What a Ryder Cup Captain Can Teach Mortgage Bankers

Last week’s Ryder Cup golf tournament was exciting to watch and certainly a terrific win for the U.S. While team captain Steve Stricker has played on losing teams in his own career, he knew things had to change if the U.S. team was going to turn it around this year. So, how did Stricker build a winning team that would perform well when it mattered most?

According to ESPN Senior Writer Bob Harig, Stricker implemented three game-changing moves that led the team to success. Stricker:

  1. Recognized the value of youth over experience and brought more rookies to the squad.
  2. Recruited players who fit the golf course.
  3. Added golfers who got along and would mold into specific partnerships vs. choosing individuals who were playing the best.

In my view, these tactics are particularly relevant for success in mortgage banking. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Youth is better than experience. Too often, managers believe that a sales candidate’s experience is the most important criteria for the originator position. However, recent statistics show this is not the case. The majority of top producers are in their 30’s and 40’s, much younger than the average originator’s age which is in the 50’s.
  • Fitting the course. Not every player is a good fit for a particular golf course. All golfers have certain strengths and weaknesses just like sales professionals. Matching the player to the course is a smart strategy because it recognizes that every golfer’s game is dependent on his or her individual skills. Some are long hitters like Bryson DeChambeau and others are iron specialists. Neither is better than the other but a player’s success will be a function of whether the course emphasizes distance or accuracy. In mortgage sales, some originators are detail-oriented product specialists while others are excellent presenters. Finding individual producers who match with a lender’s strategy should be a priority for hiring managers.
  • Company culture match. The Ryder Cup is a team event because of the different contests such as best ball over a four-day contest. Trusting the other players on the team is essential for success. To perform their best, players must be able to connect with each other in a positive manner. Likewise, mortgage employees have to get along or the pressure of closing on time will never happen. Too often, behind-the-scenes friction can negatively impact the group’s performance and the customer’s experience. A culture match matters on the golf course and in the business world.

As management teams meet to discuss their strategies for 2022, Stricker’s success in the Ryder Cup should be a template for winning in the year ahead.