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 Trends

This January and February, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary recorded A�webinar for leadership. See more below, too.

Yes, we real estate professionals are independent. We go into real estate to “be our own bosses”. We love to be “on our own”. In fact, in some offices, it’s become fashionable to say “we don’t need a team. We’re all entirely independent.” This shift to ‘on your own’ correlates to a shift in management from the autocratic style of twenty years ago (I’m the boss–follow the rules here), to the “operations” manager of today–providing the physical needs to work, and leaving the responsibility for the emotional needs of associates to someone else.

Which Way is the Shift Going Now?

Is the shift continuing? Is it good for the industry? Is it good for you, the individual salesperson? Should you isolate yourself from others to get the job done? Or, are we, by rejecting the idea of teamwork, working ourselves toward extinction? Perhaps successful businesses internationally have some value to us when it comes to this question. They see innovative ‘teaming’ as critical to their success in the twenty-first century. Lest we real estate professionals miss what may be a critical strategy for us, let’s take another look at ‘teamwork’.

A�Owners Reject the ‘Team’A� Concept

What do owners think about the ‘teamwork’ concept: When I was teaching a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) course on teamwork, I had some very interesting reactions and comments from students. About an hour into the course, a woman drew me aside, and told me that her company didn’t believe in teamwork. It was against the “culture”. She told me she hated teams. I was stunned at her vehemence, and found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the day’s curriculum. In addition, I had just rebuilt an office from “failing miserably” to spectacular, using teaming concepts.

What Did She Really Mean?

I asked myself, “Why did she have some an adverse reaction to that word?” Then, I remembered what she looked like, and had one of those ‘ahas’–those blinding flashes of the obvious. Remember when, in grade school, you picked sides for Red Rover Come Over? The good-looking athletic kids got picked first. The others shyly waited, anxiously hoping they wouldn’t be last, or worse yet, be the one the teacher ‘helped’: “Put Johnny on your side, please.” As I thought about those situations, all those depressive feelings came flooding back. No wonder that manager hated teams! In this time of lightning fast change, our emotions can stop us from investigating ideas that frighten us. Yet, it may be the very idea that you need for your business. As you continue reading, keep an open mind about this ‘team’ idea. It may be exactly what’s been missing in your moving from “just okay” to spectacular.A�

What a Team Isn’t

First, in the real estate industry, let’s clarify what we don’t mean today when we say ‘teams’. We don’t mean a bunch of people all being “pumped up”by a manager (or a salespeople, when you’re managing your own team), who resembles the cheerleader of the past. We don’t necessarily mean all the people in the office on one team at once. We don’t mean a lock-step mentality where one loses one’s independence. What we do mean is combining the talents of individuals so that we experience much more meaningful business lives.

A Definition of a TeamA�

A team is two or more people working on a meaningful task for a commonly shared goal, of common benefit to both or all members of the team. A team works well when the expertise of two or more people are more effective and efficient than each person working on his own. Because I’m a musician, I know the importance of teamwork in a musical ensemble. When I’m playing jazz piano with a bassist and a drummer, I must feel confident that we’re all together in this, that we’ll be sensitive to each other’s strengths and challenges, in harmony to produce the best version of that tune possible. There must be great interdependence on the talents of each of us, when such a goal is at stake. Yet, there’s great independence in the improvisations that we each bring to the tune. In the best team atmosphere, both interdependence and independence is nurtured and appreciated.

Do you have a team? Or, do you just have a group? In the next blog, we’ll explore the differences.A�

Leadership Strategies By the Month

A�Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effecctive? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.

 

This January and February, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary recorded A�webinar for leadership. See more below, too.

Is your leadership style ‘tell them what to do and expect them to do it’? It seems so easy. Youa��re the chairperson or manager. Just take charge, tell people what to do, and theya��ll do it. NOT. Ita��s just not that simple. At least, ita��s not that simple unless systems are already in place and people on the committee know what their tasks are.A�

Seven Truisms about Effective Participative LeadershipA�A�

It’s not enough today to be good at a traditional leadershp style. In fact, you have to really ‘turn your leadership style’ upside down to become effective. You must become a ‘participative’ leader. Here are seven truisms to help you flex your natural style toward more participation from your team members.

Truism #1: New chairpeople don’t know what’s expected of themA�

Just because people accept the title it doesn’t mean they know how to proceed with the job. Most people have never chaired a committee, so they don’t have the skills. It’s especially challenging when it’s a new task. They need to have clear direction, a job description, job responsibilities, and exactly who to go to when the job doesn’t get done.

Truism #2: People don’t know HOW to get it doneA�A�

Even when people know what to do, they don’t usually have checklists, systems, deadlines, and assignments to get it done; it doesn’t work to leave it to a person (95% of the time, the other 5% will figure it out on their own) to decide how to get the job done.A�

Truism #3: Myth: “Leaders are theA� “idea people” and arena��t supposed to get into implementation (someone else will figure out how to get the work done)A�

When leaders say that, they immediately put others into the a�?secretarya�? mode. Their mentality is, someone else beneath them should be able to figure out how to get that done. Thata��s a secretarial or assistanta��s job, isna��t it? But, your committee members dona��t work for you. They work with you. You cana��t expect someone to raise his hand and offer to be your assistant because you came up with the idea.A�

Truism #4: Verbal-type people resist processes and systems

There is a natural resistance in us (maybe especially in we verbal-type people) to organizing processes and systems. We love to talk about the idea. We don’t like to clarify exactly how that idea gets into process.

Truism #5: We ‘big idea’ people think we can delegate systemization to an assistantA�A� A�

Having worked with assistants for over 15 years, I have found that not true. Assistants need help in systemizing any process that YOU want done. They are good at systemizing their own processes–but not good at all at systemizing ours!A�

Truism #6: Leaders know committees take most of their time REPORTING to the larger group, not deciding on issues or processesA�

A mistake that committees make is to try to design processes within the large committee meeting. Instead, create task forces to report back quickly to you.A�

Truism #7: When accountability factors aren’t built in, things don’t get done.A�

This is a dicey issue, because you’re working with volunteers. Or, in the case of a real estate company, with independent contractors. At the same time, your association or business also expects the services and programs you promised. There’s a great difference between “do it the way you want” and expecting results and “do it the way you want” and let’s check how it’s going regularly.A�

Sharpening Your Participative Leadership SkillsA�

What truisms do you want to add from your experiences in leadership? What do you see of yourself in these truisms? How can these help you lead? What needs to be done inA� your leadership position to gain greater skills? These skills are learned over time, and the pay-off is an association or business that is a�?owneda�� by all those involved, with empowerment assured.

Leadership Strategies By the Month

 

Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effecctive? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.

 

A�

A�

A�

 

This January, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary webinar on Jan. 30 on leadership, trends, and what you should do about it! See more at the end of this blog.

In my last post, we talked about the differences in management–specifically maintenance management–and leadership. Now, let’s look at the specific things leaders do to move offices ahead. After I list them, ask yourself, “Would I describe myself as a leader–or a manager?”

What Leaders Do

It’s easy to say you are a leader. But, how do you know you really are? Here are several actions leaders take. After all, we can’t judge people from what they say. We must judge them from what they do.

1. LeadersA�initiate new programs that move them closer to their vision.

2. Leaders enlist others prior to starting a new program, to assure the whole team has input, judgement, and ‘buy in’.

3. Leaders look at their planners, and evaluate whether they started something new that week or month. Did they start something that was innovative, creative, fun, and team-enlisting? Was it connected to their vision and goals?

4. Leaders do specific actions that solve problems. For example, in my new series, 365 Leadership,A�I will provide specific strategies, with all the guidance and documents to implement them–one strategy per month. One of these strategies is the Listing PresentationA�Play-offs. What problem does this solve? The problem of unskilled agents taking over-priced listings. It also changes the culture of the company from ‘we take anything’ to ‘we are professionals who act in the best interests of sellers’.

5. LeadersA� don’t rest on their laurels. They don’t believe they ever ‘have it made’.

Look at 365 Leadership to see the topics that we address. There’s still time to become a part of this group. I’m excited to provide 12 new, immediately doable strategies for you. It’s low-cost (both the series and the strategies) and it will move you into leadership and toward profitability.A�A�

What do you think the difference between management and leadership is? How do you know you’re a leader?

Complimentary Leadership/Management Webinar

Join me on Jan. 30, from 1-2 PM PST for Leverage the Top Trends for Profits in 2012.A� We willA�explore the top real estate business trends for 2012 and beyond–and I will provide you specific strategies to not only manage to those trends, but to thrive because of them. This is a complimentary webinar. Space is limited, so register today.

Jan. 30

Time: 1-2 PM PST

To register:A�A�https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/306755846

 

This January, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary webinar on Jan. 30 on leadership, trends, and what you should do about it! See more at the end of this blog.

Check at the end of these blogs for those ready-to-use documents and checklists to put these ideas to work.

The guidelines of effective leadership have changed dramatically in the last thirty years. Top-down decision-making is out; participative leadership is in. Having no standards is out; standards-driven leadership is in. Everyone doing their own thing is out; mutual accountability and teamwork is in. Yet, as I look at real estate offices nationally, I see most leaders still leading as though it was 1970a��or earlier.A�A�

In fact, a new book by Morris and Murray, Game Plan: How Real Estate Professionals Can Thrive in Uncertain Times, names Need for Leadership as one of theA�trends for 2012 and beyond. Get this book. You’ll find some trends predictable–but some are not.

Compare and contrast. Leta��s look at four principles of effective leadership today. These principles have been proven effective again and again by huge companies internationally. They should be embraced by the real estate industry, which badly needs effective leadership in this challenging time:A�

  1. Vision-lead: Few companies have an articulated vision thata��s shared by all in the company. Fewer yet have leaders who have the fortitude to a�?do the right thinga�� (as stated in their vision), even if it means turning down a deal.

Example: When is the last time you saw a manager fire a top producer who acted unethically? How do managers treat customer complaintsa��especially if ita��s against a top producer? (Ask agents if they feel managers unfairly favor the top producers. Boy, will you get an earful!) In too many cases, the a�?leadera�� isna��t leading. The big loser long term: The company, because agents are de-motivated when they feel there is not a level playing field, and consumers will seek out new companies if they feel their complaints are not handled seriously. (read Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Porras and Collins, for stunning examples of vision-integrated companies.)A�

  1. Everyone is involved in the decisions: This is participative leadership, and ita��s the leadership style that is best suited to our real estate industry. After all, with independent contractors, we need strong organizational structures to pull people together. What percent of real estate companies have effective leadership councils, one of the attributes of participative leadership? In my teaching, Ia��ve found about 2%. What this means it that the vast majority of agents dona��t feel ita��s a�?their companya��, they dona��t feel empowered, and they arena��t very loyal. I will be writing blogs about participative leadership in January, so watch for them.A�

Leaders will be those who empower others. Empowering leadership means

bringing out the energy and capabilities people have and getting them to work

together in a way they wouldna��t do otherwise.A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� a��Bill Gates, fellow Washingtonian, founder of MicrosoftA�

As you read articles and books on leadership, you will find every successful company today has turned its hierarchical leadership upside down and/or flattened it to become inclusive, participative, and as some people term it– a�?spiderweba��. (read The Female Advantage, Sally Helgesen).A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 3. Standards-driven: During my presentation at a recent National Association of Realtorsa�� Convention, I asked attendees if they had productivity standards (minimum expectations) in their companies. Out of 200 attendees, three raised their hands. No wonder agents dona��t believe they must be a�?on the teama��, pulling their own weight in production.A�

In a recent study by The Ripple Effective of Negativity Leadership IQ, 87% of the 70,305 executives, managers, and employees interviewed said working with a slacker actually made them want to change jobs; 93% said it hampered their development or decreased their productivity. So, without standards, real estate leaders are de-motivating their good performers!A�

Herea��s what Roy Disney says about effective leadership, from the New Leadership Paradigm:A�

Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long-term constructive goals in a participatory environment of mutual respect compatible with personal values.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 4. Mutual accountability: Creating a participative environment suggests that everyone must be accountable to their goals. Ita��s just amazing that managers are frustrated by agentsa�� lack of business plans and accountability. Yet, as I coach managers, I find that many in each organization dona��t feel they need to be accountable to their recruiting goals. (In fact, only about 2% have written recruiting plans!). In addition, owners have not hired and coached them to standards, so the managers just want to a�?leave that part outa��!A�

What is the result of this leadership paradigm switch? A real team, a team with a common goal. Why is it in the real estate industrya��s best interests to adapt to this participative leadership style? To preserve the industry, maintain commissions, add a�?pride in belonginga�� back to the real estate company, and, most important of all, put the consumer first, where he belongs!

A�Do you have the attributes of a ‘change leader’?A�A�Click here.A�

A�In an earlier post, I talked about the 3 things change leaders do to impact the industry. See how you stack up here.

Complimentary Leadership/Management Webinar

Join me on Jan. 30, from 1-2 PM PST for Leverage the Top Trends for Profits in 2012.A� We willA�explore the top real estate business trends for 2012 and beyond–and I will provide you specific strategies to not only manage to those trends, but to thrive because of them. This is a complimentary webinar. Space is limited, so register today.

Jan. 30

Time: 1-2 PM PST

To register:A�A�https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/306755846

Leading with these 4 ‘change leadership’ attributes assures a future, thriving business.

 

 

 

 

 

This January, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary webinar on Jan. 30 on leadership, trends, and what you should do about it! See more at the end of this blog.

Check at the end of these blogs for those ready-to-use documents and checklists to put these ideas to work.

Look Outside our Industry for Leadership Examples

No one in the real estate industry would argue that we’re in turbulent, changing times. In this climate, many real estate owners and managers are looking to others inside the industry for the “answers”. Unfortunately, in times of great change, this may not be the best place to look for smart business moves that ensure a bright future. Instead, it may be more valuable to look outside our industry for adaptable strategies. Not onlyA� must we look for these strategies, we must identify the kind of leaders who have the personal initiative, commitment, and courage to lead the change–and, perhaps in some cases, the charge.

The leaders, the strategies, and the real estate examples. I decided to do just that–look outside the industry for leadership examples. I found several commonalities. Then, I related these leadership actions to real estate and found examples of that leadership in the industry.

Proven ‘Change Leadership’ Strategies

Here are three of the most important strategies that are assuring long-term profitability–and stability–in businesses. These strategies solve many of the critical problems in our industry, including low customer satisfaction levels, management disillusionment, and lack of common focus. Bottom line, these strategies have been proven to deliver long-term, unassailable profits through change:

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 1. Leading from your vision.Businesses today have found that It’s not enough to strive only for profits. Today, to be profitable, the values of the firm and its real purpose must guide business decisions. According to a recentA�A�A�study, firms who had a firmly company-held vision earned twelve times the profits of other companies! (Nordstrom was one). This means, for many real estate companies, it’s time to look at the behaviors of the “team” members and ask whether these behaviors reflect the values the firm says it has.

Disparities? If there’s a difference between stated values and real behaviors, change leaders must have the fortitude (that’s guts, in real language) to do something about it. Why? Leading with your values allows a company to project the kind of image the consumer trusts–and the agent values most highly. That’s money in the bank for recruitment and customer retention.A�A�

The new book,A�Game Plan: How Real Estate Professionals Can Thrive in Uncertain Times A�, names leadership as one of the huge trends for 2012 and beyond. The authors, Ian Morris and Steve Murray, urge real estate leadership to lead from vision–from their recruiting to their retention practices.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 2. Getting everyone in the firm “into management.” Businesses internationally are switching their management styles from autocratic to participative. They know that, with the radically-different profile of today’s worker, the old “my way or the highway” just doesn’t work (and neither does the ‘leave them alone’ school). The most successful businesses have created structures to share accountability and rewards. Real estate companies have been struggling with adversarial relationships which result in a tug-a-war on commission dollars. The answer lies in mutual accountability and sharing the management decisions. When all involved are focused on mutual goals, everyone profits. Change leaders must be willing to go through the challenging process of a management paradigm switch–from autocratic to participative. The pay-offs are in the ability to recruit real winners, and retain proven producers.

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 3. Marketing paradigm switch: From getting new business to keeping old business. Businesses internationally have discovered that chasing new business is a way to spend money they don’t have. To maximize marketing dollars, they’ve developed programs to keep the customer enthusiastically happy for a long-term, mutually-productive relationships. Real estate agenciesA�A�need to switch their emphasis from getting, getting, getting, to keeping, keeping, keeping. This means more mutual profits, better customer satisfaction, and a more pleasant consumer-agent relationship.

We Realtors wish our theme song were “On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever”. In truth, our approach today must be closer to “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”. Applying change leadership in this turbulent, “shakin'” climate while adapting proven innovative strategies to our business assures we lead the industry through change with confidence and success.

Want to know more about change leadership? See this blog.

Do you have the attributes and actions of a ‘change leader’? Take the questionnaire I created for you. Click here.

Complimentary Leadership/Management Webinar

Join me on Jan. 30, from 1-2 PM PST for Leverage the Top Trends for Profits in 2012.A� We willA�explore the top real estate business trends for 2012 and beyond–and I will provide you specific strategies to not only manage to those trends, but to thrive because of them. This is a complimentary webinar. Space is limited, so register today.

Jan. 30

Time: 1-2 PM PST

To register:A�A�https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/306755846