Building a culture of excellence

How to drive performance in an era of declining profitability

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In a market fraught with tightening margins and diminishing profits, it is easy for leaders to turn their focus to how they can make cuts to save money right away and in the short term. However, many experts would agree that it is almost impossible to “cut” your way to success. Though it may sound counterintuitive to some, one of the most important ways to combat declining profitability in challenging times is through a renewed focus on an organization’s culture, as culture drives engagement and engagement drives performance.


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It has been proven time and time again that companies that make an investment in workplace culture attract the industry’s best talent and achieve greater success. For leaders who want to see their business grow to the next level, the solution is to focus on building a great culture — a culture of excellence.


The first step toward building a culture of excellence is to cast a clear vision and cascade it down to the rest of your associates. Leaders need to ask themselves if they have a clear direction for where they want to take their company and what they want to accomplish. Does this vision fire them up when they think about it? Does it get them out of bed in the morning with a clear mission to win?

This vision to win is a vital part of leading a successful team. Great sports teams have more than talented players. They have incredible coaches who lead them to victory. The best performers are typically on the best teams because the best teams win. Top producers want to be led by someone who has an incredible vision and plan to see it come true.

Leaders, take the time to ask yourself, “What is my vision for what I want this organization to achieve?” Once you know, share this vision with your team. Get excited about where you can go together!


A leader is ultimately responsible for shaping the culture of their branch or company. The decisions they make determine not only the future of their business, but also the lives of their associates. These decisions will greatly affect the way their team perceives their leader. Loan officers will read an unspoken message about whether or not the leader has the team’s best interests at heart.

When leaders have to make a decision about their business, is profit the first thing that comes to mind? Of course, profit is a factor in all decisions. We must make money to survive. However, instead of looking at every choice only through the filter of profitability, we should ask ourselves instead what is right for our employees and our customers. If these factors determine the decision-making process, a leader will win every time.

Building loyalty ensures future profit. A well-cared-for associate will be a better performer and will continue to grow for years to come under leadership they trust. A well-cared-for customer will keep doing business with a lender and will send other people their way. In the long run, the relationships mortgage professionals form will be the deciding factor in the success of their business.


Building a culture of excellence means ensuring associates feel valued, know their priorities, and are fully engaged. The best way to make sure every member of the team is on the same page, aware of what is expected of them, and empowered to meet these expectations is a regular one-on-one meeting.

At XINNIX, every associate has a weekly Power Meeting with their leader. In this Power Meeting, our team members check in with their managers to receive direction on projects and activities, make sure they are properly prioritizing the right things, and get feedback on their performance. There are no surprises at the end-of-year review because they’ve been having reviews with their leaders every week.

This weekly process is one of the key factors in defining the culture of care, concern, engagement, and productivity that has won XINNIX 11 culture awards. It’s also vital in driving the vision of XINNIX — transforming the mortgage industry through a commitment to excellence. These weekly meetings ensure that you and your employees are on the same page and lets them know you are dedicated to their development.


Investing in team members through individual one-on-ones is vital, but it’s even more effective when coupled with regular team meetings. Many managers gather their salesforce together for a meeting once a month or less. These managers are missing out on an important opportunity to foster communication and camaraderie among their team.

The XINNIX Team starts every Monday morning with our weekly briefing, a 30-minute standup meeting where the entire company gathers and shares the previous week’s results and the next week’s priorities. Even remote employees are broadcast into the meeting through video.

This is a time when our leaders and I get to congratulate our associates on their success in front of their peers and departments get to share their projects and goals with other departments.

Most importantly, every team member hears what the overall mission of XINNIX is and what we are currently doing to achieve. These meetings set the tone for our entire company. Weekly meetings are key if you want to gain alignment and renewed focus in your branch.

When you take these steps to establish a culture of excellence in your organization, you are setting up your associates to experience both personal and professional growth that results in the overall success of your business. A company’s most valuable asset is the effectiveness of its salesforce. When your salesforce feels valued, heard, and empowered, they are ready to take your business to the next level.


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