An entrepreneur is someone who takes action to create change in the world. However, entrepreneurship is not just a role, it is a mindset and a lifestyle. From encouraging growth in your employees to ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, Brian Mingham from Greenwood Village, Colorado believes in being of service to others. Mingham is the Founder and CEO of CFSI Loan Management, and is responsible for the firm’s overall strategy, reporting, and general management.
Brian Mingham founded CFSI Loan Management in 2012, transforming the business into a leading nationwide construction mitigation firm by creating key growth strategies and by hiring the best team around. CSFI Loan Management has had year-over-year revenue growth as a result of Mingham’s development initiatives and identification of high-growth market segments. Additionally, he is a high energy, results-oriented executive with proven experience in all aspects of start-up management. With a proven track record of capitalizing on market opportunities, driving revenue and profits, and combining his vision with strong management, leadership, and relationship-building skills, he leads with a growth mindset. Bringing the principles of growth, understanding, and service from his personal life into his role as Founder and CEO of CFSI Loan Management, Brian Mingham has valuable insight into how to lead with confidence and build a team that outperforms year over year.
What is the key to successful collaboration?
Working with start-ups and on other growth initiatives, collaboration is a vital aspect of what we do. The most important aspect of collaboration is active listening. Whether I am working with my team members or a new client, listening is crucial to being of service. Maintaining the mindset of, ‘What can I do for you?’, versus, ‘What can you do for me?’ is a game changer, and allows you to provide the most value to the other person.
How do you approach problem solving?
It really depends on the complexity of the problem. I either brainstorm solutions, take time away, or ask my team—sometimes all three. The key to problem solving is not discounting any possible solution. Even the most outlandish suggestions can lead to viable solutions if you are willing to give them a chance. Start with a thought bubble, putting every idea on paper as it comes to your mind. If you’ve been focused on the problem for too long, take some time away, go for a walk, or do something else. Lastly, ask your team for their input. If it is a work problem, they likely have insight that can help you move towards a viable solution.
What is one skill you think everyone should have?
Emotional control. In business, as in life, things can change at a moment’s notice. A deal falls through, someone tests your patience, and you need to be able to hold your composure—it is one of the most difficult skills to develop. Controlling how emotionally reactive you are to external events not only improves your relationships with others, but allows your mind to stay clear, which helps you make rational, decisive decisions. Don’t be reactive, be proactive.
What does success mean to you?
Success is an individual game, not a comparison game. I do not measure my success according to my peers, but rather to who I was yesterday. I think that this is a trap that many people fall into, and it unfortunately has the adverse effect of impacting your success overall. If you are sharply focused on where other people are in a race, you take energy away from securing your own place within it. Success is being better than you were yesterday. Success is feeling fulfilled by the work you’re doing. Anyone can be successful; it is just a matter of challenging yourself every day.
What advice do you have for people afraid of networking?
The fear of networking and meeting new people often comes from a fear of judgement, failure, and criticism—what if I look stupid? Throw that fear away, because no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like you, it is a fact of life. Change the narrative in your own mind about what networking is—it is a chance to get to know someone and expand your own worldview, it is not a chance to impress someone else. The focus in networking should not be on you, but rather on them. Ask them questions about their job, role, and career (with a genuine curiosity), and you’ll be surprised at how easy networking can be.
What is the biggest mistake a leader can make?
Ironically enough, asserting a role of control. Being a leader does not mean that your ideas are more valuable, that you know best, or that you can control everything that happens around you. The key to being a great leader is to hire people whose work you believe in, and then to trust them with their role, allowing them the flexibility to try new things, explore, and grow. The overwhelming desire for control expressed by many leaders only serves to alienate the workforce and cripple the company. Don’t micromanage. The irony is that by trying to exert too much control over others weakens their desire to create good work for you or the company. Resist the urge.
What is the key to cultivating positive company culture?
Value everyone. Don’t take anyone for granted. Allow space for people to learn new skills and continue to grow. As an entrepreneur, I feel the most fulfilled when I am able to learn a new skill and continue my growth journey. Employees are the same. They want to feel creative and like they are growing. A key aspect of cultivating this growth mindset in my employees is by having a real open-door policy. If you want to learn a new skill, move to a new department, or go to a training course, come talk to me about it, and I will help you map out your future within the company. Training our current employees is not only an investment in them but is far cheaper than hiring new ones.