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Archive for vision

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 1970a��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.A� 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:

  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.)

  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.

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 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– a�?spiderweba��. (read The Female Advantage, Sally Helgesen).

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.

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!

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��!

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!

Do you have the attributes of a ‘change leader’?A�A�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 forA�great conductorsA�all through high school and college.A� I experienced how great conductors pulled the orchestra together as a team to create an awesome, inspiring, focused sounda��the sound of one instrument.A� 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 conductora��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.A� After all, the broker/leadera��s challenge is the same as an orchestra conductora��s: To create an atmosphere of common focus, shared values, and teamwork for mutual success.A� So, for this blog, Ia��ll use the orchestral analogy to explore a common problem in real estate officesa��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: a�?How do I keep my spirit and motivation high when the agents in my office are so negative?a�?A� This is not the first time Ia��ve been asked this question.A� I hear it hundreds of times each year, as I talk to your newer agents and those experienced agents who are struggling.

Yet, I dona��t think brokers realize the extent of this negative atmospherea��or the irreparable damage it causes. Worse yet, some brokers actually take actionsa��or allow situations–that actually a�?nurture negativitya��. Why? Simply because they havena��tA� thought through the ramifications of their actions as leaders.A� How do I know this?A� Brokers tell me various a�?solutionsa�� to their lack of common focus–solutions which really encourage negativity!

Rewarding Negativity Gets More of It….

Leta��s take the problem of negative people in a real estate office. This is how many brokers a�?handlea�� that problem.A� They simply advise the new agent not to talk about business to Sally, Bill, or George, because theya��re negative.A� Oh, sure.A� Thata��s like the orchestral conductor saying to the oboists, a�?Dona��t listen to the flute section because theya��re not playing it right.A� Just listen to the clarinets.a�?A� If the conductor did that, hea��d have several different versions of the symphony going on. A�Leta��s get real.A� The agent listens to whoever talks to him, because he believes there is only one orchestra in the office (what a thought)!A� 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 a�?segregatea�� the agenta��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 a�?negative motivation factora�� costs brokers money and wasted effort.A� In teaching CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) courses, Ia��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.A� Doesna��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?

small LM CoverGetting Ahead in Leadership Faster

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?A� 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).A� 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.A� To get into the orchestra is a privilege; you must audition.A� Each player must meet certain standards if the orchestra is to succeed as a whole. So, selection is key to top performance.A� 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.A� Before the conductor allows the orchestra to play the piece together, each person and then each section must practice to perfect their parts.A� Musicians know perfect practice insures perfect performance.A� When we finally put all the parts and sections together, we also experience the whole as greater than the sum of the parts.A� In the business world, we call the results of this practice method a�?teamworka�� and a�?synergya��. How does a real estate manager accomplish this in his office?A� By establishing a strong, comprehensive new agent training program, focused on practice and performance, not focused on knowledge.A� The training program is the a�?musica��, complete with the values and concepts that are endorsed in that real estate office.A� Each member agrees to and is trained that way.

The Leader Must Represent the Best Values of the Culture

3. The a�?first chaira�� leader (the best player) has great responsibility for the teamwork and focus of his section.A� He is charged with assuring his section plays as one and that each player plays well so all players benefit.A� On solo parts, he can shine, but he still needs to play within the framework of his section and of the whole orchestra.A� This creates a win-win for all in the ensemble.A� The first chair must be a consummate leader.A� There are actually many wonderful virtuosos who cana��t play in orchestras, because they arena��t team players.A� They want to a�?play it their waya��a��and their way is not the orchestraa��s way.A� Kind of like a real estate office, except, brokers, unlike conductors, many times allow solo performers in their offices even if they arena��t team players!A� You brokers tell me that your top agent a�?does her own thinga��.A� I hear you say that she is a�?not a team playera��, but she does make you lots of money.A� Oh, really?A� So, in what orchestra is that top agent playing?A� 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.A� So, make up your mind. If you want a team, create one with an all-winner group.A� Banish your maverick player to someone elsea��s orchestra. The result: More production from your a�?sectiona�� 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?

LM CoverAre You Reaching your Potential asA� Leader?

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.

coaching hand upFrom working with dozens of real estate owners and managers, and as my position as a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for twelve years, I’ve had an opportunity to see exactly what makes a company profitable–in the long run. So, this month, I’m sharing what I’ve found to be the critical pieces of the puzzle that lead to sustainable profits. I’ll spotlight the 4 foundations you have to have to be exceptionally profitable–no matter your economic model. Actually, I’ve come to these foundations by observing how companies fail to be profitable over a period of time without these four foundations. In each of these blogs, I’ll spotlight one foundation. The first is

Vision–do you know where you want to end up, and have you communicated it and gotten the team on board?

The second,A� is standards. Do you know what you’ll put up with–and what you won’t? Do you have production standards (the minimum someone can do and stay with you….)

If you don’t have those foundations, you aren’t leading. You’re just managing. And, in a fast market, you can get away with that. But, if market conditions aren’t sweeping your office forward, you need to step up to these 4 leadership foundations.

The Third foundation: Accountability

You can have vision and standards, plus goals–but, if you don’t hold yourself and others accountable to them, nothing changes.

You’ve heard all this before (or you’ve said it): a�?I dona��t need a coacha�?. a�?Ia��m accountable to myselfa�?. And, you should be. But, none of us are able to move forward and break through those barriers to achievement at times–without a coach to be accountable to. How do I know that? As a long-time professional musician, I know that we need someone to show us around our barriers. We need someone to help us set those goals AND move toward them.A� No great performer ever is so naA?ve to believe he can coach himself. You just can’t see what you’re missing! Look what happened to Michelle Khan, the ice skater, when she decided she could coach herself? A downward spiral, which resulted in lowered self-confidence and self-esteem. It was a long climb back for her, too.

Deadlines to Get it Done

The biggest plus of having a coach is that the coach sets deadlines with you for accountability. The second biggest plus is that the agent/client gets the positive reinforcement all motivational studies show is absolutely critical for higher goal attainment. If you want your agents to produce more, hold them accountable for that production. The third plus is that the coach offers suggestions in how to get there and reinforces what he/she knows will work. So many times, I’ve thought intuitively that a particular strategy was right. But, I gave it up because it wasn’t reinforced by a coach (or by anyone). And, it takes a long time to see your efforts work (just think about recruiting!).

Your Biggest Value to Your Agents

What do you think it is? It’s not things. It’s actually invaluable. It’s what you can do to help them develop the best career they can have. And, that is through coaching and accountability.

How do You Learn How to Coach?

Be coached by the right coach–a coach who has proven that specific leadership/action strategies will work for you. It’s important not to get just platitudes or encouragement, but to get practical actions that are proven to move a company forward.A� If you don’t have a coach now, you’re telling your agents to be accountable–but you’re not. So, consider gaining a coach this year to help you put these foundations in place.

LM CoverAre You Developing your Leadership Skills?

If you’re stuck in management and want to move to leadership, if you want to expand your office with a firm foundation for long-term profits, consider coaching. Sign up for a complimentary consultation to see if Leadership Mastery Coaching is for you.