The Growth Series
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New year, new outlook: part one

2021 has just kicked off and whilst the next few weeks will be challenging, with light at the end of the tunnel we are excited to welcome in a new and, hopefully, more positive year. With that in mind, we asked industry experts what they learned through last year’s challenges and what they’re looking forward to most in the coming months.

Through both the personal and professional, these experts have learned a lot and have big plans for this year.

 

Adrian MacDiarmid (Head of Mortgage Director Relations, Barratt Homes)

What I have learned in 2020?

“Challenging circumstances benefit from the right combination of experience and fresh thinking.”

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

“Seeing what the market looks like post March and confronting the real issues – We have spent so long talking about it and planning for it, it’s stopped feeling real. Also live sports with real crowds. Getting on a plane. And, bizarrely, standing at Luton station at 6.30am to go to London. (But I suspect the attraction there will fade pretty quickly.)”

Jon Pittham (Managing Director, ClientsFirst)

What I have learned in 2020?

“Overall it has to be realising how much time can be wasted by not focussing on what's important, both in relation to work and my personal life. Covid forced us into making changes and that readjustment meant I took a close look at my lifestyle and have made some really positive changes, like finding more time for exercise!”

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

“A bit of normality, the simple things like meeting friends and family.  Although work has changed for good (we won't use the office in the way that we did), it will be great to have team socials and group get togethers back on the agenda, something we've only done once since March 2020.”

Kevin Roberts (Director, Mortgage Club)

What I have learned in 2020?

“This year I have learned how important it is to take time to look further than the professional ‘self’ we all bring to work. It is not just having a sneaky look at everyone’s backgrounds on video calls, but more around how this year’s events have impacted all of us in different ways and at different times. I think I have learned and shown more of myself this year and I feel much closer to many more people, especially my team.”

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

“Outside of work, I am looking forward to seeing parents, relatives and friends, having a beer and travelling again. In Mortgage Club, it has to be driving forward our digital agenda; I have never been as excited in a role as I am right now.”

Christine Newell Mortgage (Technical Director, Paradigm Mortgage Services)

What I have learned in 2020?

“The biggest thing that I have learnt from 2020 is how fragile we are and have become when we don’t have a balance of work and home life. From a personal point of view I have learnt that I have drive and determination to stick to a routine and not succumb to the temptation of that feeling of being on a constant holiday. 

I have also learnt that I can add value through different media to firms and the industry as a whole and by trying to always find a positive has kept mine and other people’s spirits high.

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

For me personally, carrying forward what I have learnt about myself in 2020 and making sure I don’t lose sight of what has gone really well despite the pandemic restrictions. 

I will also be over the moon to see my work colleagues face to face again and also my firms and peers in the industry. I think it will be quite an emotional and uplifting experience. 

From an industry perspective, I am most looking forward to seeing how the government proposals on helping the First Time Buyers of our nation get on the property ladder progresses. I also look forward to ensuring that all Paradigm firms are suitably informed.”

Tom Horton (Managing Director, The Insurance Surgery)

What I have learned in 2020?

“I think the greatest thing I have realised about myself (and the business) in 2020 is the ability to adapt to whatever is thrown at me/us. 

I also think that, to some degree, I quite like a crisis. It pushes you into trying new things, working out challenges and is ultimately quite rewarding when you come out of the other side of things in a better place. 

Basically, embrace what challenges come your way, it might be hard to get through them, but you might be surprised what positives come out of the other side.”

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

“2020 pushed me into a new kind of work ethic. At times, it felt like we were fighting for every lead and deal through the effects of the pandemic. There was no place for complacency or resting on our laurels and every little revenue opportunity counted. 

If we can continue with that attitude when things have returned to “normal” I think we will be in a very strong place and it will be another positive that has come out of such a tough set of circumstances in 2020.”

Sam Murphy (Managing Director, Mortgage Medics)

What I have learned in 2020?

“I'm more of a people person than I thought! 

Running a business can be stressful, but I never appreciated quite how much I enjoy the human side of it until I was forced to do it remotely. Working from home hasn't been a problem for most of my responsibilities - I've been productive - but I've really missed getting the team together for our monthly meetings to celebrate success and deliberate the challenges we face together.

Zoom has been fantastic for client meetings and I'm sure we'll continue to use it going forward, but it doesn't quite tick all the boxes of being face-to-face with clients and I've missed that.”

What am I looking forward to in 2021?

“I can't wait to get the team back together for our regular catch ups, and start going to events again - I think I've sat through enough webinars for a lifetime and whilst they definitely have a place in the future, networking events and industry seminars are great places to broaden knowledge and make new connections.

I'm also really excited about how flexible we'll be as a business going forward; we're looking forward to getting back in the office regularly, but now all of the team have proven the job can be done remotely we're definitely going to be able to work more flexibly in the future and this is a huge win for everyone, but especially for those with families.”


The reflection that these industry leaders have done shows that ingenuity and adaptability have been the key takeaways from doing business in 2020. Although it was a hard year, each and every one of them found positive ways to move forward with. And everyone is excited to spend time with their teams again!

Keep an eye out for more industry leader insights in Part Two.

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