Monthly Archives: January 2018

  • -

Leadership: Creating a Climate of Trust

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

Our next conversation in the discussion of Leadership is the vital topic of trust. How do we create a level of trust in our organization which will propel us to the next level of production and profitability?  In his book, Captain Michael Abrashoff points out key steps to make this happen.  Below is how we recommend to apply this guidance and advice to our daily industry practices.

Once guidelines, procedures and best practices have been set, Leaders must have the courage of their convictions.  As a Leader (and this is tough) you must give away responsibility, stand back and allow others to be successful…or not.  Captain Abrashoff shares that trust is a king of jujitsu:  You must earn trust and you earn trust only by giving it.

Let that sink in for a moment.  You must earn trust and you earn trust only by giving it.

In our industry, where repeat and referral business is based on relationships and relationships are based on how well we perform…this could be a challenging concept to wrap our heads around.  Here is what we must embrace:

Never Pit Dog Against Dog.

We work in an extremely competitive industry where many survive, yet only the strong and savvy thrive.  It is because of this competitive spirit that often trust may be challenged.  Within your office or team internal bickering and back-biting should not have a place. This behavior creates a culture and atmosphere where few are motivated and both production and retention are negatively impacted.

When members of your tribe increase communication and stop questioning motives, trust thrives.  With greater trust, higher productivity is guaranteed.  Trust is much like your bank account.  Continuous, consistent deposits are required if you want trust to grow. Once your balance of trust is high enough, you can afford a few miscommunications and errors (as long as unintentional) and the Team will not be damaged.

Even the Worst Screw-Up may be Redeemable.

I’m often surprised by how many professionals confuse a mistake or an error with a tragedy. For me it’s quite simple.  A tragedy is death. Other than death, I have always lived and led by the belief that there is nothing in this life than cannot be resolved as long as all parties are willing to discuss and give a little.

People In your path have to see that you believe in them.  Trust is about allowing people to screw up and grow.  As a parent, we do this every day.  We allow out kids to grow, exercise their muscle of free will and make mistakes.  Hopefully, we mentor and guide them to better decisions with a lesson in why making better choices will benefit them and enable them to avoid confusion, disappointment and potentially harm.  What if we did this in business?  What if we gave others the permission to fail?

Not sure about you, but I’ve made many mistakes in life both personally and professionally. I’ve been the recipient of extreme grace.  What if we extend that?  What if we give those we work and serve with the permission to fail forward, grow and benefit from the experience?

Welcome the Bad News Messenger.

Bottom line, if you shoot the bearer of bad news, you will not find out about challenges until they are well out of hand.  You should be open approachable for both good and bad news.  A true climate of trust is one in which all participants are willing and open to deliver news to the Leader regardless of the nature of its content.

Protect Your People from the Lunatics.

While there are many differences between the military and civilian life and business, one thing that is in common is that lunatics abound!  As a Leader, it is important to protect your people from as much of the crazy as possible.  The best way I have found to do that is to develop and implement strong processes, procedures and systems.  This includes not only “how” to do things, but what to say.  Scripts and dialogs are critical for each practicing professional to adopt and utilize.  If you have trusted systems and procedures (including spoken language) they protect you and provide a safe boundary or border between you and the lunatics.  A great Leader will help you design, and then hold you accountable to, a system that protects both your personal and professional reputation.

Trust Always Makes Money.

For the past million years (that might be an exaggeration), NAR has conducted a survey of consumers and asked, what is the greatest characteristic you need to see when selecting a REALTOR®?  For the past million years (or there about) consumers have responded with the same characteristic.  Trustworthy.  Enough said.

As move onward in the exploration of Leadership and how we dominate the market and industry by serving at a higher level, trust is essential.  Remember, it’s a bank account…deposit often.

Be a resource, not a sales pitch.

  • -

Communicate with Purpose and Meaning

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

As we move forward in the leadership lessons of Captain Michael Abrashoff of the USS Benfold, we leap into the discussion of communicating at a higher level.  When we communicate with both purpose and meaning, we have the opportunity to transform our business and create the culture of an elite school, a lively church, a winning team, or best of all, a sustainable, profitable business.

Captain Abrashoff believes the secret of leading a ship, managing a company or developing a team is the responsibility of the Captain.  You must articulate a common goal which inspires a diverse group of individuals to work together.  Here are the four steps to communicating with purpose and meaning:

Share Your Vision

  • Create and map out the blueprint
  • Communicate each person’s role and responsibilities, including expectations
  • Keep everyone well informed at all times
    • Celebrate publically and criticize confidentially
    • Share all facts (status) including the good, the bad and the ugly
    • Change frightens people and fear thrives in silence

Avoid Clogged Channels

  • Know the flow of your business
  • Seek models and systems which will provide measurable results
  • Embrace accountability to stay in the flow of healthy communication
  • While you don’t want to work “out of vision” and off the blueprint, you must be willing to make modifications and even pivot if necessary as needed

Encourage Freedom of Speech

  • Be open to hear other’s ideas, suggestions and how their recommendations might create positive change
  • Be open to criticism
    • When people know you are open to criticism, they open themselves up and dramatic improvements may occur
  • Encourage happy warriors among your tribe by allowing them to speak up!
  • We are not suggesting you give your power away, only that you listen aggressively and consider the potential outcome of new and progressive thoughts and ideas

Create Your Brand and Defend It

  • Every action you take, every decision you make, every system you implement, every process, procedure, benefit, tool and resource you provide, becomes your Brand.
  • Honor the work you do by holding fast to your vision, your goals and your big why as it becomes your Brand.
  • Know every decision you make impacts your reputation, which is your Brand
  • Be steadfast and intentional in a way that consistently builds your legacy as it is your Brand

Communication is such a vast, interesting topic.  Just think about how far we’ve evolved since drawings on cave walls, right?  Progress?  Maybe.  In a world that is now so instant, yet impersonal…we need to model and practice clear, concise communication skills.

The old model of leadership was about control.  Many felt that by keeping others in the dark they held the control.  In fact, that element of secrecy may spawn isolation not success.  Knowledge is power, yet please consider that you do not have all the knowledge all the time. The new model of successful communication supports collaboration and transparency.

Go!  Lead and communicate with purpose and meaning.  Be a resource, not a sales pitch!

  • -

Shhhh…Did you hear that?

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

We live in a world and work in an industry that gives endless opportunity to serve and make a difference every day.  As we launched this series last week with the Leadership Lessons of Captain Michael Abrashoff, we discussed an overview of leadership.  This week we will consider the art of listening.

As we come off the day of celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, we examine an example of another great leader.  We are reminded that “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.” Dr. King served with talent and passion.

The common thread of these two great leaders is the ability to listen aggressively and respond appropriately.

One of the most under-developed of the 5 senses Is the sense of hearing.  As you well know, my belief is that listening is an art. In our daily lives, and especially business, the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of being present and aggressively listening.  When we focus on what is being said vs. how we are going to respond. The dynamics change significantly, and change occurs.  Change for the positive!

Captain Abrashoff believes in the following 3 practices.  I believe when we adapt these beliefs from the military and apply them to our profession we can move forward and achieve growth beyond our dreams.

See the Ship thorough the Crews Eyes:

I’m certain that you have to surround yourself with worthy, intelligent and hardworking people. (If you have not, seek immediate change.)

  • The greatest opportunity to improve both your professional and personal lives is to learn from those who surround you.
  • See your business through the eyes of others.  Allow them to introduce great insight to how to improve and generate greater business, both efficiently and effectively.
  • Ask colleagues what they need more of and less of to be more productive.
  • Ask them if they were in charge for a day, what changes would they make.

Find Round People for Round Holes:

Develop your listening skills to the degree that you identify the needs and ensure that the right people are in the right position.  This is not limited to your staff and Team.  This also relates to buyers and sellers.  Ask questions that motivate, inspire and allow others to self-discover where they need to be.

Use the Power of Word Magic:

It is extremely important in the development of your aggressive listening skills to “hear” the voices inside your own head.  Yes, we all have them.  Sometimes they are even in harmony with your goals, yet often they create disruption and confusion.  As you listen, make sure that the self-talk that you are hearing is positive and supportive.

We only have the ability to think positive or negative.  Did you realize, as humans, we are incapable of thinking both at the same time?

Make the right choice.  Choose positive, healthy, and supportive language and individuals to fill your life.  We are exposed to enough negative.  Shield yourself from hate, judgement, and destructive communication and activities.

Remember, everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.  To listen is one of the greatest acts of service available.  Listen aggressively and choose to be a resource, not a sales pitch.

  • -

Follow the Leader

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

In a world full of instant impressions, overload of social interaction and fake everything, leadership is more important than ever.  Honestly, the real estate industry is starved for it.

Historically, military leaders set the course and show us how it should be done! That could not be more true of Captain Michael Abrashoff as he took command of the USS Benfold.  The Captain was assigned to the worst ranking ship in the US Navy and through following the method we will highlight over the next series of Blogs, he turned it completely around resulting in being ranked the highest performing ship!  Abrashoff did this by being the leader others wanted to follow.

In the real estate industry those who set the example and live the life of leadership, both professionally and personally are easy to find and very easy to follow.

As you evaluate your business model and review your business plan for 2018, let’s embrace the role of being the leader that others follow wholeheartedly.  These are 5 Steps to consider when Leading By Example:

1.  Evaluate your Leadership Skills:
In this industry, we are constantly being evaluated.  Our production, our customer service, our professionalism and how we treat others…all others.  First things first, get out the mirror and take a comprehensive look at yourself.

  • Look inside and conduct an honest, self-evaluation to discern your leadership skills and how you attract others to follow you
    • What do you provide that sets you apart from all others?
    • Why would someone choose you?
  • Evaluate your level of preparedness
    • Are you prepared to meet your 2018 goals?
    • Do you have the tools, support and resources available to hit your goals?
    • What do you need more of, what do you need less of?

2.  Never underestimate your effect on people:
This applies to all levels of all businesses.  It is critical to treat others with the respect and care they desire…not deserve.  If we want repeat business and to work at a level that referrals are about relationships, this is critical.

  • Leaders must understand the profound affect they have on people
  • Optimism and pessimism are equally infectious
  • Leaders set the tone and spirit of all those around them
  • People may forget what you say, yet they will not forget how you make them feel

3.  Get to know those you serve and those who serve you:
One of the fundamental keys to Captain Abrashoff turning the ship and obtaining the remarkable results he did, was that he intentionally got to know each Sailor on the ship at a deep, personal level.  Why had they joined the Navy?  What was their “Why?”  What he quickly discovered was that many had been assigned to a task they had neither passion nor talent for.  The relationship he fostered developed, he re-assigned the talent and the results came.

  • Exceptional leaders take the time and trouble to know their people
  • Know your people at a 7-level depth so that you may anticipate needs and serve at an extraordinary degree
  • Be intentional with communication
    • Listen aggressively
    • Speak with clarity

4.  Know how to be held accountable:
Embrace accountability at the highest possible level!  It is much easier to hold others accountable when you are performing at a high level of accountability.  Risks shrink, performance goes through the roof.  As a Coach, I will always be coached.  Personally, I am conflicted holding others accountable if I am not being held accountable to my personal goals and vision.  Coaching is key for me.

  • Develop a culture which allows people to openly acknowledge mistakes, take responsibility and move ahead through accountability
  • Avoid the blame game
  • Designate an accountability partner and allow yourself to be held accountable
  • Hire a Coach

5.  Obey and follow the course, even when you disagree:
As our industry changes and new policies, procedures and players enter the game, it’s important to remain compliant and follow the rules! Even when we know a better way which may be more effective and efficient, we must remain within the guidelines provided for us.

  • With your business plan and goals, stay true and follow your course of action
  • Evaluate your progress often and adjust and modify as needed, yet remain within the agreed upon boundaries, guidelines and rules of real estate
  • Within your business plan, what do you need more of? What do you need less of?

Make 2018 your best year ever through leadership.  Be a resource, not a sales pitch.

  • -

Leading our Way Into 2018

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

As we launch into a New Year with amazing expectations, plans, and strategies, I’m delighted to introduce our Q1 blog series based on the leadership theories and the principles of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold.  His leadership story has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. I’m pleased to feature his story and tie the ribbon around how it applies to the real estate industry.

When Abrashoff took over as commander of the Benfold, it was ranked at the lowest possible place with the Navy.  The ship provided extremely high technology with extremely low results in productivity.  Sound familiar?  Realizing that the responsibility rested on his shoulders, he recognized his own leadership skills had to be honed and improved before he could improve his ship.  Within months, significant changes were made which resulted in confidence and change.  The slogan on board soon became “It’s Your Ship” and the Benfold soon became the best damn ship in the Navy.

Our opportunity is to take Abrashoff’s principles and incorporate them into your daily activities, hold you accountable and provide the conduit for you to make the changes needed to gain confidence and create change.

Over the next 10 weeks, we will take a deep dive and explore the secrets needed to elevate your “ship” or business and take it to the next level.  The secrets which will be revealed and explored include, yet are not limited to:

  • Lead by Example
  • Listen Aggressively
  • Communicate with Purpose and Meaning
  • Create a Climate of Trust
  • Look for Results, not Salutes
  • Take Calculated Risks
  • Go Beyond Standard Procedure
  • Build Up Your People
  • Generate Unity
  • Improve Your People’s Quality of Life

At the time I read this book, I literally drank in each principle.  Personally, for me, it was life and career changing.  I hope you will walk away motivated, inspired, and compelled to make the changes needed in your business to take you to the next level.

Like Captain Abrashoff, we will be a resource and not a sales pitch.

Recent Posts