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Author Archive

Teaching: Here are 3 principles to make those small groups work right.

This month, I’m doing blogs on teaching–specifically, how to change it up and quit lecturing your way through the day. I know we have thousands of dedicated real estate instructors. But, we seem to have thousands of bored students! Why? Because most of our courses don’t have a variety of teaching methods built in. So, in this series, I’ll help you build in ‘relief’ from that awful, boring lecture and change it up to keep your audience interested and learning.

The Alternative: Divide and Conquer

In the previous blog, we explored the ‘divide and conquer’ method of teaching. One of the configurations of the ‘divide and conquer’ is the task force: Small groups of people working on a common problem. In this blog, I’ll show you a few things to do with that task force to assure it goes right. Most of these principles would also apply to dividing people into groups, too, for role play and other small groups (I’ll write a blog on this later).

Three Principles for Great Task Forces

  1. The task must be something the attendees can do without further information. For example: If you’re teaching Instructor Development, you’ll probably have a section on ‘how adults learn’. You can easily subdivide this topic into 3 or 4 sections. For example, you could have ‘obstacles to adult learning’. You already know that your attendees can come up with several obstacles to adult learning–they have either experienced them or observed them.

What wouldn’t work in a task force: To ask your attendees to tackle something that they need additional information or training to accomplish. For example–if I were teaching a group of would-be instructors how to facilitate a task force, I couldn’t ask them to write down all the steps to facilitate until I’d taught them the steps.

2. One task per group: If you have several groups, assign only one task per group.

What wouldn’t work in a task force exercises: Assigning all the tasks to all the groups, or assigning the same task to every group. Why? Because the first group to report will report pretty much everything the other groups have come up with–an exercise in frustration! (There is a way to do this, which I’ll discuss in a later blog).

3. Put no more than 5 people in a group, so people have a chance to interact easily with each other, and everyone gets to have input.

What wouldn’t work: Putting more than 5 people in a group. The ‘outliers’ can’t communicate and only 2-3 people will end up contributing.

When To Use a Task Force

Task forces work really well at the beginning of a session, to break up your lecture in the middle of the section, and to summarize learning at the end.

Where will you employ a task force in your teaching? Let me know!

Come join me to put these creative, fun teaching methods into your course. Attend Beyond the Basics: Advanced Skills to Make that Course Come Alive, coming up April 23-24 (approved for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state). We’ll be working with parts of a course you bring. We’ll put in some great methods and then practice to see how they work–a unique opportunity!

Challenge: How would you teach this? Without lecturing!!!

In a month from now, I’ll be doing a training on how to make your courses come alive. Why? Because, unfortunately, most real estate courses consist of someone at the front of the room droning on…..and on….and on. Now, I don’t think that’s the instructor’s fault, to an extent. I think it’s the fault of the course writer.

The Challenge: Few Courses Written for the Instructor to Teach

You innocently pick up the course outline (it’s big and heavy, of course), and you start talking. How long does it take for your audience to quit listening and play with their phones? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Probably no longer than that.

It Doesn’t Matter if You’re an Expert–or an Expert Lecturer

In truth, our attention spans have shrunken–and continue to shrink. So, we instructors just can’t talk through that outline and expect to keep the audience’s attention. But, what do we do instead? In this series of blogs, I’ll show you how to take part of that outline and make it more interesting.

In Most Cases, YOU Have to Also Put in the Teaching Methods

Since few courses have these teaching methods written in, you’ll have to develop the skills to take that boring outline and put in various and varied teaching methods. Find out how to do that in my upcoming course: Beyond the Basics: Advanced Skills to Make that Course Come Alive, coming up April 23-24 (approved for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state).

Divide and Conquer: Using the Task Force

One of the reasons our real estate audiences get antsy is that they don’t like to sit quietly. But, you’ve probably seen the room get out of control if you encourage wild, unabated discussion! So, how do you help them talk and still control the situation? Divide and Conquer. Instead of having them all talk in open discussion, use the small group method. That’s called ‘task force’, because you’re literally putting them into small groups to work on a task they can accomplish.

Here’s an example of how to take the facts in that outline and throw them to the audience to reveal. Think of it this way: Instead of you–standing up in front of everyone and telling, and telling, and telling, you ask small groups to tackle parts of your topic and come up with solutions.

The Example of a Task Force

I teach Instructor Development Workshop, (coming April 9-10 in Bellevue, Wa), which certifies instructors in the state of Washinton to teach clock-hour approved courses. In one part of the outline, the topic is How Adults Learn. I have 3 pages in that outline that innumerate all the ways adults learn, including obstacles to adult learning.

Your turn: If I were to give you that outline and ask you to teach it, how would you proceed? You might just talk through those 3 pages, reading what I’d written. Hate to tell you, but that would be so boring! (And you wouldn’t learn what your audience does and does not know!) Instead, here’s how I do it.

Using the Task Force to Explore ‘How Adults Learn’

Here’s how I teach this section. I divide that topic into 4 areas: How adults learn, the obstacles to adult learning, the attributes of the real estate adult learner, and effective retention techniques.

See the slide from my Insructor Development Workshop I use that gives instructions to the task forces here.

Here are 2 Keys to doing Task Forces:

  1. The tasks must be something that the attendees can accomplish from information they already have
  2. The tasks must be meaningful to what you’re teaching

Task Forces Must be Meaningful: And a Springboard

Look at the last sentence in the slide. That’s my ‘springboard’. I’m asking the attendees to figure out ‘what does it mean to me?” That’s the relevance of the exercise.

In later blogs, I’ll give you tips on using this and other ‘divide and conquer’ methods to make your teaching–and their learning–much more enjoyable! You’ll get great reviews and return customers!

Let me Help your Instructors Put Pizazzz into those Courses

There are 2 ways I can help you: If you’re in Washington state, come to my class April 23-24. Or, invite me to your company anywhere in the US or Canada and I’ll customize a special session for you. I use YOUR outlines and we actually put in the methods and teach them. You’ll get much better attendance at your courses, have excited, enthusiastic instructors, and find it easier to get return business!

Contact me to find out how I can help. Let’s make your courses shine!

Not a speaker? Here are four tips to present like a pro.

We’ve all been there. We’ve been asked to speak for ten minutes to a group of people. Our first reaction is extreme fear. Our second reaction is,

1.Slow Down

Most speakers, amateurs or professionals, speak too fast. Slow down. Pretend you are speaking to a huge room and project your voice to the back of the room. You’ll find yourself going slower and using more inflection (vocal dynamics) . Better delivery!

2. Get Persuasive

There is a process for everything, including crafting a persuasive presentation. It’s simple. It’s the structure of your favorite popular tune: ABA. In other words, it starts with a theme, develops the ‘bridge’ in the middle, (supporting information to your point of view), and ends with the same theme.

Free giveaway in this blog: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

3.Launch with a Great Start

How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning. Post the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations.

4. Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”…..Remember, it’s just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close with reminding the audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Remember, your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade. And, here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. Otherwise, simply read a book!

Let Me Work with Your Trainers to Create Better Presentations

Are your courses boring? Are those presentations great for taking a nap? Are you instructors talking through every outline? And, most importantly, are your courses not filling up? It’s time to invite me to work with your instructor group.

Contact me and we’ll work out the best solution for you!

Share this with your presenters: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

 

Here are 4 ways your meetings go wrong, and a planner to assure they go right.

This month, I’m focusing on the main responsibilities of a real estate manager. If you’re going into management, how are you going to make your meetings exciting, interesting, and participative?

Death By Meeting…….

If you haven’t been in a meeting that went sideways, you probably haven’t attended enough meetings! I just attended a meeting that was almost painful to experience. It went on and on, with little organization. The speakers had no rhyme nor reason to their presentations. And, finally, I wasn’t even sure what we were to do as a result of this meeting!

As I sat there, I thought, “How can I help meeting planners/managers/presenters avoid the mistakes I’m experiencing and plan a meeting that works every time?” I came up with this Presentation Planner and Promotion form. Using it with your presenters will assure that you avoid these four big mistakes:

1. No promotion to your target audience for the meeting
2. No focus to the meeting–no theme, no stated benefits to the target audience
3. Presenters do not have a format from which to create their presentations–so they just wander around in a vast wasteland of facts and figures
4. There’s no call to action as a result of the speaker or of the meeting

Promoting Your Event

So, my Presentation Planner includes a section on promotion. After all, as you plan your presentation, you’ll naturally think:

  • Who is the event targeted to?
  • What are the 3 major benefits to this target audience?
  • What will they walk away with?
  • Where will I promote it?

The planner I created will help you avoid the 4 common mistakes listed above. It not only assures a persuasive presentation, it helps you promote the event, too!

Click here to grab your Presentation/Promotion Planner.

I’m Here to Help You Become a Great Leader!

If you’re new to management, or you’re being challenged in management, I can help. My Leadership Mastery individual, custom coaching program will help you master the major activities of management–stepping you from ‘maintenance management’ to true leadership. Check out my program here. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Going into management? How are you going to motivate?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

As managers, we agonize over how to motivating our agents/employees. Yet, we generally know little about how motivation really works. Here is one psychologist’s view on motivation, with tips on how to make it work for you in the workplace.

Different strokes for different folks. We think people are motivated by whatever motivates us. If we like to be up in front of hundreds and receive those number one trophies, we assume others do, too. Not true. MCClelland, a psychologist who wrote lots about motivation (see Achieving Society, Power is the Great Motivator), observed that people were motivated by one of these motivators:

a. achievement
b. affiliation
c. power

Identifying Who’s Who

What are some actions that achievers demonstrate?

What are some actions affiliators demonstrate?

What are some actions power people demonstrate?

Which one are you motivated by? How do you know? Think of a time in your life when you were very motivated by something. Was that ‘something’ categorized as achievement, affiliation, or power? You can ask your team members that same question, and find out their dominant motivator (and just observe them in action, too!).

Managing to the Motivators

McClelland said, that, if you’re managing an achiever, you should:

  • provide clear-cut goals
  • give prompt feedback

Managing an affiliator? You should:

  • treat him/her as an individual
  • be emphathetic
  • provide encouragement

With the power person, you should:

  • set clear guidelines
  • talk about how to win
  • speak in terms of results

Who Challenges You?

To really put this to work, pick a person you manage that you find challenging. Pinpoint their main motivator. Try the actions McClelland suggests. I’ll bet you’ll not only get more cooperation, you’ll start to feel ‘in tune’ with that person–and provide the atmosphere for them where they can be motivated–their way.

For your next sales meeting: Explain McClleland’s approach to motivators. Ask agents about 3 times in their lives when they were really motivated to achieve something. Then, explain the 3 categories, and ask agents to choose their dominant motivator.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

If you’re a new manager. You’ll want to cut your time frame by interviewing more effectively. You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.

So you’re thinking of going into management. One of the great actions effective managers do is to create and implement a training program that actually gets results.

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

Grab your training calendar from your office (you do have a training calendar, don’t you?). Do you believe that training is getting the biggest ‘bang’ for your training buck (effort expended, talent needed, results expected)?

Maybe you’re taking part in the training program. Are you frustrated because your training isn’t getting results? Or, people just aren’t showing up? Or, worse yet, falling asleep in that factoid-heavy class?

If you have access to your office’s profit and loss statements: Maybe you have a specific problem you’ve noticed when you read your latest profit and loss statement. For instance: Perhaps your agents are giving too many commission concessions.

Training can Solve Some Challenges–and Not Others

When you go into management, you’ll see various challenges that training can solve (and some challenges training can’t solve!). Decide which challenges you can solve by providing training (like increasing listings sold) and which challenges can’t be corrected by more training (ethical issues are hard to re-train to, since people’s ethics are pretty hard-wired into them in their early years!).

Pretend now you’re in management. If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, you’ll love the tool here. I’m providing an insightful analytical tool to discover what’s right–and wrong–with your training.

Three main reasons training isn’t working:

1. It isn’t tied to the problems you want to solve in your office (agents not productive enough, commissions too low, etc.)
2. It doesn’t teach your agents to perform better–just gives information
3. It isn’t exciting enough–teacher just drones on and on…..

As I work with owners, managers and trainers internationally, I see these same three problems crop up over and over.

How to Figure Out What’s Wrong with that training Program

From working with many managers over a period of years, I’ve created an analytical tool to figure out what’s good, bad, and ugly about that training program. Use it in your office. Or, if you have the guts, use it with your manager and then create a plan to create better training–with goals for specific, measurable results.

Click here to get your analytical tool — along with tips to correct your training to make it pay off.

Managers: Do you have someone you know would be a great manager? Start working with that person now. Get them into training. Have them take a great Instructor Development Course, team train, and, finally, start training on your program.

Affiliates: Share this with the managers/trainers in the offices you call on. Use these tips, too, to streamline the training you provide.

The Complete Training Guide for Real Estate–Gain Skills and Techniques

Here’s the comprehensive training tool that will help you create great training programs, become a confident, effective trainer, and help many more people succeed in real estate! Check it out here.

How much time should you spend in these management activities I’ve listed in the handout below?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

In my Leadership Mastery Coaching program, I provide several analysis tools to help new managers get started right with the best practices. At the end of this blog, grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Where Managers Go Right–and Wrong

In my most popular book, Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan, I divide all the activities an agent could do into two categories: business producing or business supporting. Business producing are those activities where the agent is finding, working with, and closing clients. Business supporting are all the rest of the activities. Where do you think agents go wrong? They spend too much time in business-supporting activities.

Now, let’s compare that to the categories and activities managers do. They also divide themselves nicely into busininess-producing and business supporting. (Take a look at my handout at the end of this blog).

How do You Spend Your Time?

From working with hundreds of managers in my Leadership Mastery program, I see that successful managers spend the majority of their time in business producing activities. The failing managers spend most of their time in business supporting activities. In fact, they become masters of the technical aspects of the business, and spend lots of time preparing and playing technology. (Sound familiar to those of you managing failing agents?) There’s nothing wrong with knowing the technical aspects of real estate and using technology. But, the failing manager focuses and ‘lives’ there.

What’s Your Conclusion?

Let me know how you used this analysis tool. General managers: What did you find when you had a manager use this tool? What changes will you help them make?

Grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Resources (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

Want to go into management? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor.

. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Here’s a straightforward job description for a successful leadership-manager:

Find and develop people

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you devleoped those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen