that make you HAPPY!

Have a Promise filled week.



Posted On Wednesday, 10 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Fashion Stylist Lauren Draffin helps reduce the stress of dressing daily. To make the process easier and to save time, do you ever default to wearing the "safe" outfit? With work structure changing you could be stuck in a rut! Join Lauren to help you go from Drab to Dynamic and get a closet fashion makeover virtually! 

A bit about Lauren:

LaurenDraffinLauren Draffin is a Memphis-based wardrobe stylist. Her services include closet consulting, personal shopping, commercial and editorial direction, styled events from bridal and portraits to TV and custom clothing. LD also specializes in styling large-scale events such as Memphis Fashion Week in addition to wholesale buying, fashion + tech design and retail. She has over 15 years’ experience in the Fashion Industry and has returned to Memphis as a fashion expert and style educator. Lauren’s accomplished work experience gives her clients the tools to execute an effortless and personalized style from the outside in.

After earning her degree in fashion merchandising, Lauren moved to New York City to start her career. After years working with various designers and fashion brands, LD moved back to Memphis to spearhead ‘Styled by LD.' Lauren has empowered men and women to discover their very best, most confident selves. Styled by LD will help you recognize your personal strengths and learn how to execute an effortless wardrobe by becoming fully comfortable in your own skin... all through the power of style!

Posted On Wednesday, 10 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 09 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Tuesday, 09 March 2021 00:00 Written by

The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be one of the most disruptive occurrences to happen in modern history. Starting in mid-March of 2020, something happened that would have been considered unheard of on January 1: Everyone was forced to change in some way — and with so many business closing their doors, and large numbers of employees globally sheltering in place and working from home, we turned to digital solutions like never before.

From a business perspective, you were either shut down, like bars and restaurants, or you were booming, like grocery stores and pharmacies. And with no clear end to the pandemic in sight, there were, and still are, extremely high levels of uncertainty to deal with, on both a personal and a business level.  Unlike the Great Recession of over a decade ago, the coronavirus pandemic was not the result of a rapid industry decline like housing prices dropping to foreclosure levels, or a dramatic stock market crash due to bad loans. This was quite a different disaster, creating unique problems we had no experience in solving, as well as new types of opportunities.  The solutions — from a vaccine level, a business level, and a government level — would need to be quite different as well.  

We cannot turn back the clocks and undo the damage the pandemic has done, but we can move forward with an anticipatory mindset and a firm plan of action.  For many decades now, and in all industries, digital disruption has been on an exponential curve upward. Because the pandemic forced us to turn to technology for help on both a personal and business level, the pace of technology-driven change increased dramatically, far beyond merely exponential levels. Now that this change has been set in motion, the question remains: What do we do now?

Having a plan is always a key to success. There is an old saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” I would add that it is equally important to build the likelihood of change into the plan by making the plan a dynamic plan (as opposed to a static plan that is unchangeable). But both during and after the pandemic, successful planning requires more than a simple business forecast (of events that may or may not happen) or scenario planning (in which a planning team creates a number of possibilities and develops a reactive strategy for each).  

Hundreds of organizations worldwide have embraced my Anticipatory Organization Model® to elevate their planning, accelerate innovation and transform results, because it allows them to find certainty in an uncertain world and the confidence to make bold moves forward. A foundational portion of the methodology teaches you that all trends are either Hard Trends based on future facts (relating to events that will happen) or Soft Trends based on future assumptions (about events that might happen). By separating future facts from future assumptions, you have a powerful way to uncover game-changing opportunities — even in a pandemic!     

In scenario planning, all scenarios represent Soft Trends, or assumptions about the future that might happen. None of these scenarios represents a future fact, which is why you need so many scenarios. Soft Trends, and the scenarios you can derive from them, are very useful because they identify opportunities to influence an assumption.  But assumptive scenarios neglect the most important part of strategic planning, future facts — or, in other words, certainty. 

Presently, the vast majority of organizations in a multitude of industries are reactionary — or, at best, agile fast reactors. While agility is very important, the pandemic has shown us that when disruptive change occurs, it doesn’t matter how agile you are — you can’t react quickly enough to get ahead of the change curve and truly take advantage of disruptive change. Therefore, as you create your plans for the years ahead, you will find it very beneficial to move beyond basing your plans only on assumptions about what the future will bring and to learn instead to anticipate and use future facts to take better advantage of what is to come.

2020 Accelerated Digital Trends

Digital disruption was already increasing at an exponential rate even before the big elephant known as COVID-19 entered the room in 2020.  When the pandemic hit, many focused on the obstacle and put innovation and growth out of mind, replacing them with a reactive strategy only.

Of course, we did have to react to massive changes quickly, which is why I always say that it is important to be agile. Many things come out of the blue to which we need to be able to react quickly. However, as an Anticipatory Leader, you are not limited to mere reaction.  You learn how to create a list of things you are certain about, and a list of things that you can do, thereby arming yourself with a way to grow no matter what the situation is.

For example, here is a Hard Trend future fact: The pandemic will end. Post-pandemic success will be determined by what you do now, not what you do then! Therefore, becoming anticipatory — that is, spending less time putting out fires set by the pandemic and more time discovering the amazing opportunities that are right there for you to see — will serve you well into the future.  

As I said earlier, the pandemic has dramatically accelerated many of the digital trends that were already growing exponentially long before the pandemic. For example, Digital Hard Trends like eCommerce accelerated ten years’ worth in five months! During the lockdown, many had to stay home, prompting them to shop online for just about everything, including ordering food for curbside pickup. Even grocery stores that were packed with customers saw an increase in demand for online ordering. And as you might guess, contactless payment systems also grew rapidly.  

When technology advances accelerate, the number of new opportunities accelerate as well. Are you and your organization taking the time to identify the new opportunities for accelerating growth that this massive acceleration in e-commerce enables? 

Digital Trends in Accounting and Finance

The same challenges and opportunities applied to the accounting and finance industry. When the pandemic hit, midsize and small banks, as well as accounting firms that were not already using VPNs for security and the cloud, quickly turned to cloud solutions to maximize the productivity of both their remote staff and remote customers. The distancing forced by safety concerns represented a major opportunity for those Anticipatory Accounting™ firms and banks that had anticipated these Hard Trends and were already using cloud computing services and secure VPNs for remote work before the pandemic hit. These well-prepared organizations very quickly adjusted and benefited from having their employees and customers work remotely. And as you might guess, the distancing forced by the pandemic accelerated remote working by 10 years in just five months  and cloud computing, which was already being used by many organizations, by four years in just five months.

Are you and your organization taking the time to identify the new opportunities for accelerating growth that this massive acceleration of distributed cloud computing services enables? Do you have a plan to leverage what you’ve learned from remote working after the pandemic ends?  

Banks and the financial industry have had to contend with another major challenge: With so many employees going remote and customers going digital, there has been a sharp acceleration in digital cash management, remote banking, and applications for loans, not to mention PPP loan management.  As a consequence, digital fraud has become an even bigger problem — one that drove the accelerated use of adaptive and predictive cybersecurity applications by five years in five months

Are you and your organization taking the time to identify ways you can take cybersecurity to the next level?  Instead of simply reacting as quickly as you can threats, are you developing a predict-and-prevent strategy?

Going Forward, Not Back

It is important to understand that things will not fully go back to the way they were pre-pandemic, but that should not worry you.  In your personal life, you’ll still want — and be able — to do most of the things you did pre-pandemic, like taking a walk on a beach and going to a restaurant with friends.  But the way you do those everyday things will involve a much higher level of digital integration, even if you don’t actually see it. And when it comes to business, both p transformation and digital disruption have been accelerated, and will continue to accelerate post-pandemic. 

That’s why it is so important to become an Anticipatory Leader who identifies problems before they occur (so that you can pre-solve them) and disruptions before they disrupt (so that you can turn change and disruption into a business and personal advantage).   

Playing Offense Versus Defense

Consider almost any team sport, which requires players to focus on both offense and defense. Offense is focused on moving the ball forward and gaining points. Defense tries to prevent the opponent from scoring points.

Defense is reactive: The faster you react (the more agile you are), the better you’re able to protect and defend your team’s interests.  Offense, on the other hand, is anticipatory: It requires players to scan the entire playing field continuously for opportunities to move the ball forward and score points. 

To succeed on the field, a team must be effective both at reacting and anticipating.  But most businesses, and the people who lead and manage them, spend the vast majority of their days only reacting — to a problem, a customer complaint, an email, or a situation.  In other words, these businesses and their managers are only playing defense. 

But how many championships have been won with defense alone? The last 20 years of Super Bowl winners didn’t triumph simply because they had the best offense — they were the best at being anticipatory! 

The pandemic has illustrated for us that when things change fast and that change accelerates, you can’t react quickly enough to get ahead, no matter how agile you are. Becoming an Anticipatory Leader allows you to take control of change and disruption, and to become what I call a positive disruptor, creating the transformations that need to happen to elevate your organization’s relevancy and accelerate innovation and growth.  In business, offense wins!

Actively Shape Your Future!

Technology trends have been dramatically accelerated by between four and ten years in just a few months. It’s important to understand that this dramatic acceleration, which has pushed beyond merely exponential levels, has created many new and game-changing opportunities for you and your organization. Have you noticed? Are you building accelerated technology Hard Trends and future facts into your plans now? Are you positioning your organization to be a positive disruptor in the years ahead? 

It’s time to play offense, to be anticipatory! It’s time to actively shape your future — because if you don’t, someone else will!



Posted On Tuesday, 09 March 2021 00:00 Written by
Posted On Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00 Written by

Change can be difficult, but it can also be an opportunity. New changes to the loan application form and the challenges that go with it are an issue for a large number of reasons. While any change in the mortgage industry is an issue, most recently TRID, you can always find a path forward.

I follow a few loan originator forums and often contribute when I think I have something significant to offer. Today I just want to point out that the change is here and we all have to live with it until the next change comes along. Complaining about the changes will not resolve the issue. Complaining on how much harder it is to do your job with the new application will fall like a brick. Whining about how it is harder to use your LOS and some of the supporting loan software you may have is a complete waste of your time! The form is here for now so get over it!

Take control of what you can control! The new form requires more specific information and there is no getting around the fact that you will have to work a little bit harder on the front of your loans (pre-approvals) to get what you need for a smooth transition from pre-approved to being in contract to buy. It may cause some borrowers to ask why you need all of this information? The answer is simple, without the information you can’t complete the pre-approval process, which is needed so we can close your application quickly once you are under contract!

Everyone is facing challenges. Your job is to make sure you can guide your clients and referral partners down a path that provides for the best possible outcome in the shortest period of time! Dealing with the new loan application is just one piece of the puzzle. Rising rates, COVID-19, spring buying season, huge numbers of buyers, potential delays in IRS activities, software interfaces, and all kinds of other issues will get resolved either by taking control of the things you can, and accepting the things you can’t. Anything else is counterproductive!

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

Posted On Monday, 08 March 2021 00:00 Written by
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