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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.

Real Estate Leaders: Learn from the Great Orchestra Conductors


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?

LM CoverAre You Reaching your Potential as  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.

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