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the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of serving as a consultant to hundreds upon hundreds of companies across this great country. I have watched some companies that most didn’t think had a snowball’s chance in hell of making it succeeded beyond anything anyone could imagine. Conversely, I have watched companies that many thought were surely destined for greatness, crash and burn seemingly unexplainably. One of my favorite business authors is James Collins. He has written several good books, the most notable being, Good to Great. But my favorite book written by James Collins and co-authored by Jerry Porras is Built to Last. If you have this book, read it again. If you don’t, I recommend you buy it and download it onto your favorite e-reader as well. Here’s why … they studied and researched a large number of companies in search of the “best of the best companies.” The criteria used to select the companies they studied was amazing. When I read the list, I began to wonder if any company could meet their stringent requirements to qualify. Interestingly, too many companies qualified and the criteria was made even more stringent to narrow down the list of com-

panies they included in the more in-depth study. It is fascinating to read. For the companies that made it past the final cut, were some interesting common denominators. What I saw were these primary five “CHIEF” guiding principles: Character, Honesty, Integrity, Ethics and Faith (CHIEF). Please excuse me for playing on this acronym, but I am going to emphatically say that unless you have these “CHIEF” principles guiding you as the “chief” executive of your company, your probability of extraordinary success is limited, if not impossible. These guiding principles are like having a good bright lantern while hiking a precarious path in the night. For those of us in this industry, we are walking a very precarious path with an increasing number of twists and turns (changes) ahead. One misstep could put you out of business as quickly as falling off a cliff would. The change that is coming to our industry is largely the result of the fact that many lost sight of these five guiding principles. But here is the “redemptive” good news. The greatest distinction we have as humans amongst all of God’s creation is that we have free will. We can make a quality decision to change, and if

the will to change is based on the right principles, we can change our lives, our companies, our future and our destiny. On Aug. 28, Glenn Beck had a “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of Americans from every walk of life, race and religion showed up en mass. In my opinion, the reason many came was more than just to support “the cause,“ but to make a statement about their own commitment to return to honor which involves each of these CHIEF principles … Character, Honesty, Integrity, Ethics, and the most important, Faith. For those who choose to change and embrace these CHIEF principles, I believe their chances for success increases exponentially. Conversely, for those who do not, the chance of failure increases dramatically. I’m not looking forward to the coming government controls and intrusions into our industry. Many believe that this coming November, we will see an uprising of “We the people …” I pray that “We the people …” will elect a new crop of freshmen Congressmen and Congresswomen will have the will and guts to roll back much, if not all, of what the current Congress has put in place.

But no matter which way all that goes, I know that if you will operate by these five CHIEF principles, you can be one of those that will be “Built to Last” and achieve success regardless of how challenging environment becomes. As always, I welcome your feedback. David Lykken is president, mortgage strategies and managing partner with Mortgage Banking Solutions. David has more than 35 years of industry experience and has garnered a national reputation. David has become a frequent guest on FOX Business News with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney, Liz Claman and Dave Asman with additional guest appearances on the CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV and radio. He may be reached by phone at (512) 977-9900, ext. 101 or e-mail To listen to author David Lykken’s online radio show, log on to and type in “Lykken on Lending” in the “Search” box on the right-hand side of the page.


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