Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for Team building

Here’s why your small group exercises don’t work–and what to do about it.

(See my 12-point checklist to use every time you’re going to launch a group exercise. You’ll find this invaluable!)

You’re teaching, and you’ve decided to change it up and add a small group exercise–instead of that boring lecturing. So, you blithely put people into small groups. But, things go wrong:

  1. They wander around without knowing where to go to get into their groups
  2. They cluster together in groups of 10-15 so no one gets anything done
  3. They don’t know how to proceed as they as supposed to start the exercise
  4. They don’t know what the exercise is
  5. They don’t know what to do when the exercise is over

And on and on…..

This month, I’m doing blogs on teaching–specifically, how to change it up and quit lecturing your way through the day.

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.

The Checklist for Assuring Every Small Group Goes the Way You Want 

See my 12-point checklist to use every time you’re going to launch a group exercise. You’ll find this invaluable! How do I know? I’ve made every mistake you can make on these, and have learned how to avoid mistakes and make the small group go well.

Gain Advanced Teaching Skills Now!

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!

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.

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. 

In the last blog, I named 3 things that bad hiring costs you.

There are some of those line items that are hard to quantify–but are very real. If you’ve ever hired an agent who lied to you or others, or undermined you, or talked behind your back in the kichen–you know there are very real costs to your culture.

Another real but hard to quanitify cost: Have you ever had good agents leave because they weren’t challenged? Because they felt you were hiring poor agents, and dragging down everyone’s production? If that only cost you one productive agent, it’s a lot!

What are your numbers? What does it cost you for an agent who failed? Have you ever figured it out? Let me know. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor, I would ask managers this question. Generally, they figured the cost of a bad hire was $10,000-$30,000. What’s yours?

eBook Cover(2)
Grab Your Selection Blueprint and Gain a System

Are you wasting time interviewing those who fail? Do you want to have a systematic method of selection (just as you tell your agents to use with sellers and buyers!).  Or, do you need some guidance to figure out those you don’t want? Get Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners and make better hiring decisions.

Ready to use and immediately downloadable!

Here’s what you need to know about training, from my piano teachers.

Special Blog for Anyone Who Trains and Coaches

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance.

1. Great piano teachers screen their students in and screen their students out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them. Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc. What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them.
How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.
Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, Systems, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. Check out Leadership Mastery Coaching.

Here’s more from Mr. Rogers–on how to use your talents and skills to contribute.

In my earlier blog, I discussed what we can learn from Mr. Rogers. Here’s more.  I’ve been thinking about his legacy, because there’s a new movie about his philosophies: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

First, who was “Mr. Rogers”? Best known from his children’s show, which ran from 1968 to 2000, Fred Rogers was so much more—a minister, a musician with a degree in music composition, and chief puppeteer of his show. I’ve always enjoyed his quotes, because many of them are from his experiences as a musician (as am I).

From What We Do to What We Can Contribute

I don’t know about you, but I got bored selling real estate after about 5 years. All those split levels started looking the same! So, let’s say you’ve mastered what you do (and maybe have become bored with the routine of your life!). Then, what do you do? How about doing like Mr. Rogers did: Shine your light and talents outward to influence others in positive ways.

Note to managers, trainers, and coaches: Do an exercise where each person names a talent/skill they have. Then, have their partner ‘translate’ how that skill can be translated to others. Example: “People tend to tell me their secrets and their fears.” Partner: How about gaining some coaching expertise and start coaching to help people?

Let me know what you come up with. I’ve found that it’s easier for someone else to be creative about your talents and skills that it is for you to be! Here’s to a very fulfilling, rich, and contributive year!

Let Me Help You Help Your Newer Agents!

I want YOU to be the hero here! So many times, I’ve talked with managers who want to design training and coaching programs to help their agents. But, I know, from experience, it takes thousands of hours and test marketing to create effective, results-based training. So, why not let me do the heavy lifting and you coach to the program? Check out Up and Running in Real Estate, my online training, coaching, and accountability plan with an amazing, results-centered business start-up plan. You (and I) will be helping more people faster! Check it out here.

 

Here are benefits and downsides of joining a team–from a new agent’s perspective. As you read below, ask yourself, “How well do my leaders of teams meet the criteria? How well are they leading their teams? Is it a benefit for one of my new agents to join a particular team?

This blog is excerpted from my ebook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.A�A�

I wrote this eBook to save prospective agents and managers time during the interview/selecction process. Here’s an excerpt from the eBook, where I discuss teams–the good and the negatives–for new agents.

Joining a TeamA�

As you interview, you may be invited to join an office team. That means youa��ll be essentially working for a a�?rainmakera��, a lead agent who generates a�?leadsa�� for those on his team. Of course, those leads cost money, and the rainmaker takes about half the income from the team member for the lead generation and other services.

Teaming helps agents obtain leads as they start up business. While agents earn the most in commission dollars when they generate their leads themselves, a new agent may need to pay for someone elsea��s lead generation to begin to develop business. There is a downside to this approach, howA�ever. Agents can become complacent and sit and wait for leads. They wona��t generatea��until they get tired of paying for someone elsea��s leads.

A�Positives: You may be able to jump-start your career with leads given to you.

A�What to Watch For

  • Sit in on her team meeting to see how she manages the team.
  • Find out if and how the rainA�maker will train you.
  • Find out how much turnover there has been on the team.
  • Find out whether you can sell and list houses outside the teama��and how much the rainmaker would charge you if you did.
  • Read the contract the rainmaker asks you to sign and be sure you understand the consequences of your involvement.
  • Evaluate how good a leader that rainmaker is. Some rainmakers are great salespeople, but lousy leaders, and so their team never a�?jellsa��.

Generate your Own Leads, too?

Most team leaders ultimately expect their team members to generate their own leads, in addition to team leads. If you cana��t meet the rainmakera��s expectations, you are terminated. Be willing and ready to take the responsibilities of team member seriously.

Are You Helping Candidates Make the Best Business Decision for Them?

If you’re interviewing tons of prospective agents, you’re spending lots of time at it. Why not let Carla answer some of the most important new agent questions–and free you up to do a real interview? Check outA�my ebook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.A�

You’ll save lots of interview time and help the winners choose you!

3 men and women working at tableTrend: Teaming–advantages and disadvantages.

These trends are from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book. As a manager, read the thoughts on teaming and ask yourself, “Am I supporting teaming? Do I have enough control over my teams?”

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

What is ‘teaming’?

It is affiliating yourself with a a�?rainmakera�? agent, an agent who will deliver leads to you, for which youa��ll pay a portion of your commission. Youa��re teaming up with that agent to do the work that the rainmaker agent doesna��t have time to do. First, teaming doesna��t mean partneringa��two agents working together. If you join a team, you are working for that rainmaker agent.

Generally, agents who grow teams have been in the business at least a few years. Theya��ve developed a large business. To grow their businesses, they need to a�?duplicate and delegate.a�? So they hire assistants and buyersa�� agentsa��agents who work with buyers the rainmaker agent has generated. Many times they hire new agents and train them in their methods.

How Joining a Team Can Help a New Agent

Teaming helps agents obtain leads as they start up business. While agents earn the most in commission dollars when they generate their leads themselves, a new agent may need to pay for someone elsea��s lead generation to begin to develop business. There is a downside to this approach, however. Agents can become complacent and sit and wait for leads. They wona��t generatea��until they get tired of paying for someone elsea��s leads.

Questions to Ask the Rainmaker1.A� How many leads will I get per week?2.A� How do you manage the team?

3.A� How will you train me?

4.A� How much turnover has the team had?

5.A� Can I sell homes from my own leads, and what will you charge me?

6. Do you expect me to generate my own leads? How many?

Positives of teaming:

  • You may be able to jump-start your career with leads given to you.

Watch out for:

  • Be careful to choose a rainmaker who really has enough good leads to distribute to you.
  • Sit in on her team meeting to see how she manages the team.
  • Find out if and how the rainmaker will train you. Find out how much turnover there has been on the team.
  • Find out whether you can sell and list houses outside the teama��and how much the rainmaker would charge you if you did.
  • Read the contract the rainmaker asks you to sign and be sure you understand the consequences of your involvement.

Is he or she a leader?

Evaluate how good a leader that rainmaker is. Some rainmakers are great salespeople but lousy leaders, and so their team never gels. Most team leaders ultimately expect their team members to generate their own leads, in addition to team leads. If you cana��t meet the rainmakera��s expectations, you are terminated. Be willing and ready to take the responsibilities of team membership seriously.

* Big Idea: If they arena��t your leads, youa��re starting the real estate business all over again when you leave the team.

Question: Have you thought about joining a team? Or, if you joined a team, how did it work out?

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

bus-plan-6Checklist: Keys to being a great business planning coach.

This month, I’m focusing on business planning. I want every professional to have a great plan for next year. Look for checklists, processes, and systems, too, ready to use.

You’ve decided to coach your agents in creating great business plans. but, if you’ve never coached an agent in business planning, it can be quite daunting.A� So, what do you look for? In this blog, I’ll show you how to use their statistic

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

to coach them to a better year next year. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. Ita��s so important, because it

  1. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
  2. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
  3. Reflects the agenta��s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the officea��s productivity and profitability

Your success rate with listings sold is, in my opinion, the one most important reflection of agent value propositions out there.

For example: A�George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. A�Georgea��s a�?success ratioa�� is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about Georgea��s values proposition strategy? How is George a�?usinga�� his listings? Is that the culture you want perpetuated in your office?

Sally Overton has a different value proposition strategy. She has a 90% success ratio in listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. Obviously, she is building her referral systema��her raving fans. She is making herself more money in less time. She is drastically reducing the number of complaints (and attacks on her self-esteem, too). She is a role model for best practices in her real estate office. Is that practice more in line with your culture?

Your opportunity: As Georgea��s business planning consultant, youa��ll be a�?testinga�� George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being a�?bait and switchersa�� too much to change). Youa��ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

Do you know your ‘conversion numbers’ in listings taken to listings sold for your company? When you make your own plan, be sure to do a thorough review, and find this number. A high number means you’ll be able to recruit better, get better retention, have better team spirit, and your agents can build on that reputation. A low number means you have a lot to work on!

Click here for a list of common agent business planning mistakes to help you as you coach agents through the planning process.

Excerpted from my agent business planning system,A�Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

During this fast-paced webinar youa��ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didna��t work for youa��and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone elsea��s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive OnlineA�Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.