Up to the next level

When’s the last time you’ve done something for the first time? 

In your valuation career, what year are you operating? Repeating ideas and processes from years ago? 

Time for next level? 

So much stuff 

This week, we moved our offices after 25+ years. After hiring a moving company with four guys for two days; I still had to schlep stuff for three more days in my trailer. The good news is, we sold our office building as an assemblage play in Downtown Tampa. We were lucky enough to purchase a very similar, but much improved, office building also in the downtown core. Super excited to make it our HQ.  

Complying with the “Record Keeping Rule” in USPAP was pretty easy since we’re 99% cloud with the exception of litigation files. I’ll probably cart these paper folders until my departure. However, I was amazed at the number of desks, chairs, monitors, PCs, and stuff on the walls. Amazing amount of stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. 

The move taught me a few things 

Setting up my new office, I had the reflex habit of hanging up my FSU diploma and framed designation. However, I caught myself thinking these are great past achievements. These wall hanging items don’t address what’s next.  

Just like martial arts, getting a black belt is just the beginning, “Master of the basics.” A black belt is really a white belt turned black from a lot of dirt and sweat. In other words, always have a beginner’s mind of what you can learn next. 

Creating room for something different 

Just like a book, I wondered what chapters I’m moving towards, the old me, the new me. The physicality of some of the items in the move were pretty obvious that they needed to go away. But I kept thinking, I’m creating room for something different, something new. But what would that be? Sure, the HP12C made it to the new office desk, but not much else. 

The topic of next level kept coming up in my mind. My birthday is coming up, putting me two years below the 6th floor (58 years old). I could just coast. Create appraisals the same way I’ve always done it. I could ignore potential new tools, processes and a productivity mindset that would benefit my appraisers. I could just coast along until the end of my career.  

Business is my sport 

The problem is that fishing and golf are definitely not in my future. No offense to these hobbies, but business is my sport. I love to talk about it, read about it and learn best practices from other industries outside of our valuation vertical. I love to celebrate other people’s business wins. I love to talk to entrepreneurs (even though I can’t spell it without spell check). I love listening to how they’ve scaled their business, expanded their operations, allowed their people to grow and created new roles and responsibilities. 

I’m finding interest in various other topics such as understanding bank appraisal departments. As a co-founder of FIVA (Financial Institution Valuation Advisors), I’m learning the day-to-day challenges of appraisal managers and chief appraisers. With YouConnect, our appraisal and environmental workflow platform, I understand the department’s operations. However, participating in this organization has taught me a lot about bank appraiser’s daily challenges. Overworked, often understaffed, struggling to keep up, struggling to find and keep reviewers, dealing with auditors and regulators, the list goes on.  

Clean out your old office 

I think our industry could use a “Ted Talk style” new education platform. We could also benefit from re-establishing networking opportunities between fee and bank appraisers. Focusing on productivity tools, like DataComp Suite, is also paramount considering the increase in appraisal volume and decrease in appraisers.  

The trifecta of education, networking and productivity will benefit everyone in our valuation vertical. 

Is it time to clean out your old office? Is it time to view your career differently? Is it time to take it up to the next level? You can borrow my dolly.