The executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road has revealed that the move to make redundancies following the corporate restructure of the business was a “hard decision”, but has helped him “climb down into the business”.
It was announced earlier this year that the YBR mortgage business would transition to a franchise model, consolidate staff numbers and focus on increased network productivity and adviser recruitment.
Speaking at the ‘Bigger, Better, Stronger’ conference held by the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) last week, mortgage guru Mark Bouris touched on his decision to make redundancies, and warned brokers not to forget that “success is built upon the broad shoulders of others".
Mr Bouris explained: “Here we are where we're trying to do all these things and I forgot about one thing. I have to give myself an uppercut every now and then, because I have to remember that success is often built upon the broad shoulders of others… It’s all the people around you, the people you are in partnership with, the people who contract to you, the people who are your employees, your family. It’s their broad shoulders that success is built upon, and we must never forget that. If you do — all this stuff doesn’t work.
“Recently at YBR, I got a good whack — we didn’t do what we should have done, or what I expected to do in June 30 for the year [after lending curbs saw the company lose $300 million a month in foreign investor loans] and as a result I had to go through the place… and ask people to leave who have a very important role to me, who are good people, but I had no choice. I had to make those hard decisions.”
The founder of Wizard Home Loans told delegates last week that the upside of the decision to restructure the business was that it had made him “climb down into the business, and remember that there are a lot of people there”.
He said: “The only way we can be successful is that [the employees] understand that I need them to help me. Because I can’t do it without them. And the only way I'm going to get that message to them is actually being close to them. And they only way they are going to get that message is to be close to me…
“It’s an important lesson when it comes to running a successful business in any industry. In order to be successful, you have to understand what they're doing, know what they're doing, you have to be prepared to talk to them and you just have to put in more practical time.
“That’s been a massive, massive reminder for me over the past four/five months. Prior to that, I ran the business where I had a lot of people reporting to me, but just telling me what they were doing. I didn’t see what was going on below them, because I didn’t really have access for that."
Acknowledging that the responsibility for the lack of oversight was two-fold, Mr Bouris said: "Now, I could say that I was being kept away from that but, equally, I should have been in there anyway. To some extent, while I respect the integrity of the people who are at the executive level not to interfere what they were doing, in the end when you're trying to build a business and build your footprint and build your brand around that footprint and build your deliverables. I don’t think there is the ability to have that luxury."
Mr Bouris concluded: “You have to be prepared to step in and honour the concept of most success being built on the broad shoulders of others. You have to recognise them and work with them, then you can relate to them and they can relate to you, and that's a long process.”
The concept of working with colleagues and making sure that team members are appreciated was further explored by Mr Bouris, as he suggested that brokers need to be accountable for their statements and actions.
He said: “I'm not saying we should have a penalty imposed on us, but we need to impose something on ourselves for statements we make about where we want to end up and what we want to do and what we want to profess. That accountability piece is extraordinarily important. Accountability, to me, is one of the most important things that drive the value of my business.
“We all need someone to hold us accountable for what it is we need to do… Some people call it a mentor — I don’t care what you call it, you need someone who is going to question you, not someone who is going to give you answers. It could be your business partner, it could be your wife, it could be someone in your office, staff, whoever. You need a person who is going to question your process and pull you back in a strategic sense and you need to be prepared to be accountable to that person or individual or that market.”
[Related: Tim Brown to leave YBR]