We often hear about right-sizing when the economy is not in its best form. But in reality, right-sizing is a discipline that works both in an expanding market and a contracting market. It’s all about having the right number of the right people in the room. As a CEO, you want to have the best people surrounding you who can actually contribute to formulating strategy. Joining David Lykken to talk about this are David Kittle, Howard Nathan, and Stephen Chapman. Bringing in their unique perspectives as a CEO, a CFO, and a people expert, respectively, our three guests unpack several key topics that need to be addressed when it comes to right-sizing. Tune in and get a fresh perspective on the true impact of right-sizing from a leadership, financial, and human-cultural standpoint.
Right-Sizing Your Business With David Kittle, Howard Nathan, And Stephen Chapman
I’m excited to have an episode where we’re featuring three individuals who can have a big impact on your business. I want to introduce David Kittle, my good friend. David, it’s good to have you here and good to have you joining us with two of your key individuals on this project, although we have others that support it. It’s Howard Nathan, as well as Stephen Chapman. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here.
Thanks for having us, David. We’re glad to be here.
We’re glad to have you here. We’re talking about something that is going on in the industry. It’s right-sizing your business. We want to talk about that. David, if you could lay a foundation of how you came up with this real quick. Most people understand the concept, but maybe how the genesis of what we’re doing together here and how that started.
I was giving a talk at the Meridian Link Conference on the market, the conditions, where everything was going to go and what people were going to do with their companies and had several people come up afterward. They gave me the idea through the questions that I thought this was much needed out there, and it is, from the response that we’re getting. I reached out to you. You thought this was a great idea. I said, “I’m going to have Howard Nathan on this.”
He’s a CFO and a COO type. You brought in Stephen Chapman to us. I’ll let them talk about what they do. We put this team together to go into your business and evaluate from every aspect, from your C-Suite to your financials and to the culture inside your business, so you can right-size and profit going forward.
Regardless of size of the market where it’s going. Howard, it’s good to have you joining us. We always refer to you as a CFO with a sense of humor. We’ve witnessed that again. It’s great to have you on. Also, Alice Alvey, who is a regular on the show, said, “If it’s the Howard Nathan that I know, this guy is good.” I’ve heard this so much, a reputation that you’ve been introduced to me numerous times, even though we’re just starting to work together, Howard. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, if you would.
It’s great to be here, David. I appreciate you having me on. My background is I’ve been in the industry for many years working in a variety of different roles. I’ve been in C-Suite executive roles in financial institutions, both within depository institutions and independent mortgage banks. Now, I run a fractional CFO service where I provide part-time CFO services to a number of different clients in the industry. What we’re talking about is certainly things I’ve gone through in the past and helping my clients with now as well.
It’s a real issue because many people have a bias. You are coming in with a strong CFO background, CPA background, bringing a true third-party to look at the numbers, which brings a lot to it. Also, there’s that we’re dealing with people, though, and that’s where Stephen comes in. Stephen, it’s good to have you here. Stephen and I worked together on Patrick Lencioni’s CAPA PRO group. That’s where I originally met him.
He works for one of the major insurance companies but is able to do this in addition to that because he has a real passion about corporate health and working with people and getting the right people on the bus and the right people off the bus. Stephen, I don’t want to take away your thunder, but tell us a little about yourself and what you’re passionate about.Meetings are the key source of where business happens. It's the game field for business. If people are having terrible meetings, they're likely to have a pretty terrible organization as well. Click To Tweet
I’ve had the opportunity to work with two large corporations, Allstate and Walmart, and with executives and senior leaders across both companies to help improve the performance of their teams and have the conversations they need to have. It’s often messy to do business and work. We can get lost in the day-to-day.
I help clients step back and look at the health of their organization, creating cohesive and effective teams, creating clarity around some important topics. Why are they doing what they’re doing? Why what’s the real long-term strategy and goal of what they want to get out of their business? What’s most important right now? Who’s going to do what? What do we value?
Find ways to help over-communicate that and to reinforce that clarity throughout the organization. We talk about organizational health, much like our own physical health. It’s a discipline. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not a magical change. It requires a lot of structure, but it’s not too crazy in terms of complications. It’s pretty straightforward. I love being able to come alongside leaders to make the world of work a better place to work.
You’ve done this successfully and we’ve got a great track record. There are many stories we can tell, but I want to start with you, Stephen, a little bit because you have done this for some large organizations where you’re watching, certainly the industries you’ve served have gone, they’ve expanded and they’ve had to contract. We’re in a contraction mode right now. We prefer to see this as right-sizing because it’s a discipline that works in both directions in an expanding market and a contracting market.
Talk about the bias, Stephen, that you have seen. You would use the metaphor of working out. There are some people that go, “I want to increase my pecs. I’m going to go spend all the time doing pushups or on the bench.” It’s not good to work just one muscle group. You need to work the whole body and be aware of the whole of what you’re doing. Talk about that from what you’ve seen and the importance to get a true third-party perspective on this.
As much like our own family or friend dynamics, it’s hard to see them from the inside. I’d have a third-party come in from the outside and observe, watch, and help you facilitate conversations, helps bring to light bad habits that you may not even realize that you have. One of the things that we talk about as the greatest indicator of organizational health is your meetings themselves. Are your meetings boring? Are people checking out or not engaged? Are you going through the motions? Another thing we talk about is meeting stew. You go from talking about this long-term huge objective to like, “What time was that meeting to start? Do we have all the things in line for that?”
We refer to meetings often, too is like turbulence you experience with an airplane. You go from up top to down low fast. One of the things that we help clients do is recognize that meetings are the key source of where business happens. If we’re going to use a sports analogy, it’s the game field for business. If people are having terrible meetings, they’re likely to have a pretty terrible organization as well. That’s one of the areas that we focus in and drill down to, to how do you have effective, fun meetings that accomplish things.
The Death by Meeting is a great book by Lencioni. We are both Lencioni fans and follow that all the way through. Patrick Lencioni released a podcast called Honey, I Shrunk the Team. There are a lot of people that it brings out the principle about where you see the size of a comp, your group. If you have everybody, because you don’t want to offend anybody, you want to have everybody on this executive team, you effectively get consensus rather than critical thought.
Howard, you certainly have seen this. Don’t worry, David, I’m coming to you in a minute because I got some things on the leadership side because of the blind spots. As you’re listening to this, David, I want to get your perspective on the blind spots that the CEO or the president, the owner struggles with. Howard, you certainly see this as well as a CFO. You see people struggling with this. Talk to that a little bit about the struggle if you wouldn’t mind.
Regarding that podcast you mentioned, I have seen instances where the CEO has way too many people reporting directly to him. With one of my past clients, it was a conversation. He and I had quite frequently about how to structure that and how does he start to delegate some of the roles and responsibilities that he has. I completely understand that and have lived that. It’s important that the CEO wants to surround himself with people who are going to challenge him and add value to those senior strategic meetings versus having a lot of people in there to not offend anyone.
Your team notices that. If people are just sitting there and not contributing to meetings, it brings to question the CEO or owners’ leadership. It’s important to make a note of that. Obviously, as you start to adjust your overall company and right sizes, you have to take a critical look at your direct reports to determine, “I’m cutting my overall team by 1/3. How is that going to impact my direct reports as well?” Make sure you have the right number and the right people in the room.
There’s one time when they cut a group of people and they didn’t even tell the guy that managed the people that they had cut them. You go like, “What in the world were you thinking?” That’s why it’s having a unique balance between your discipline, Howard, which is looking at the numbers. What we need to get down to realistically, not what we hope to produce this month, this quarter, or this year, but get it down to what is realistic and balance that with, “Who do we need on the team? I know you’ll like this person, but do they need to be there?” That’s where that balance comes in that Stephen brings.
David, you’ve certainly seen that. You’ve been the Chairman of the MBA. You have been a president and owner of a number of mortgage companies. You now consult with me to other mortgage companies. You’re the Founder of The Mortgage Collaborative. You certainly see all of this. Talk about this, what you’re seeing in the struggle, which is at the heart of what we’re trying to do here.
I could concisely say everything Howard said, which is one reason why Howard was both my Chief Financial Officer and my Chief Operating Officer at one time in our careers. Everything Howard said is what you’ll look for in the C-Suite and what not to look for. Are you too close to the people that report to you? Certainly, you have to surround yourself with people that are smarter than I am.
I hired them for a reason. I let them go and let them hang themselves. If they make a mistake, you correct it. What Howard said and would what you related to, David, you can have too many people around you and people that aren’t producing. It’s the objective look that we’re going to give you from the experience that we have. That’s key.
How important is that objective look, Mr. Kittle?
It’s more important than anything else because people don’t like to look in the mirror, especially in business. They’re in the C-Suite is tough. It’s rare. When you have people that want to look and we may go in until that particular CEO that they’re the problem. It’ll be a tough look, an honest look, and a fair look.
Isn’t that the key to leadership? When you look at someone that does that, Howard, you’re the CFO. Thank God you got a great sense of humor and a wonderful personality. People love you that work with you. That’s true. They truly enjoy you as a human being. We struggle with this because we do not see the objectives. Can you give us an example of this? Anything come to mind, Howard?If you surround yourself with people with the same personality type, you're setting yourself up for failure, even though you have four women and one guy. There’s diversity in terms of gender, but there is no diversity of thought. They all have the same… Click To Tweet
David said it well. You can’t surround yourself and your C-Suite with all your friends. A perfect example is when David hired me and the team I worked on. David made a point and mentioned to us that he didn’t hire anybody he had previously worked with. He wanted a brand new, fresh set of views and opinions to build this next company versus surrounding yourself with people you’re comfortable with because if you’re comfortable, you’re all thinking the same.
You all have the same background and views of how to do things that you’re not getting that fresh set of eyes, which is what we bring in all facets, from a cultural aspect and the organizational health that Stephen brings and David’s wealth of knowledge and experience in mind on the financial. It goes beyond that. To look at all the numbers and take a comprehensive view and not just say, “Where are we today?” Make sure that there’s some budget and forecast where we want or think we’re going to be three months, six months from now. You have to make your decisions, not just in the short-term but long-term in nature as well.
How do you do that, Howard? How do you get them to realistically plan? They’re planning with hope. You don’t want to come in here saying, “No, you can’t hope for too much.” No, as a leader, you’ve got to hope for a lot. How do you balance the hope to what is more realistic, maybe happening? How do you work through that?
The key is you have to ask yourself, “Is there a plan?” Too many times, when you start building budgets and forecasts, it’s the financial guy and maybe the owner sitting down and putting numbers on a piece of paper. We’re going to grow production by 10% or 20%. The key to that is, “What are we going to do?” Let’s assume the market stays the same as it is now. You know you have to drive that by increasing purchases. What’s the plan? What’s the strategy? Are there new LOs involved there? Is there increased marketing? Is there additional training? You incorporate a holistic look of the entire plan. Numbers on a piece of paper don’t mean anything if there’s nothing to support it.
How do you balance critical thinking, which is critical? Critical thinking is critical to have you have that in this organization versus what people think they can achieve. It’s how do you challenge them? What are some of the principles that you’ve found in challenging both the head of production? I don’t want a negative head of production. I want someone who does think that, but how do you get them to see more realistically?
It’s not adversarial. It’s a discussion like, “You’re saying this. Tell them your plan.” If you don’t have one, then let’s talk about what that plan might be. We use the word right size. That’s an important word because this is also an opportunity to grow market share. A lot of companies are taking that turtle-type approach and hiding and waiting until the next opportunity. The smart companies are viewing this as an opportunity to take market share where the opportunities present themselves.
Stephen, we’re looking at right-sizing a company. In this last cycle, what we’ve seen, Mr. Kittle could tell you this. We’ve all seen it so much where underwriters are being stolen away for a 50% pay increase, 100% pay increase in some cases to bring them in to meet a short-term spike in market demand. Now we’re sitting with expensive staff on there that we cannot afford. Is it destroying culture from a human standpoint to say, “I can’t afford you anymore?” How would you approach that? That’s a real situation. I want to get your thoughts on that, David, after your thoughts, Stephen.
David, I want to piggyback on what we were talking about and then I’ll answer your question. You’re asking Howard about having that objective look. That diversity of thought on a team is instrumental to be able to have that look and to be honest and truthful about where your business lies. I encountered a team. I’ve never seen it before. They literally all had the same personality types. They were all ENFJs. That is like a needle in the haystack.
Extroverted, intuition, feeling and a judger. They love to structure and think big. I’m an ENFJ myself. I bring that up as a cultural example, because so often, when we think about diversity of fact, we look at people’s skillset or we look at, are they different genders? Are they different ethnicities? Do we think about diversity of thought?
If you surround yourself with people with the same personality type from a cultural perspective, you’re setting yourself up for even more failure, even though this was a team with maybe four women and one guy. They had some decent diversity in terms of gender, but they didn’t have any diversity of fact. They all had the same blind spot and weaknesses.
To answer your question about, does it hurt their culture to lay people off? Yes. Unequivocally, it hurts. Think about it, any loss and experience that we go through, it hurts. It’s painful. The key to recovering from that is acknowledging that. Often, we want to skip over it and act like it didn’t happen. I’ve been in companies time and time again, both large and small, when somebody is dismissed.
We try to play it off or play it up as we probably have all seen the dismissal note of, “We’re thankful for their service. They’re going on to bigger and better things.” The subtext we’re all reading is that guy got fired. Instead of acknowledging that, it does two things. It sends the wrong messages to people. When somebody is underperforming, you don’t acknowledge it and you’re overpaying for them.
It causes more damage for them to stay than it does for them to go. That’s why we got to make those tough calls while also acknowledging why we’re laying people off, why we’re letting them go, and having them removed from the company. It’s not a personal thing often. It’s not because they’re bad performers.
We’re going to be transparent and open about what’s happening and why we’re doing it in order to help the culture recover from it. It’s like losing a friend or a family member. It’s not a good thing. It never is. There are ways to grow through those and to let those be good opportunities for you as an organization so that you don’t repeat those terrible lived experiences.
Howard, when you look at talking about the balance of performance and people in there, how do you work with people to bring it up? I’m going back to the underwriter that we had to give a massive increase. Now we’re looking at the performance. Do you go in and look at units per cost? Is that something that is a method by which you look at it?
The right answer is there isn’t one way only to do it. Obviously, cost matters, but it’s important not to just say, “I’m going to cut my ten highest paid underwriters,” because that’s not necessarily the right answer, nor is it not to cut any of them. Maybe the solution is, “The market was X when I brought you on. The market is Y now.” In fact, I was looking at LinkedIn and I saw a note from someone saying, “I wish somebody would have come to me and offered me the opportunity to take a pay cut. I’ll take a 20% pay cut as opposed to a 100% pay cut.” It’s important to look at everything as you’re doing it. Also, what that individual can do.
Let’s face it. It is an opportunity because no company that I’ve ever dealt with gets their hiring 100% right. There’s a good probability that this is an opportunity to get rid of some of those people, unfortunately, who you would have loved to have gotten rid of sooner, but you’re like, “Even though they don’t do a real good job, they at least get something done every day.” This was an opportunity to Stephen’s point to recognize those underperformers and take the opportunity to target them first as you look at who to get rid of. That’s regardless of the pay that they make.
I love what you’re bringing up, too, though, about thinking about how you offer alternatives to cutting people as well. Often, companies skip over that and they make the decision to make cuts and then people are gone but had you given the company the opportunity to say, “If we need to cut costs this much, who’s willing to cut some of their pace so that we don’t have to cut anybody?” I find that often we mistrust humanity and there’s many people would be willing to do that.When it comes to vulnerability, a leader always goes first. When it comes to soliciting ideas and input, the leader always goes last. Click To Tweet
Southwest is a great company to talk about with this example. In their entire history, they have never had a layoff. They’ve always found a way to redeploy people to offer alternatives to bring people down and pay. Giving them the option to do that so the company can survive or taking time off so that they don’t have as many hours in order to keep moving and functioning as a whole.
Can I add something on top, Stephen? David, you and I were talking. This is probably my 7th or 8th major correction in the market in over 40-plus years. When you are the CEO or the owner, you also need to look at yourself and put it out there because there is not only intellectual capital. It’s emotional capital inside the company. They need to see from the top that you’re taking a hit just as well. You need to stand up and say, “I took the first one here. Maybe somebody else wants to do the same thing.” Lead by example.
To add to that, this is why it’s important that when you’re in those great promising years that the industry has had over the last couple, how you treat people and perhaps reward them in sharing some of those record profits with them gained you a lot of goodwill and allows you to come back to them. If you paid somebody a 40% or 50% bonus because you had a great year, it’s a lot easier to come back to them when times are tough and say, “I’ve proven that I’m going to take care of you when we do well. I need a little help right now.” You build that loyalty and do it. You’d be surprised that people would be saying, “I’ll do that for sure. Why not? I’ll take a 10%, 20% haircut.”
David, I’d love to get your thoughts on this as well. When we’re paying the bonus, there is coming a day. Special weak and predict it in our industry. David, you and I have been in this. The reality is that isn’t there a way to when we hand out the bonuses to remind there is another day coming? There’s a video out that talks about related to the political side.
It’s called You’ll Be Riding Camels Again. It’s a great video. If you google it, it talks about how society grows and how we prosper. Everyone moves from riding camels to riding Mercedes to riding Land Rovers. We lose what brought us there and we’re back to riding camels. It’s a cyclical thing. It’s human nature to be there. Howard, how important is it?
When you hand out bonuses, messaging is critical. It’s important to say, “This isn’t forever. It’s a bonus. It’s a reward for all your hard work, but understand that it’s not always going to be this way.” It’s important to educate those new to the industry that, “Don’t take this and spend it all tomorrow. You can’t count on it.” David has dealt with salespeople more than I have, but certainly, that’s a message you have to deliver to salespeople. “You can’t count on volume to be the same. Don’t set your standard of living at the highest point. Set it at the lowest point.”
Messaging is important. That’s where you build that trust and are able to do the things that are creative in terms of right-sizing an organization, versus going into someone who has no trust in you and you haven’t treated well and asking them to take a pay cut. They’re going to look at you like, “I made you $25 million last year. Now you’re asking me to take a $10,000 cut, which is everything to me?” It’s about building that trust.
We’re going to be looking at companies that have been around for many years. We’re also going to be looking at companies that have never seen anything but low-interest rates. They’re going to go people in the C-Suite unless they’ve been around longer than 15 years has never experienced this type of a downturn. It’s going to be a real shock to them and shock to the loan officers, to your point. They’ve been driving a Lamborghini and then now maybe they’re going to have to be driving a seven-year-old Malibu. A big difference in who we’re going to be talking to.
David, one of the reasons I’m excited about you leading this group and your focus is Howard’s going to be working with the CFOs, the number side, Stephen’s going to be working with the people side, the executives on that, you’re working with the CEOs. You’re intelligent with tons of great experience and leadership, but one of the things I love most about you, David, is that you have the highest EQs, Emotional Quotients. You care about people. I’ve watched you feel empathic towards them and tear up with them. I was shamed out of me and you don’t show emotions in the Norwegian culture that I grew up in. I admire you for that. How important is it, David, that CEOs learn to emulate a bit more of your high EQ?
First of all, thank you for that compliment. I get emotional at times. That’s a fact. It’s extremely important to be yourself wherever you are, but if you’re trying to be emotional and you’re not, they’ll see through that in a heartbeat. It’s able to go have that empathy for the people who have never had to do this before and understand what they’re going through. I’ve done it, Howard’s done it, Stephen’s done it, and we’ve all done it. We’re talking on this call.
If you don’t mind, I might take this opportunity to add two things to it. While we’re going into it, we may be going into a company that has servicing and servicing issues. We have Mark Helms available inside TMS, who is the godfather of servicing that we can bring in if we need to, and Brett Taylor, we started with you as well. He’s got something that he calls ROI financial model, a return on investment that we can bring Brett in at times too. It’s not just the three of us that they get with TMS. They get a lot of ancillary benefits from going with the group.
For a little more clarity on that, Brett focuses on the tech stack and looking at what it’s costing you and what is your true ROI on it. He had Howard there connected at the ROI. It’s fun to listen to him talk about that. David, as you’re talking, I’m watching you, Stephen, nod a lot. I’d love to get your thoughts on what you’ve seen, both success and failure with, whether it’s the CEO or the leading executive of that department that’s having to do some right-sizing. What principles can you share with us that you’d be working on and we’re looking at if they engaged you?
A quick saying that I often use when I’m prepping the leader for meetings, for conversations that a lot of it happen in the context of a team workshop or team facilitation. One of my key things about them is that when it comes to vulnerability, a leader always goes first. When it comes to soliciting ideas and input, the leader always goes last.
I’m using that as a specific example because leaders with good EQ know when to weigh in and shut up. The leader is everything. I’ve worked with some great teams that when the leader changes, the team change. I cannot underscore how important it is for a leader to do the hard work, to make sure that they have good meetings, to make sure that they’re having hard conversations with their people. We often want to avoid those uncomfortable, like, “You got a booger on your nose. You might want to get that taken care of.”
I’m using a literal example, but often, we all know that there are people in our team that are very much so. I can think of people that when they show up in a meeting, every time they speak, they cut people. They don’t mean anything. They don’t even realize it. As a consultant, I often step in and say, “I don’t know if you know this, but this is how you’re showing up to the team. Is that what you intended?” Nobody’s ever told them.
One of the kinds of things that a leader can do is to have the emotional intelligence to see those things, to call them out in love and kindness. It all comes down to how vulnerable that leader is. How much are they willing to lean into conflict? How much are they holding people accountable and allowing space for them to weigh in to commitment so they can hold them accountable? All those are instrumental.
I gave that compliment certainly to David Kittle because he deserves it. I’ve watched it firsthand many times. As I’m getting to know Howard and you, Stephen, each of you has that component here. We’ve covered a lot of stuff. Hopefully, we could pique some interest and people are going to want to get to know the two of you at least start having conversations. That’s good. How do you get started with someone?
Mr. Kittle, when someone reaches out to you and starts, we’ve got someone that’s already begun as a result of us doing a webinar on the TMC platform. People are starting to reach out. How does this conversation start? Where does it go? Take us through the progression, if you wouldn’t mind. Howard and Stephen, jump in and augment what he’ll say.If you're in the leadership position, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. Click To Tweet
As a good leader does, I’m going to delegate some of those answers to Howard and Stephen. We have a link on the TMS website. They can link up there. There are a few questions for them to answer and look at and a few things they need to respond to us with. It will generate a phone call back and then we’ll set up either a Team or a Zoom call before we decide exactly what they need and we’ll go from there. I ask for Howard and Stephen to take a bit deeper dive into the questions they may ask if they’d like.
I’ll jump in first here. From a financial perspective, it’s looking at current historical financials and KPIs because it’s important to understand how the financials are linked to the flows of the organization in terms of production and things like that. It’s a phone call. It’s conversation. Our plan is in a week to ten days, we will return some type of a response as to where we think the opportunities are and where we can help you. We’re trying to keep it quick and painless on the upfront side.
I totally echo what David Kittle said and we would jump in. The first thing I do with clients is try to get a great understanding of what are the issues and problems as a leader sees them when they are thinking about their whole organization. Whether it’s financial, operational or culturally speaking, what are they experiencing and seeing? I start there. I help connect the different tenets of org health to what they’re wrestling with and working with so that solution meets the need and not solution is being shoved down your throat.
Part of what we do in the initial stages is me observing meetings and understanding how well they work. I talked about the importance of that, giving coaching and feedback to the executives. I also have a quick 1 or 2-hour session that I can run with Teams to give them a good taste of what it’s like to work over the long haul to start to transform their organization. The third is an anonymous questionnaire that they can send out to their staff to get input from the whole organization on where they think things need to be improved. Those are the three ways that I typically jump in and try to help leaders get started.
David Kittle, what is the duration of this process from the start, they engage you and your team to when it is completed? I’m sure there are certain things that would affect the elasticity and length of that, but generally, what was the duration of this project?
It’s going to depend on the size of the company and what we find initially. There’s got to be some flexibility in the answer. To what Stephen and Howard said, in a few days from the initial contact and meetings, we can determine exactly what we need from you and what your issues are. We come into your company and maybe spend a couple of days and get your report back within a week to ten days. Less than 30 days, we would think, in almost every case, that we should be able to determine what you have and lay out a plan in the right sense.
It goes from there. After that, you’ve laid out a plan to the extent that you’re not a seagull consultant group where you fly in, deposit all over everybody, and fly out. You will stay in and work behind with them. Is that correct?
Yeah, we do. We were talking about plans and everything else in the course. You’d have to have them. Every company likes to say, “We’re going to have a strategic planning, offsite meeting.” They come up and spend days and they whiteboard and do all that, and then they don’t follow it, or they don’t manage to it. You should be looking at it every 30 days, at least every quarter, because you’re going to have to tweak it. Those who don’t have failed and wasted their time putting a plan together.
When it comes to the execution of the plan, it depends on how critical it is. When it’s a burning building, we meet instantly constantly. If it’s something that’s not terribly critical where we can work on it over a period of time, that’s the best. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me on the show, sharing what you have.
We’re going to continue doing these interviews with you all, especially as you get more of these under your belt, learn more and share this with our readers. We want to do a lot of what we call freemium, giving something a premium value away for free. That’s what this show is about. Thank you, gentlemen, so much. I’ll let you wrap it up. Howard, anything you want to add to what’s been said?
We think we have a diverse background where we can come in and help companies right-size as we discussed.
It’s so much more than just about the numbers. It’s about the people. Stephen, that’s where you come in. I love the fact where you come from. Any departing comments?
I’d leave you with this. Often, when people think about culture, people are like, “I don’t want to deal with that soft, squishy stuff.” I will put a disclaimer in there that what I do is there are some times where it’s a little bit soft, but 90% of the time, it’s practical, it’s hard work. It is anything but soft. What I would say is for those that are skeptical, culture can make that big of a difference. I would point to Enron. Look at the failings of those cultures and what that has meant for the ultimate trajectory of those companies. I’ll let those speak for themselves. The final quote I’d leave you with is, as Peter Drucker says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast every day of the week.”
Mr. Kittle, you got a great team. I’m excited to be working with you. I’m glad we’re doing this inside of Transformational Mortgage Solutions, TMS. It’s so good to have you here, gentlemen. Thank you so much. Mr. Kittle, last words.
Last words are what I said earlier. We’ll see from this show that if you’re in the leadership position, you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, and I actually have. That’s why Stephen and Howard are here. It’s a great team.
I’m excited to share that with the industry. If you want to get ahold of it, anybody get ahold of Stephen. David Kittle, direct cell phone number is?
Your email is [email protected]. Thank you so much for reading. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
You’re welcome, David. Thank you.
- David Kittle – LinkedIn
- Howard Nathan – LinkedIn
- Stephen Chapman – LinkedIn
- Death by Meeting
- Honey, I Shrunk the Team – Apple Podcasts
- The Mortgage Collaborative
- [email protected]
About David Kittle
A 44-year veteran of the mortgage lending business starting as a loan officer with American Fletcher Mortgage (Bank One). I was CEO and President of three mortgage lending operations in Kentucky. I served as President of Area Mortgage, a division of Area Bancshares, the largest bank holding company in Kentucky, responsible for Origination, Secondary Marketing, Credit Quality and Loan Delivery for its 18 bank state wide operation.
MBA of Louisville 1987
MBA of Kentucky 1994-1996
MBA Washington, DC 2009
Specialties: Building and maintaining profitable mortgage lending entities
Recruiting professional/ethical talent
Developing relationships throughout the mortgage value chain
About Howard Nathan
I’ve spent over 25 years in working in the mortgage industry with over 15 in executive-level financial positions including CFO of both Home Point Financial and UWM. In addition to accounting and finance oversight during my career in mortgage banking, I have also had responsibility for HR, IT, Facilities, Project Management, and Servicing. I have also been involved in several M&A transactions on both the buy and sell sides.
I’ve been married for 18 years and have 2 kids. They keep me busy chauffeuring them to various sporting events as well as coaching. In my free time, I enjoy playing golf, soccer, and competing in Triathlons.
About Stephen Chapman
I’ve spent the past 6 years working with senior leaders and executives at Allstate and Walmart helping them improve the health of their organizations and culture. Prior to that, I worked as an insurance agent, non-profit program coordinator, and youth pastor (no not all at the same time). I have a MA in Intercultural ministry and am working on my MBA. I’ve been married for 13 years and have 6 kiddos. Three are biological and three are adopted. We also fostered 10 other kiddos from 2013-2017. In my ‘spare’ time, I’m an avid runner (2 marathons and 14 half marathons and counting), roast my own coffee, and constantly seem to be making my wife’s woodworking dreams come true.