Podcast

Executive Leadership Podcast #36: It’s All About People

This episode of our Executive Leadership Podcast features our first guest, Fernando Campos,  currently Hispanic Community Director of People’s Mortgage. Fernando will share how People’s Mortgage puts “people first” and why the power of perspective is so crucial when it comes to generational and cross-cultural leadership.

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Read the transcript below:

Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach. And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President of The John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining.

So Chris, today we’re leaving the comfort zone of the two-person podcast. Welcome to our first guest, Fernando Campos from Peoples Mortgage. Why don’t you introduce our guest? Well, let me back up here and while we’re introducing our first guest, Perry because I think all the comments that we’re getting that they’re just bored with us. I didn’t hear that at all. Yeah, I just didn’t want to tell you that, so I just privately invited Fernando to join us. I was wondering how you got here. I am excited about this today. We are going to talk a little bit about one of the partners of the John Maxwell Company, a gentleman that I have recently met and has had the opportunity to just share his heart about people and about John. And Fernando has known John for a long time, as a matter of fact, through some of his corporate experience and actually had John and to speak and his content has really changed his life personally, but even more importantly for today’s audience, it has changed the organizations that he has led. So Fernando currently right now is the Hispanic Community Director with Peoples Mortgage. And we’re going to learn a little bit more about him, a little bit more about Peoples Mortgage, the impact that they have on people, their values, and just talk about leadership with a guy that’s doing it day in and day out, as a practitioner.

So, Fernando, welcome and thanks for joining us. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself personally and a little bit about Peoples Mortgage to get started? Thank you, Chris, I’m thrilled to be partnering with The John Maxwell Company and with yourself. Absolutely. Yes. I’m Hispanic. I speak a few languages, but most importantly I’ve learned in my life, I came from nothing from a small town in Texas. And I was fortunate to have parents that believed and were very progressive and they believe that we should be educated and get a college degree. In fact in that little town, all the Mexican children, they were lucky to finish high school because they were working in the fields and whatever. But my parents pushed us and give us the vision and, and I want to thank them because without them, without their guidance, I wouldn’t be here today. Absolutely. And the fact they said, you know, I owned a franchise for a company called Exit Realty for many years. And my job was to recruit, hire and build a franchise throughout the southwest. And I knew I needed help because yes, I knew my product, I knew real estate, I knew people, but I needed help in making sure that I could lead people to a better stage of their life, improves lives, add value. And I met John Maxwell because I was the Vice President, Director of Sales for a company called Exit Realty, a Canadian company in Toronto. And, I had to work very hard to convince the corporate level to bring in John. And John, we brought him into our convention and for two hours he said, you know, and the stool with a couple of bottles of water and just dominated our group. Wow. And what he was talking about is how to build a better you, a better person. Because sometimes companies, I realized that they focus too much on the profit on the product and not enough time on the people and what our guy from that two-hour session said, I love this man because he’s talking about what my parents told me about. You know, you have to be careful who you hang around, be careful, you know, who you play with.

And I remember one story so distinctly because we were poor. And we went fishing along the coast here in Texas, crabbing and save our chicken neck and a little twine. And we’d go by the river, catch the crabs. I was about eight years old and I was in charge of the bucket. And then my father would catch one and add to the bucket. He said, Nando -my nickname was Nando- Nando put the lid on, cause he’ll get out and say, after he caught three or four, he said, take off the lid and they won’t get out anymore. You know, and this is a true story that happened to me cause I heard this before. And, and I will look at the crabs and sure enough, they’re crawling, somebody, one of them grabbing, hold them down, put them back down. And my father only just finished, what ninth grade? And my mother finished, sixth grade and but they were so savvy in life. And he says, son, look at this. You know, I’ll be gone one day, but I want you to remember that people are like these crabs. Yeah. You’ve got to be careful that you work with people that have been declawed, people that help you. Oh, that’s good. Not bring you down. Right. And so I’ve taken that philosophy in my business world and my family, my children, I have six children, 16 grandchildren and a 17th coming in September. And I’m proud to say that I’ve taken my parents knowledge, John Maxwell’s knowledge, and leadership and bring it into the workforce at Peoples Mortgages.

You see Peoples Mortgages, is a company by design. It’s a company where we care about people and we lead them to success. We place people at the very top and then the product and then the profits. And we’re financially stable or growing. And my job as a Hispanic Community Director is to be the bridge between the Hispanic population, the communities, and make them understand that People Mortgage is the place to get their loan and to explain the homeownership process. But primarily I’m in charge of the Hispanic section to bring people in, recruit people in and mold them into what we want them to be leaders, to be people, to help the families. Because in 2007, 2008, we had a crash. And the reason was mainly that we didn’t take care of the people and I am today, happy that I could be able to do this without worrying about a paycheck.

I’ll tell you what’s interesting, and welcome to our world studios, I know you’re impressed. I was reading on your website and it’s the very last line. He describes the mortgage company beautifully, but the very last line instead of people’s mortgage, it’s all about the people were, how did that come about? And it’s always been the focus that people first? Yes, people first. And that’s one of the reasons why I decided to join People’s Mortgage because I met a gentleman by the name of Tim Gilker. He’s the lead person in the organization. He’s a person that came to me and offered me a position. I had just sold my real estate and I didn’t have to work anymore. And my wife said, good if we can travel now I see the world. 31 days after retired, I get a call from People. So we got together and tell me why. Well, I’m going to unretire after 31 days. And the reason was that I saw the vision, it was about the people that told me we need you to help us relate to the Hispanic community, make sure they understand that we’re a company that will take care of them. And also to help our staff grow as a leader. And you have the expertise, how to work with people, especially the Hispanic population. To put some legs on that for us though. Cause it’s easy to say it’s about the people. I’m guessing a lot of people say that, but it sounds just in your short description so far this is real. But in a day to day, somebody comes in to get a mortgage. Typically I’ve gotten several mortgages. It’s all about the numbers. It’s all about my ability to pay the numbers. It doesn’t feel a lot like it’s about me. How do you guys put legs on that?

Well, the thing is, you know, when I bought a home and I’m a college graduate, I had trouble understanding all those numbers sometimes. And can you imagine a Hispanic family that’s not as highly educated as most of us? It’s really scary. And so we, yes, we want to expand the numbers, but with the human side and making sure they understand that they can trust us and making sure that we are telling them the truth about what’s going on. And that’s about the people. You know, a lot of people make money because they take advantage of people. Pretty soon Karma catches up. At People’s, we want to make sure that they know that whoever comes in the front door, whoever gets a mortgage with us, they’re getting the best deal. And that our loan officers know how to communicate with them and just forget the commission. But they become friends for life.

So when you talk about it, it’s about the people. No doubt your explanation right there talks about the importance of the customer coming in and the ability to connect and it is scary. As a matter of fact, you were just given that analogy and I was thinking to myself, with the Hispanic population, a lot of people probably don’t even ever think about buying a home, not because maybe they couldn’t financially afford it, but because they don’t understand the process and they don’t want to go through that process. What I want to do is I want to shift a little bit of your mindset and, and talk about, it’s the people as we kind of move through this, and I want to talk about the people that are on your team are inside Peoples and how it becomes all about the people for them, right? Because if we take care of them and we increase the engagement level, what we’re going to see is we’re going to see that portrayed out to our customers, right? So if we engage them, take care of them, they’ll take care of our customers. And I know it’s about people in your heart. You and I yesterday had the chance to spend some time with John Maxwell. And there’s a couple of things from my time yesterday that I remember. The first thing is he absolutely has a tremendous memory, and he remembers speaking for you at Exit Realty, which I thought was crazy and he kind of gave us some of those details about remembering speaking for you. The second thing was just watching the two of you connect, right? The heart, the DNA level, and you can just see that it’s authentic. And I love that, that obviously Tim saw that in you, wanted that as part of his culture at Peoples. Nut when we talk about it inside organizations, one of the ways that we train and develop around the world, is to build a foundation around the 5 Levels of Leadership. And I know you’re familiar with it being a student of it. And you and I have talked a lot about that. Talk a little bit about your thoughts, even just your business experience, the corporate experience of the power of that methodology, setting the foundation inside organizations and cultures around the 5 Levels of Leadership.

Chris, I’m glad you brought that up because it’s so vital to any company is and it to our company because it’s all about the people. And as you well know, we brought you in and gave you, gave a phenomenal a three-hour class on the 5 Levels of Leadership. And we did that because we have certain members within the organization that are phenomenal as far as loan officers, sales managers, but they needed help with people skills, how to manage people and not only manage but how to lead them to a higher level within the organization. I’m a firm believer in the 5 Levels of Leadership and as a matter of fact, we are going to be doing it more with you. Tim and I, and I got to say that my CEO of my leader, friend, my golf buddy, he’s my brother and we talk almost every day. It’s between 5:00 AM and 5:30. We text each other because we’re early risers and we want to be more active with John Maxwell. The 5 Levels of Leadership is crucial in my opinion. Crucial for any company that wants to enhance their people to a new level of leadership, a level where they can help other people become better.

Yeah. And we talk about the power of that, right? Is the common language, and the ability for people to connect, to relate, to be able to produce at the end of the day as an organization, you know, it is about production. And so when you begin building that common language around how you define leadership, the biggest thing is that it gives your team, your people, a common language around leadership when they communicate with each other, as you guys begin to build metrics and what that looks like. And so I just wanted you to speak to a little bit about that. I kind of went on a little squirrel trail there, sorry. Perry’s over here looking at me like, ah, what’s going. So it is a common language that really gets you, I always tell people I struggled with leadership for years. What do you actually do? Oh, the 5 Levels tells you what you do. Exactly. I like that. So I had a question for you. One thing we’ve talked about on this podcast in the past as a struggle that leaders are finding today, at least the challenge, is cross-cultural, multicultural teams that we have. It used to be kind of everybody was the same. They’re not. The ability for teams to have a multicultural makeup. As a Hispanic American and as a leader, how do you see that? Can you frame that up for our audience about what it means to lead in a cross-cultural environment?

I think is very crucial to today’s society. So as you know the Hispanic business is growing by leaps and balance across the world, especially in the southwest, in the USA. As a Hispanic leader, I come across daily with Hispanic professionals. And one of the things that I know and realize that the Hispanic person, deals a lot with emotion more often than the intellect. Interesting. And having said that,  the emotion with the other person they’re dealing with has to be connected before they can trust. Yeah. So Level 2 is what are we talking about, and so a Hispanic family, Hispanic person, they look for a person, they can connect and they can trust and you have to speak their language. You have to go to the heart. If you talk just to numbers and to the head, you’re going to lose them, right? You first connect to the heart, the passion that the humanity part of the emotion that buying a home and they become friends first and then they become a client. And so I try to inform and teach our staff that, you know, don’t rush things, build a relationship, get to know them, show them you care. Everything else will come. But, the language barrier is critical because a person who is bilingual, Hispanic, they might understand English. But the English language, certain words mean different differently to a Hispanic and you have to be clear that what you’re saying is coming across the way you want to.

Yeah. How powerful is that statement right there? Because that statement is so true in more than just a language barrier. Now I get goosebumps because like I think we could just talk about that for an hour. Because whether it’s personality, whether its strengths, whether it’s your values, whether it’s whatever, if we don’t understand and have the proper context, the proper perspective, we have a gap in connecting with people it’s our responsibility as leaders to close that gap. In this illustration we’re talking about right here, some of that is a language or an eh, what I would call a context of a conversation gap, what we’re talking about. But there are so many different gaps as a leader that we need to be aware of that we need to make sure that we are asking questions and making sure that we have the proper perspective. Exactly.

And connect with them in an honest way. I have been successful because I’d rather money but help the family and I’ll make it down the road somewhere, somewhere, somewhere. Yeah. But the fact is if, when I go to bed at night, I know this today I helped people today I was better than I was yesterday and tomorrow I want to be better than I was yesterday. And if I can teach that to people is to be better every that when you were the past day, the world would be a better place.

How in your experience both in the past then, even just currently, what do you see as a struggle, with most leaders, where do leaders struggle? Where is there a deficit that you see in leadership, whether it’s a development of it or just the attributes they have? And then talk a little bit about maybe some of the things that you guys at People’s Mortgage currently do to add value to develop them and their skill set. One of the things I’ve seen a lot of leaders and other professions – I deal a lot with real estate and business people belong to different organizations. And I see that, and I’m here as an educated Hispanic with a couple of degrees and I sit back and I listen and it comes across differently than most people because my Hispanic mine is processing it into English and wow. And so I have to be careful that what comes in thinking as a Hispanic doesn’t interfere the way it should be coming across in English.

I always knew there was a lot of stuff going on up there and that head of yours. Yeah, that makes sense. And the translation in real time, I mean, right there. And so, I try to educate people that, hey, no, you have to learn how to listen. You have to learn how to learn and then reenter. And then do it again because most people only hear about 10% of what you’re saying 20% of the most. And so ask the proper questions. And then also at our company, we’re, we’re, we’re doing the 5 Levels of Leadership again, and we’re doing a one on one coaching. I loved coaching. I’m doing it right now with the various loan officers. And one of the biggest things I see is that they’re so hungry to make a living. They’re just forgetting to make a life. Wow. Say that again. They’re so busy trying to make a living that they’re not living a full life. And I explain to them you know, you got this thing backward. You know, you have to become a better person, a better leader. The reason why you didn’t close a deal, it wasn’t because you didn’t have the right, the proper rates or whatever. It’s because you didn’t build a relationship first. They didn’t trust you. They went with somebody else that they feel better with, and if you want to close a deal, make sure you close with them as a person first. And as a relationship builder, as a person that you care.  

Having six children and 16 grandchildren, I’ll put to a task almost daily. And, I have a son in the business and wow, what a challenge to have a person you love that you have to communicate at a different level. Take the emotion out to make sure he understands that this is business. This is how you do it. And it’s so far it’s working well and he’s learning. But the most important thing is that we’re all humans. We’re all the same whether you’re Hispanic, Anglo, German, wherever we’re human and we have the same feelings, we want the same thing. We want to be loved. We want to be recognized. And the good leaders do that. They recognize, they add value, they make people feel better. And when they do that, production comes.

Absolutely, if that foundation is built then production will come. Exactly. And speaking of grandchildren, John says all the time, grandchildren are the gifts that he’s received for not killing his children. Right. It’s so true. And I know both of you have experience, I don’t have experience with that yet. And if we do, we’re going to have different conversations. Let’s talk about that a little bit later. So you talked that’s really good. And you talk a lot about the different cultures and the different people in the styles and the values. I want you to speak now, into a little bit about leading different generations and what’s really awesome about this conversation is your experience, your age, where you’re at in life, your season of life and Perry brought to us, we did a podcast, I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago, about five different generations in the workplace and what that looks like and where you’re at in the season of your life, you know, we have those different generations. Talk a little bit about, what you see at People’s Mortgage and in the circles that you run about the opportunities or even the challenges as leaders that we need to be aware of when leading, we’ll call it cross-generational.

One of the things that I tried to explain to our people is that when I’m coaching or dealing with them in certain issues and I say, Hey, listen, I’m a 24-year-old man with 50 years of experience. And let me explain that. Eddie says that to everybody. I can’t tell you. I was, I was, I’m a give our audience just a quick little story. So this morning they’re visiting us, we’re in Atlanta from, from Phoenix and so he texted me this morning and I had sent him some thoughts that you put together for us and the podcast. And he texted me earlier this morning and I always introduce him as this 74-year-old man. That’s all I say. And he’s right behind me all the time. I’m a 24-year-old male for this experience. So this morning I get a text early this morning and he says, brother Chris, I left my notes on the plane, can you run some copies and have them for me when I get there? And I said, Fernando, I don’t understand with 50 years of experience who needs notes? And he’s like, exactly. But I still printed them out, but I tell people I’m a millennial. It’s just from previous millennia. Right, cross generations.

So I deal with different age groups, different generations and the young generation that are the most challenging right now to me because they wouldn’t everything now, instantly, instant gratification. Yes, they want it now. And why does he have this big heart? And so I said, you know what? I’m 24 years old with 50 years experience, it’s taken me 74 years to give what I have. Learn how to be a better person right now. Learn how to communicate different levels in the young generation. You need to speak to them differently. You know, and people my age, completely different people in the age of 40, 50 that go into when they’re making it, they’re just, you know, getting there to the point that thinks that kind of made. Soon, they’re going to realize it’s not there yet. And so I try to speak to a person after I built a relationship to find out exactly where they are. You know, what’s their hot points, what they need, and not just take it, speak to everybody the same way because they won’t understand, you know, and the 5 Levels of Leadership that I’m using, thanks to Chris and John Maxwell is awesome because I know I can see the levels of where they are, you know, and some are at the first level and some are second and third and very few at the very top and no matter their age and the generation that they come from, as an organization, when you have a foundation of how you define leadership, how you measure it, how you assess it, it gives you that common language to be able to connect. And John says a lot of times where I find that the 1% you can connect on and go 100% in. And when it comes to leadership, one of the great things about having the foundation of the 5 Levels of Leadership, is no matter the generation, if you educate them and let them understand that now you’ll move them differently. You’ll lead them differently through the processes and you’re never on the same level with anybody at the same time. But with that being said, at least you have a common language that sets the foundation of how we define leadership around People’s Mortgage. And this is what it looks like. And these are the keywords and it’s how we talk about it. Exactly.

Well, let me do this. Perry, I’m going to throw it back to you to kind of close us. I want to give you a couple of things that I just took away from some of the things that you said. And for those that are listening, you probably have more than just these three. There’s a lot of really good leadership content from the heart of Fernando and just how he lives his life and leads people. So I encourage you to go back and listen to this again, maybe even a couple of times to take some notes. For me, there are three things that stood out. It just really reinforced the power of perspective and understanding whether it’s generational, whether it’s cultural, whether it’s leadership experience, whatever it is. We make a lot of assumptions and when we lead people, because of the pace of which we work today, right? It’s like we just make a lot of assumptions and we move so quickly through the process that we forget about the people or if we don’t forget about them, we forget about understanding their perspective and we forget about understanding and the power of questions, which leads me to the second thing I wrote down. Listen, learn, then lead. You said, man, we don’t listen enough. We don’t learn enough from different cultures, from different generations, from different leaders. And so at Level 2, that’s really the fact. That is the core of Level 2 influence right there to be able to get people to want to follow you and connect with you if you cause what do we do? We, we don’t listen, learn and lead, right? Here’s what we do. We hear them, we don’t, you know, we don’t learn anything. And then we lead them how we wanted to lead them anyways and we completely missed the boat. And so we are not getting everything. We’re not getting that discretionary effort from our team members. We’re not getting that engagement level. And then the last thing, and this is probably as it goes back to the 21 Laws, which was the Law of Process. All of us want this instant gratification, you know, and, and being where you’re at, people are like, man, I want to do what I want to do, what you’re doing. And John says, well, do you want to do what I did for the last 50 years? And I even found myself getting caught up in that you play the, you know, be like the Jones’s game and I want to drive that car and I want that position. I would be doing that. And I’m like, yeah, yeah. In your definition of how old you are, it’s 50 years of experience. And so if you worry about today, if you’re intentional about developing today, if you’re intentional about getting better today when you get to 50 years, you may have to do that. Exactly. And so I love that it just reinforced the law of process.

I’m definitely an overnight success. It took 20 years to happen. I know what you’re talking about. Well, thank you, Chris. Thank you, Fernando. I took some notes too. I was on with your lifelong learning. It’s like you never stop learning and growing. I love the thought “people first, the results take care of themselves” because the other way around, we can put results first but the people will not take care of themselves. And I really appreciate that. Thank you all for joining! Also, if you’d like to learn more about the 5 Levels of Leadership or even bring a 5 Levels Workshop to your organization, you can do that at johnmaxwellcompany.com/podcast, as well. Leave us a comment, ask us a question. We’re very grateful for you joining us. That’s all for today. Thanks for joining the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.