Bill Rogers | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Bill Rogers

Background:  

Scottsdale-based Homeowners Financial Group opened its doors in 2004 and is committed to serving the needs of borrowers. The company prides itself in helping people purchase their homes.

The Mistake:

Early in my career as a business owner, I realized I didn’t initially take the time to clearly define the roles of each of our management team members.

Internally, I was hesitant to keep each manager focused only on their individual departments because in a small company you often have people wearing multiple hats. Part of me actually felt like it went against the team-approach culture that we valued, but I was wrong.

Once we began to grow, the departmental inefficiencies became exposed and initially stunted our growth. Having defined roles and keeping managers focused in their lane made the day-to-day operations much smoother because each department became stronger and more fluid.

Of course, there are still times where the "all hands on deck" approach can be necessary and you must recognize them.​

Making mistakes is common for most business owners.

The Lesson:

Defining each manager’s role didn't happen overnight and was difficult at first because we hadn't yet built out our executive team.

The lesson that comes to mind is that I waited too long to build out an executive team. I needed to let go of some of my duties to ensure that our managers had the support they needed to be successful. As the owner, I had too many managers directly reporting to me. As much as I wanted to be involved in directly supporting them, this wasn't fair to them. I had put too much on my plate. Because of this, I continued to fall short and so did the team and the company.

Building out an experienced executive team has been critical to the success of HFG's managers and the overall health of the company. It has afforded me the time to escape the details of the day to day. Now, I’m able to look outside of our company at the overall business environment, including our competition.

I’m also able to reach out and spend valuable time with our own people on the frontline, many of whom deal directly with our clients. The time spent in these areas gives me the valuable insight and feedback necessary to help steer HFG into the future. HFG still maintains the team culture; we’re just better at it than we've ever been.

Making mistakes is common for most business owners. If you're not making mistakes, you're probably missing some opportunities. What separates successful business owners from the rest is, first, being able to recognize and admit your mistakes. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, is listening to your team and the solutions they offer to fix them.

Follow Homeowners Financial Group on Twitter at @homeownersfg.

Photo courtesy of Bill Rogers

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