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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 vision

bus plan 7 teamNote: Through November and December, I’m going to help you and your agents with your 2018 business plans. You’ll find free documents from my online business planning system for agents and owners and an invitation to a complimentary webinar. Why not subscribe to my blogs and be sure not to miss a thing?

In my upcoming webinar on Nov. 29 or Dec, 6 (click here), I’ll discuss the three components of a real business plan that put the inspiration and motivation into a business plan: Vision, Review, and Mission. In this blog, we’ll discuss the first component–vision.

Is your business plan missing the vision component? Below is an explanation of why having a vision is so important to the success of your business plan. In fact, I believe the lack of vision in a plan leads to a demotivating and certainly uninspiring plan.

For you managers: I think helping your agents create an inspiring and motivating plan will remove their reticence at doing a plan.

Why Vision is Important

A few years ago, business professors, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, studied very successful companies to find out the differences between ‘stunning’ (high profits and highly regarded), and other like companies who were almost as profitable, but not so successful). They published the results in the best business book I’ve ever read, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

What did they find was the common difference between the highly profitable and merely very successful?

A common vision and values shared by every person in the company. 

Porras and Collins’ conclusion was that the desire for profits isn’t the main driver for profits. The focused and tenacious vision, shared by all in the company, was the biggest determinant for profits. 

Components of Vision 

Your vision is made up of your core ideology and your envisioned future.  

As you can see from the chart on the right, excerpted from my online business planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, your core ideology is made up of your core values and core purpose. If you look at your life, you’ll see that the things that inspire and motivate you are the things that adhere to your belief system. That’s what this part of the vision statement says about you.

Your envisioned future is made from a vivid description of this future, and BHAGs—big hairy, audacious goals. Those are goals five years out, that you really don’t think you can attain.

The Power of BHAGs

Surprisingly, as Porras and Collins found, when companies stated these goals, they actually attained them in three years! (Inspirational goals that are congruent with your core values and core ideology are powerful motivators!).

What Vision Does for Companies

Here’s Porras and Collins’s function of a vision statement:

Provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to progress toward.  Made up of core ideology and envisioned future.

Here’s an example of a vision of one of the book’s stand-out companies:

Our basic principles have endured intact since our founders conceived them.  We distinguish between core values and practices; the core values don’t change, but the practices might.  We’ve also remained clear that profit – as important as it is – is not why the Hewlett-Packard Company exists; it exists for more fundamental reasons.”

      John Young, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard

 How to Construct your Vision

How do you want to see yourself in this business? How do you want people to talk about you and your business after you retire? What values are most important to you? What ideology do you follow in your business?

Managers’ exercise.  To figure out what your core values are, imagine that you are opening an office on Mars. You can only take three agents with you on your spaceship. Name those three agents. What are the core values of these agents? Who in your office doesn’t exhibit those values? Why is he/she still with you?

Looking back: Imagine you are at your own memorial, watching from above. What are others saying about you? What’s most memorable about you?

Voicing those BHAGs

What is a great goal you would love to accomplish in your business, but really don’t feel it’s possible for you within five years? Write it right now.

Note: In the complimentary business planning webinar, we’ll be exploring vision and agents will actually write some BHAGS!

Why We Don’t Reach Those Lofty Goals

Is that goal that’s been eluding you congruent with your core values? What I mean by that is, does that goal feel comfortable to you? For instance, if that goal is that you’ll make two million dollars, and you don’t like the feeling of that much money, because your values are aligned differently, you just aren’t going to reach that goal. That, I believe is the reason many of us don’t reach some of our goals. Those goals aren’t in alignment with our core values.

Here’s what great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said about goal-value alignment:

You can’t consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.

Finding your Alive, Powerful Motivation

In my business planning system, I also provide another method to check your motivation.

Click here to get this document.

I’m convinced that we reach or don’t reach our goals based on the intensity of our desire, driven not by cold numbers, but by the warm emotion of aligned values and inspiring goals. Yogi Berra said it well:

Life is like baseball; it’s 95% mental and the other half is physical.

Plan_Act_CelebrateJoin Me Nov. 29 or Dec. 6 for My Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Let me help you inspire your agents to plan for 2018! I’ll even provide them 4 ‘assignments’ they will be doing during the webinar to get that plan completed! And, I’ll give you dozens of tips from the managers’ perspective, too. Sign up now, because space is limited. I want to help you help your agents have an exceptional 2018!

Click here for more information and to register.

training up stepsHow can you help your agents create a better future? In my best-selling book (the business start-up plan for the new agent), Up and Running in 30 Days, now in its 5th edition, I tackle lots of motivational, inspirational, and attitude challenges. I want to help you help your agents master the real estate business! Here’s an excerpt from the 5th edition, just out:

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

Creating the Future You Really Want

You have been in the business three weeks. {This excerpt is from week 3 of the 4-week quick start plan). Is your image of yourself different from the one you had when you started in this business? Successful performers have learned to create a completed picture of themselves as great performers—long before they are terrific performers. This helps them to predict the outcome of their efforts. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get there!

Seeing Yourself in the Future as You Want to Envision YOU

Lou Tice, the founder of Pacific Institute, calls this skill self-efficacy. It is the ability to create yourself as a finished product in your head and hold that image, even though no one in the outside world has a clue that you are going to end up that way. What a skill! This technique is practiced in karate. When our son, Chris, took karate lessons he first watched great performers—black belts—performing the katas (fighting moves in a format) and kumite (actual fighting). Then he envisioned himself performing each part of these moves—just like they did. Finally, he performed the moves for his coach, very slowly, practicing perfectly.

How Coaching Supports that Future Vision

Chris’s karate coach watched carefully to ensure that he was practicing perfectly. After he perfected each move in context, he practiced performing faster. This method of creating perfect performance paid off. He won many medals in national and international competition—even while experiencing great growth spurts. His developed skill of self-efficacy ensured that his mind would hold the picture of his perfect performance. This skill has proved to be invaluable throughout his life.

* Big Idea: To become a master of whatever you want, hold your future picture of yourself more strongly than your present reality.

Develop the Professional “You”

Take a few minutes in a quiet place by yourself. Imagine yourself as the successful real estate agent you intend to be.

What will you do?

What kind of recognition and power will you gain?

What affiliations will you make that reflect your ideal of yourself as a pro?

Create a movie with you as the star, complete with the movement, color, dialogue, tastes, and smells. Make it fun, exciting, and rewarding—in color. Play it over and over in your head 20 times a day for a month. Doing this will counteract your “growth spurts”—objections, barriers, negative self-talk, lost leads—as you start your career. You must develop some mental ammunition.

Remember, people treat you as they see you.

They can’t see the new movie you have created until you start acting it out. Even then, they will try to put you back into your “old movie.” It’s human nature. Unwittingly, we help our friends fail by not becoming supporting players in their new picture. You must have a strong movie to move yourself in the direction you want to go so that others can get caught up in the new action and let go of the old.

* Big Idea: Develop an ideal future “movie” of yourself, with color, sound, and feeling.

Managers and coaches: What skills do you have to help your agent become that agent you know he/she could be?

 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.

Dec
15

Can You Pass this Business Plan Exam?

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assignmentIn December, I’m featuring business planning. Suggest to your agents they check out Up and Running in 30 Days, my blog for achieving agents. I’ll provide lots of planning tips and free documents.

What should a business plan do for you? Appease your owner? (I’ve been there, so I know….) Or, should it actually provide you specific, day-to-day guidance about what to do to make your business thrive? If you’re a practical person like me, you don’t like to do ‘busy work’. You and I believe, then, that a business plan should have a practical application for every day of your business.

The ‘Business Plan’ Exam

Take this quick ‘exam’ to see how your business plan stacks up: (and give it to your agents so they can check their plans, too).

1. By going through your process of business planning, you get the ‘vision’ and mission principles to make the positioning, marketing, hiring, and termination decisions right for your particular business.        T                      F

Got that vision? Few business plans start with vision. This causes huge problems when real estate professionals try to implement—such as implementing a marketing plan.  A potential coaching client told me she ‘wasn’t very good at marketing’, and wondered how to get better. You can’t become a great marketer unless you have a very clear vision of who you are and where you expect your journey to take you. It all starts with a crystal clear idea of your vision, mission, and positioning in the market. Your business plan should contain these very important statements. Then, when you design an institutional marketing plan, you’ll be able execute your thoughts and feelings visually.

If your vision and mission aren’t well defined in your business plan, you simply have no solid foundation to make those tough leadership decisions.

2.  Your business plan starts with reviewing and researching the past year in all your business areas.                                             T                         F

Have you really reviewed your situation? If your planning ‘template’ doesn’t lead you through the analysis of key business statistics, you simply don’t know what happened. So, you can’t possibly make decisions for next year, because you don’t know whether to do it, stop doing it, or start doing something differently!

Example: In your office, what percent of your listings sold within normal market time? What was the percent of list price to sale price? Few business planning templates ask you to grab these statistics and analyze them. Yet, these are the statistics that directly point you to your strategies and tactics for the coming year.

3. Does your business plan have an ‘action plan’ area, so you can translate your yearly and monthly goals into daily actions—and actually schedule these actions?                                                      T                         F

No action plan means you just wasted a lot of time: I have seen so many business plans that only played on the ‘results’ playing field. Writing down the results you want are great, but if your plan doesn’t get down to where the rubber meets the road, (what you need to do daily), you simply are doing an exercise. In other words, you have to get past the ‘what’ and get to the ‘how’ and ‘how much’.

For example: You may say you want to increase your ‘sold’ listings by 25% in the coming year. How are you going to do that? Here are some possibilities for your action plan:

Through recruiting: Hire 12 listing agents that have demonstrated they list properties that sell quickly. That’s 1 per month. That’s 5 interviews per month. That’s 100 recruiting calls per month. Now, you can break that into weeks and days.

Through training: After researching each agent’s numbers of listings and listings to sold ratios, you are going to create and implement a high accountability training program to teach your agents the skills of successful listing. You will put your training series, which will be a series of four classes, presented 3 times a year, on a training calendar to hold yourself accountable to do them. (And, a calendar is a great recruiting tool).

4. Does your plan consist of integrated, ready-to-follow systems so you can delegate?

T                      F

Ever thought your systems WERE your plan? Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited, says that a business plan consists of the integration of your systems. Most managers and agents feel they are working too many hours. They want to be able to delegate specific duties. But, without systems and processes in place, delegation is impossible.

Is your Business Salable?

Pretend you wanted to sell me your business. I walk into your office. What systems do I see? What systems can I buy from you, so I don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’? What systems do you have that integrate and reflect your values in the overall way you do your business? If you don’t have systems in place that I can readily take over, I might as well start my own company!

How did you do on the ‘exam’? Here’s your opportunity to think through your business at a much deeper, more meaningful level. Doing so will re-motivate you, re-ignite your passion, and provide you some solid answers for next year.

Click here for an overview of what a leadership planning system should contain.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online program Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. All the instructional webinars and documents are online, and very easy to complete and implement. This is a program created exclusively for real estate owners and managers. And, when you purchase the manager’s package, you also get access to all the agent’s planning videos and documents.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Just did it with an enthusiastic group last week, and now it’s available to view–along with a PDF of the slides and more. See it here. Why not show it to your agents?

3 men and women working at tableI know you want to help your agents gain great business plans. So, here’s how to schedule your business planning process. I’m sharing some tips with you on initial scheduling for business planning and on-going coaching to a business plan. You’ll see the dates in the schedule below are in January, because this is from a live webinar series I did for a real estate company. It would be better for you to start the process sooner.  I’ll address on-going coaching in my next blog.

First, what doesn’t work:

Hand out the planning pages and say ‘have a nice day’.

Instead, you must have a schedule to assure the agent gets that plan written.

Scheduling an interview: When I’m teaching this as a course, or doing a webinar, I give the agents questions to interview their managers–questions that reveal what the managers foresee as strengths and challenges and trends in the marketplace and in their offices. See that interview scheduled below.

Here’s the schedule I’m giving to the leadership to use for their business planning process:

PDF how to get each of your agents a great business plan 1

 

This is just the first schedule. After the initial ‘help’, you must schedule individual appointments for the agent to finish his/her plan:

coaching appointment

 

Now, you’ve educated the agents about business planning. You’ve team ified and created confidence with your meeting. Finally, you’ve set appointments for individual coaching for the plan. In my next blog, we’ll discuss how to use the business plan for coaching all year, so you’re fully imbued in the success with each of your agents.

Plan_Act_CelebrateWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

 

Webinar coming up: Join Carla as she shows you how to make business planning fun, exciting, and creative–and get a GREAT 2016 plan.

When: Dec. 4, 1-2 PM Pacific Time (that’s 4 Eastern, 3 Central, and 2 Mountain)

Included:
The 3 critical components of a successful plan usually left out
How to make your plan truly YOURS, not someone else’s (that won’t work!)
What to STOP doing in 2016

What one thing will assure your plan works

And, much more!

If you’re a pro, if you want to create a fun, successful, fulfilling career, you need the right kind of business plan. Don’t wait to step up to the next level now. Join us!

Space is limited, so sign up now. This is a complimentary session, from Carla Cross, CRB, MA, who wrote the internationally published book on business planning, along with business planning courses for most of the major franchises. She’s tested her system ‘in the trenches’ with real agents–so she knows what works.

Click here for more information and to register. Get inspired to make a great 2016 plan!

____________________________________________________

Want Help in Getting your Agents to Plan? Why not contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

 

 

penguins focused on goalsDo you hate your business planning process? Here’s how to stop hating and start loving it! I’m focusing on business planning Nov. and Dec. Review all the blogs to get dozens of tips and docs to plan effectively.

It’s time to do that dreaded business plan. Here’s how to make it a love fest, not a drudgery.

It really can be fun….What if you could actually have fun making a plan—and know that the plan you made would at least double your profits for next year? Wouldn’t that be lovely? Having helped hundreds real estate professionals create plans, I’ve found an easy method to make that plan in no time. Better yet, I promise that plan will be a blueprint that will work hard for you.

We all talk about it. Few of us actually do it. Even less of us actually follow it! But, almost all of us know we should do it: make a business plan. Why do we resist? Why do we make plans (if we do) that gather dust on a shelf? I think it’s because it’s too cumbersome to make the plan. Most plans aren’t practical enough to follow. We’re going to change all that right now.

Why Your Planning Process Didn’t Work for You
Too many real estate professionals try to start planning by writing an action plan. (That should actually be the last step!). Instead, start your plan as I’ve outlined below. The surprising observation I’ve made is that it’s much faster and better to create the plan when you’ve done the preliminary steps. In fact, finding out the information below catapults you to your next year’s action plan—before you have a chance to question yourself. It assures you have a great plan, too. (And, it goes so much faster).

We’ll start with the first two steps. In my next blog, I’ll lead you through the next two steps. So, before you know it, you’ll be ready to polish the fine points of your plan.

Here are those first two steps:

1. Gather and analyze the important numbers. Gather last year’s numbers so you can analyze them quickly. (Best to have your secretary/assistant do this for you). These numbers should include the results that most greatly impact on your profitability: (You may have some other favorites. Feel free to analyze them):

a. Number of recruits/lead generation/appointment numbers
b. Net number of agents (how good were your recruiting/ retention efforts?)
c. Number of listings taken
d. Number of listings sold
e. Ratio of listings taken to listings sold
f. Number of sales
g. Balance/ratio of number of sales to listings sold
h. Expenses (what’s higher than your budget for the year?

What’s out of balance with your income and profitability? What can you change?)

Analyzing these numbers give you great big hints as to what you should do as an action plan next year. In fact, you’ll find it difficult not to think ahead to your action plan! (That’s a good thing!).

Your recruiting/lead generating plan for next year
Your retention plan for next year
Your training plan for listings next year
Your coaching plan for each agent/for you (balance of listings sold and sales?) (productivity)

Just with that first step, you almost have the action part of your business plan done!

2. Evaluating YOU. Rate yourself in the various skill areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc. For agents, that would be lead generation, lead conversion, presentation skills. Technology skills, etc.

Bonus Want some planning documents? See my October newsletter. I’m including 2 bonuses this month: an internal review for agents, and a manager’s skills review for leadership (great for those managing managers, too).

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Your Goal Deadline for These Two Steps

Holding ourselves accountable for what we want is very difficult! So, to help you, I’m going to ask you to create a target date to finish these two steps: Dec. 1. Why? So you’ll be ready for my next blog and the next two steps. This year: A fun, ‘got the love’ business plan! I promise you’ll stand out from the normal real estate pro who never gets around to getting one.

Plan_Act_CelebrateDoes Your Planning System Make the Grade?

If it doesn’t, check out my completely online, on demand system–one version for managers/owners, one version for agents. I’ll coach you through your plan, and provide you all the planning pages. For your agents: I’ll educate/train them in how to plan (so you don’t have to) AND provide them all their planning pages. This is a bargain, because you will have focus and direction for your company for 2016. Click here to learn about Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

Cincopa WordPress plugin

I’m focusing on business planning this November and December. If you’re not excited about making your business plan, watch Carla’s short video to get inspired!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Does Your Planning System Stack Up?

There are lots of free planning systems out there. How have they worked for you? Why not step up to a professional planning system, written by the only real estate trainer to have a book on business planning for real estate professionals published internationally. Check out Carla’s exclusive program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. It’s not just the planning pages–it’s a comprehensive ‘how to plan’ program to coach you to a great plan. Click here to find out more.

girl with inspiration sayingsFor a vast majority of real estate professionals, ‘business plan’ means writing down your goals. That’s just a small part of a full business plan. One of the most commonly left-out parts of a business plan is ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’. Do your agents know their purpose? Why are they doing what they are doing? During November and December, I’m blogging about business plans. Why not review all these blogs (including my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, and get inspired to help your agents grab great plans for 2016.

Do your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans? Why is having a mission important? How should it guide agents? You’ve heard the talks about finding your passion. But, you see your agents being over-whelmed in their careers. It’s just too much to think big when they’re  just trying to find that house or convince a buyer to work with them!

The Importance of Your Mission

This time of year, we’re encouraging everyone to create their business plans. One of the first things you’ll do in creating your own business plan is to define your mission. Why? Because, otherwise, you don’t know whether or not the actions you decide to take will fulfill your mission. This is also true of your agents.

Tackling and Bringing Down your Time Management Challenges

If agents have been in the sales business a little while, they’ve already discovered that their biggest challenge is time management.  How can they get done in a business day everything that needs getting done? That’s where your mission comes in. Creating your mission helps you prioritize all the things you’re supposed to do. It helps you decide what not to do. Most important, it helps you figure out

how to put YOU into your management and sales business successfully

Plan_Act_CelebrateGrab the Most Popular Planning Resources Exclusively for Real Estate Pros

Tired of dragging your agents kicking and screaming to a business plan? Take advantage of Carla Cross’s 2 decades of expertise. Carla teaches your agents how to plan AND you get all the planning pages. Piece of cake–and you’ll be more profitable in 2016! Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning here.

 

coaching hand upThis month, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends). 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.

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 1970—or earlier.

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 the big trends now.  Get this book. You’ll find some trends predictable–but some are not.

Compare and contrast. Let’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:

  1. Vision-lead: Few companies have an articulated vision that’s shared by all in the company. Fewer yet have leaders who have the fortitude to ‘do the right thing’ (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 complaints—especially if it’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 ‘leader’ isn’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.)

  1. Everyone is involved in the decisions: This is participative leadership, and it’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, I’ve found about 2%. What this means it that the vast majority of agents don’t feel it’s ‘their company’, they don’t feel empowered, and they aren’t very loyal. I will be writing blogs about participative leadership in January, so watch for them.

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 wouldn’t do otherwise. 

                                    —Bill Gates, fellow Washingtonian, founder of Microsoft

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– ‘spiderweb’. (read The Female Advantage, Sally Helgesen).

        3. Standards-driven: During my presentation at a recent National Association of Realtors’ 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 don’t believe they must be ‘on the team’, pulling their own weight in production.

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!

Here’s what Roy Disney says about effective leadership, from the New Leadership Paradigm: 

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.                       

        4. Mutual accountability: Creating a participative environment suggests that everyone must be accountable to their goals. It’s just amazing that managers are frustrated by agents’ lack of business plans and accountability. Yet, as I coach managers, I find that many in each organization don’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 ‘leave that part out’!

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 industry’s best interests to adapt to this participative leadership style? To preserve the industry, maintain commissions, add ‘pride in belonging’ back to the real estate company, and, most important of all, put the consumer first, where he belongs!

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

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

LM CoverAre You Ready for New Leadership Strategies?

Leaders have great instincts. But, they have great mentors and partners, too to give them confidence in those instincts. Is it time for you to get a mentor/partner/coach so you have confidence when you implement those ideas? Why not have a complimentatary consultation with Carla Cross to see if Leadership Mastery Coaching is for you?

girl with inspiration sayingsThis month, I’m focused on leadership….easy to talk about, challenging to do.

Leadership: Have you ever thought of your office as your orchestra, with you as conductor? As a flutist and music major, I played in exceptional orchestras and for great conductors all through high school and college.  I experienced how great conductors pulled the orchestra together as a team to create an awesome, inspiring, focused sound—the sound of one instrument.  You could think of this as a vision-focused team.

To do this the overall sound had to have been planned, practiced, nurtured, and led by the conductor—the leader with the end vision in mind.

Where’s the Real Estate Leadership Today?

The development of the orchestra by its leader is a good analogy to use to take a fresh look at how we lead, the things we encourage, and the actions and attitudes we tolerate.  After all, the broker/leader’s challenge is the same as an orchestra conductor’s: To create an atmosphere of common focus, shared values, and teamwork for mutual success.  So, for this blog, I’ll use the orchestral analogy to explore a common problem in real estate offices—negativity–a problem that I believe few managers consciously address well.

When an Agent Hears a Different Tune, Who is Really Leading?

A few days ago, a newer agent in another state who had bought my program, Up and Running in 30 Days, called me to ask this question: “How do I keep my spirit and motivation high when the agents in my office are so negative?”  This is not the first time I’ve been asked this question.  I hear it hundreds of times each year, as I talk to your newer agents and those experienced agents who are struggling.

Yet, I don’t think brokers realize the extent of this negative atmosphere—or the irreparable damage it causes. Worse yet, some brokers actually take actions—or allow situations–that actually ‘nurture negativity’. Why? Simply because they haven’t  thought through the ramifications of their actions as leaders.  How do I know this?  Brokers tell me various ‘solutions’ to their lack of common focus–solutions which really encourage negativity!

Rewarding Negativity Gets More of It….

Let’s take the problem of negative people in a real estate office. This is how many brokers ‘handle’ that problem.  They simply advise the new agent not to talk about business to Sally, Bill, or George, because they’re negative.  Oh, sure.  That’s like the orchestral conductor saying to the oboists, “Don’t listen to the flute section because they’re not playing it right.  Just listen to the clarinets.”  If the conductor did that, he’d have several different versions of the symphony going on.  Let’s get real.  The agent listens to whoever talks to him, because he believes there is only one orchestra in the office (what a thought)!  The manager, though, by her actions, is creating four or five!

They ‘Get’ The Tune and the Rhythm Every Day Intuitively and Automatically

We brokers delude ourselves that, by attempting to ‘segregate’ the agent’s conversations, the agent will hear only what we want them to hear, believe only what we want them to believe, and perform only how we want them to perform. Only in our dreams!

Why Look at the Problem?

Because a strong ‘negative motivation factor’ costs brokers money and wasted effort.  In teaching CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) courses, I’ve found that brokers estimate it costs ten to thirty thousand dollars to hire a new agent who fails in six months! I know you work hard at recruiting.  Doesn’t it make sense, then, to assure that the agent you recruit experiences the very best, most focused, team-oriented atmosphere available?

Your Turn

What have you found supposed ‘leaders’ do that actually inhibits reaching their vision? How do you avoid it and what positive actions do you take?

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Do you advise your agents to be coached? Do you want to coach them? Are they receptive? One of the things leaders do is to ‘do as I do, not as I say’. Have you considered getting a coach? Why not take part in our complimentary consultation to see if our Leadership Mastery Coaching is for you?  Click here to find out more and request a one-on-one consultation with Carla Cross.

 

Conductor with His OrchestraThis month, I’m focused on leadership. Why? Because it takes much more than management to move a real estate office (or any business) forward today.

Today, I want to concentrate on the similarity of a real estate office to a fine orchestra–and what we can learn from world-class orchestras. As a long-time flutist, I know an orchestra either played in harmony–or it didn’t. And, it only took one out-of-tune player to make the whole orchestra sound bad! Just as there are negative consequences to orchestras when even one player who play ‘out of tune’, there are also negative consequences to a real estate office whose associates are out of synch with leadership (and the right leadership).  So, let me take the analogy further.

There are three important lessons we can learn from the great orchestral conductors about leading for a productive, focused atmosphere with common values (which translates into more profits.)

Admittance Isn’t Free to Everyone…..

1.  To get into the orchestra is a privilege; you must audition.  Each player must meet certain standards if the orchestra is to succeed as a whole. So, selection is key to top performance.  That means, to the real estate manager, that we must be selective and set standards for hiring, so that the person hired will fit well into our common focus. If we hire Bill, Sally, and George, and them segregate them, we fracture our focus, and create a negative atmosphere that makes it extremely difficult for our new associate to perform well.

Each Person Must Constantly Strive to Improve

2.  Before the conductor allows the orchestra to play the piece together, each person and then each section must practice to perfect their parts.  Musicians know perfect practice insures perfect performance.  When we finally put all the parts and sections together, we also experience the whole as greater than the sum of the parts.  In the business world, we call the results of this practice method ‘teamwork’ and ‘synergy’. How does a real estate manager accomplish this in his office?  By establishing a strong, comprehensive new agent training program, focused on practice and performance, not focused on knowledge.  The training program is the ‘music’, complete with the values and concepts that are endorsed in that real estate office.  Each member agrees to and is trained that way.

The Leader Must Represent the Best Values of the Culture

3. The ‘first chair’ leader (the best player) has great responsibility for the teamwork and focus of his section.  He is charged with assuring his section plays as one and that each player plays well so all players benefit.  On solo parts, he can shine, but he still needs to play within the framework of his section and of the whole orchestra.  This creates a win-win for all in the ensemble.  The first chair must be a consummate leader.  There are actually many wonderful virtuosos who can’t play in orchestras, because they aren’t team players.  They want to ‘play it their way’—and their way is not the orchestra’s way.  Kind of like a real estate office, except, brokers, unlike conductors, many times allow solo performers in their offices even if they aren’t team players!  You brokers tell me that your top agent ‘does her own thing’.  I hear you say that she is ‘not a team player’, but she does make you lots of money.  Oh, really?  So, in what orchestra is that top agent playing?  Obviously, not yours! The lack of common focus and endorsement of maverick behavior by top producers only shatters any teamwork and shared values the broker is attempting to instill in his group.  So, make up your mind. If you want a team, create one with an all-winner group.  Banish your maverick player to someone else’s orchestra. The result: More production from your ‘section’ players, more teamwork, more common focus, and a more pleasant job for you!

What do you see managers do that unwittingly undermine their abilities to create a congruent team?

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It’s easy to talk about leadership. It makes you feel good. But, that’s not very productive. You must also engage in leadership ACTIONS. How can you learn, implement, and be confident in those critical actions? By engaging with a coach who can lead you as you lead. Why not find out if Leadership Mastery coaching is for you? Click here for a complimentary consultation.

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