Here are the six steps to re-vitalize your culture. Do you need to do this? If you’re like most real estate companies, you may have made money during COVID, but you probably didn’t gain in culture. Why? Because you couldn’t bring them together. It’s all about relationships, and it’s time to put it back together, so your culture will be vibrant for the future.
Experience is the Best Teacher
I became manager twice in real estate offices that badly needed revitalization. From being on the firing line, I learned what worked. Then, I inherited a franchise region that was failing in all aspects. Following the steps below, I saw the revitalization work. Looking back on these experiences, I see that these were the steps I followed to imbue associates and staff with a sense of purpose and a culture that drove us to excellence.
Here are the six steps:
- Review your business plan. Make or polish your plan with your values/vision always in mind. Make your staff and leadership an integral part of polishing and reviving the plan. Stop/look/listen again. Who needs to get off the bus? If someone fights your direction, first attempt to get them engaged again. But, if you can’t, you must make a change. People resisting, even indirectly, will pull energy away from your direction and purpose.
- Bring people back together and re-solidify your team. Correct from isolation, fear, and indecision.
- Stress inclusion. Who is getting left behind? How will you include? You can’t force them all into the office anymore. Yet, especially for some businesses, your workers are relationship people. They thrive on getting and giving energy. Yet, merely more classes won’t get what you want. Instead of thinking about bringing people together to hear an expert, think in terms of choreographing experiences with like-minded people.
Here are some ways to foster teamwork and inclusion:
a. Work groups—special interest topics with actual work outcomes led for a few sessions with an experienced facilitator; target those in the middle who could benefit—and want to strive for more
b. Ambassadors—‘friends’ for those joining, so the agent new to the office doesn’t feel alone. Ambassadors should be culturizers and great representatives of your culture.
c. Optimize your leadership group. Be sure they have their own committee action plans that dovetail with the office plan
d. Team like agents for work in action-focused courses
4. Communicate values/culture
Give up on lecturing or be a rah-rah motivator. Real cultural communication comes from actions, collaboration, and celebration. Celebrate anything, anywhere, anytime. Create a ‘celebration specialist’ in your office. Have each celebration on a calendar. Set standards for numbers of celebrations and promotions. Your objective is to help raise your team’s focus from security to social to teamwork. (that Maslow hierarchy).
5. Tighten your cultural language
When we’re in crisis, we quit using our trusted processes, checklists and systems. We ‘dummy it down’, because we’re too stressed to carry out the details. Unfortunately, it’s those details, those branded processes, that make your cultural differences. So, review every process, checklist, and system you rely on for special events, awards, etc. (If you’re not using processes and systems, start now. They communicate your culture.
6. Communicate precisely
Have you reviewed your orientation, onboarding, language, and courses? They have probably been flattened to become generic. As you review, ask yourself, “Is this communicating the culture as I want it to be communicated? What do I need to update/polish/edit?” Don’t expect your staff to take this on without you. Hopefully, after you teach them, they can become culture warriors. But, for now, you are it!
When Is it Done?
Never. It’s not a one-time lecture or expectation. You’ll need to be resilient and persistent in revitalizing your culture. Re-check quarterly with staff/leadership, inspect your presentations, and keep working incessantly on communicating that very special culture you created.
Re-capture your vision and revitalize YOUR spirit. From re-building three real estate offices and a franchise region, I know these steps work.