Bank and fee appraisers are siloed. There’s little time to collaborate with new productive ideas including leveraging technology for your firm or appraisal department.

The result? Working a lot.

No vacations. No bueno.

Did you ever think you’d be working this hard in your career?

Race day

My wife and I recently completed a sailing race in our 36 foot PDQ catamaran. A race from St. Petersburg, FL to Isla Mujeres in Mexico. The name of the destination is “Island of Women”; what can go wrong? 

Sailing about 500 miles offshore takes planning, provisioning and educating. It’s important to have a solid crew that you trust. Our crew consisted of my wife as captain, my brother and his daughter, a few friends, and a crazy adrenaline-fueled French man.

There were about 20 boats in the race. These are serious sailors. Even at the start with 20+ knot winds, many boats threw the kitchen sink for speed – main, jib and huge spinnakers. Some boats were quickly overpowered and had to bring down some sails. Excitement was a plenty.

Coordinating expectations

Lessons learned from the race include clear language for coordinating expectations. The same word can mean many things. Rope, line and sheet mean generally the same thing. If there’s a process, follow it. Improvise only if relevant parties are in agreement about major changes in the process or direction.

Checklist for collaboration success:

  1. Have fun, especially when things are tough or tense. Levity lifts all spirits.
  2. Be trustworthy and put your trust in others who have demonstrated they deserve it. Reaching one’s goal is always worth it. Trust, trust, trust.
  3. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Work/manage around and through troubling things until it’s appropriate to take the time and effort to fix it. We had a line stuck in the rudder that made steering tough, but we powered through it because it didn’t make sense to safely fix it immediately.

Have and use checklists for as much as possible. Makes the “work” easier and allows for more fun time.

Tools checklist for success:

  1. Is everything working correctly on your boat?
  2. Are there things that you should fix now before you’re offshore?
  3. Do you have up-to-date GPS maps that tell you what to expect in Mexican waters?

Who’s at your helm?

The office culture and set up of most commercial appraisal firms and appraisal departments haven’t changed in years. The firm owner is typically a MAI. On the bank side, there’s an appraisal manager or chief appraiser. There’s often no time to create playbooks on how to accomplish the desired outcome. Everything is manual. All questions go through the MAI or manager. This is a huge stress point, always asking the “Captain” questions.

There’s no resource for people to learn quickly, much less a source of information to onboard new folks. No Google docs, no videos, not even meaningful PDFs. The cost of manual duplicate labor is enormous,  but more importantly it adds hours to everyone’s day. The team is weighted down in inefficiencies.

Look at what’s coming

Shaun T said you need to have a huge windshield. Always be looking forward. You still have a rear-view mirror looking at where you came from, but don’t dwell on it. It’s a waste of time. Recognize the past, but move on.

Set your eyes forward through your windshield of what’s next. In sailing, looking forward is important to avoid ramming large ships in the middle of the night. Remember, you can’t anchor in 500+ feet of water. 24/7 at the helm.

Adjust on the fly

When it comes to your appraisal firm or appraisal department, be trustworthy, and provide tools to win the race. Focus your thoughts on forward momentum, communicating what you need from your team and adjusting on the fly.

Consider implementing DataComp Suite at your appraisal firm or YouConnect in your bank appraisal department to give you and your team back your time.

In the end, work is work, so why not work better together and have some fun.

Who’s on your crew?