If you’re into Marketing or Sales, and you haven’t read any of the books by Mark Stevens, you are in for a treat. My copy of Mark’s most popular book, "Your Marketing Sucks," is the most dog-eared, highlighted, and re-read book in my library. Mark is a big proponent of a dangerous idea that marketing should be about making money, not spending it!
I recently sat down with Mark to discuss unconventional thinking and leadership with him. Not only did Mark open my eyes to what an amazing invention the mortgage is, he also shared lots of actionable ideas for leaders.
Here are three of my favorite comments from Mark, all of which demonstrate his commitment to exposing the difference between average and excellent every single day:
- EVERY business is immensely exciting and enjoyable.
"There is nothing more or less exciting about Quicken Loans mortgages than there is about creating chips at Intel. You can be creative in any business. The mortgage is one of the great inventions in history, and people take it for granted! The mortgage was an invention. We all think that it came through divine intervention, that there was always a mortgage. But there wasn’t. Some smart financial guy says ‘Wait a minute, okay, there’s a house over there. Regis wants the house but he doesn’t have the cash for it. I will create this thing called a mortgage. Since I create this thing, Regis can move into that house that he cannot afford right now.’ What a genius thing that is!"
- Leaders don’t care what anybody else thinks of them.
"I have young people say to me all the time. ‘Well, I can’t really express my opinion because I am young and the senior people in the company won’t like what I have to say.’ With every success in life comes risk. It’s impossible to achieve success without risk. One of the risks you will have to take, whatever age you are, whatever business you are in, is that the people you work with won’t like what you are saying."
- Leadership is about not being a follower, not following convention, and not accepting the terminology of the lowest common denominator.
"If I ask most managers, ‘do you believe in this idea?,’ they’ll say ‘I want to build a consensus around this.’ Well, I hate that word. I don’t understand what it means. Why do you have to build a consensus around it? I can’t imagine. The metaphor I always use is, Steve Jobs wakes up in the middle of the night and says ‘I want to create an iPhone. But, let me go to the office first and see if I can build a consensus around it.’ I mean, no!"
Regis Hadiaris is the "Leader of Leaders and Pursuer of WOW!" on the marketing team at Quicken Loans. His blog, Dot Connector, is a popular destination for ideas on being more successful at work.