Monthly Archives: February 2018

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Build Your People Up

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

In his book, It’s Your Ship, Captain Michael Abrashoff states that in his opinion, leadership is somewhat easy.  It’s mastering the art of doing simple things very well.  Okay, sit with that for a moment.

Leadership is mastering that art of doing simple things well.  May we add consistently and transparently?  When we do so authentically, we are strengthening our position by allowing and empowering others to do their job well. Once that occurs, not only does production improve, yet so does morale and energy.

As simple is not always easy, let’s highlight what it takes to lift people and truly build them up.

Little Things Make Big Successes

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  This is what the Captain practiced each day and what we encourage you to incorporate into your daily mantra.  It’s the small things that have the greatest impact.  Hand-written notes, a handshake, taking one moment out of your busy schedule to be wholly present for those around you.  Imagine how that might significantly change and intensify each relationship that you have.

With technology pressing us to have less one-on-one time and more “instant” everything that is a text or a swipe, the art of heart to heart communication is at risk.  We challenge you to do one small act of kindness each day and be aware of the difference it makes.

Trust People. They Will Usually Prove You Are Right.

Like combat, business success is often about readiness. As discussed in previous Blogs, readiness is about listening more than commanding.  When you listen and trust people to do their job, their performance, ownership and overall command of your business might surprise you.  Allow competent people to do their job.  Encourage failing forward.  Encourage going out on a limb. Trust.

Newbies are Important. Treat Them Well.

The greatest gift we can give those new to the industry is the greatest path to success. We do that by not allowing assumptions and notions to rule. We do that by providing a solid, detailed learning path to provide a solid foundation of fundamental business and sales practices.  When we couple a solid learning path with accountability, we empower others to reach their goals.  I am personally convinced that the reason our churn rate is so high in real estate is not the fault of the apprentice…it’s the negligence of the Broker/Brokerage.   Too many talented individuals joined the right industry with the wrong company.

Be the Rising Tide That Lifts All Boats

Honestly, real estate can be a hard business. I know many (including myself) who have been battered and bruised not only by the state of the market, yet by those who surround us in what should be a non-hostile environment.  There is nothing worse than being blindsided by “friendly fire” within your own office or brand.  As a leader, the antidote for “friendly fire” lies in making each person you contact feel valued and appreciated. Even if you have to fake it.  Do it.  You just don’t know what the other individual may be going through.  Your positive attitude may indeed serve as the “rising tide” to lift their spirits and your reputation of service.

Expect the Best from Your Crew. You Will Get It.

One of the principles I try to lead by is #5 of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”  Encouraging people to participate at an open, meaningful level (and this includes co-workers, buyers, sellers, church members, students, family and friends) is to understand and appreciate them as individuals.  Transparently.

As a Coach, nothing is more moving and inspirational than helping someone to identify and own their big “Why.”  To discover not only the motivation, yet who will be and how they will be impacted by the success of the professional is no less than amazing.  Dig deep.  Allow others to set incredible expectations and plan to celebrate when success is achieved.

Build A Strong, Deep Bench

We must consistently work to serve the next generation.  Whether it be the next generation of buyers and sellers, Realtors®, leaders or staff.

In real estate, it is wise to constantly build the team and keep your sales force strong by nurturing your next generation of stars.  Train them up and hold them accountable.  Instill courage and confidence.  No one did this better than Dean Smith of University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (sorry, got to let a little of my light blue pride leak out) as Coach of the Tarheels.

Coach Smith was famously known for his “Blue Team,” which was his second string.  He would masterfully take his entire first string off the court and reload with his bench.  Sometimes it was an act of discipline (which was never pretty), yet more often, it was to simply park the first string to provide the opportunity to rest their legs, catch their breath and absorb a bit of coaching wisdom. This act of sweeping change caused amazing reactions and sent strong messages:

  • To the first string, that you can be replaced in one blow of a whistle
  • To the bench, that you are appreciated and competent
  • To each individual on the bench, that they are potentially Carolina’s next star
  • To the opponent, to be prepared for potential dominance by a well-rested first string

Now keep In mind, it was not the expectation of the Blue Team to build a huge lead, yet rather to hold the opponent at bay.  To run the court and exhaust the opponent while the first string rested.  Yet each player on the hallowed Blue Team understood, he was next.  Their position on the team ensured them that Coach Smith had confidence and trust that they were worthy of first string action at any given moment.

Your business model should include a “Blue Team.”  Leadership delays the process, but Realtors® are constantly moving.  Think about that for a moment.  Are you nurturing and investing in tomorrow’s leaders and building your bench?

Counsel Continuously—and Honestly.

We’ve referenced four great leaders in this Blog.  Maya Angelou, Steven Covey and Dean Smith and of course, Michael Abrashoff.  One common trait and characteristic of all three is their willingness and commitment to invest in others.  Investment in the whole person.  Listening aggressively, advising compassionately and communicating authentically with great clarity.

Build your people up.  Be a resource, not a sales pitch.

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Take Calculated Risks

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

Ahhh…. I must admit, I love this leadership lesson.  I must admit, I love those who are willing to crawl out on a limb and risk all for the chance to improve the cause!   Yet unfortunately, in many industries, taking a risk can put your career in danger.  However, an organization with the objective to remain alive, vital and strong should praise and promote risk-takers and those willing to speak up.  Even and especially if they fail once in a while.  Show me someone who has never make a mistake, and I’ll show you someone who is not willing to do a darn thing to improve the industry or the organization.

Captain Michael Abrashoff provides great insight and wisdom from his view as Leader of the US Navy’s USS Benfold.  Let’s see how we might apply his principles of leadership to our industry:

Bet on the People Who Think for Themselves

If you only give orders, then all you will attract and retain are order-takers.

There is such power in that simple statement.  How do you want to run your organization? Do you want to be known as the Leader who gave others a chance to shine, build a legacy and created better ways with greater results?  If so, get out of the way.

Here is what I have learned in my career and life.  It might be a challenge to find someone who will out-work me, yet it has never been a challenge to find talent smarter than me. The challenge has always been for me to get out of the way and allow their brilliance to shine and create a new path.

True growth was achieved when I realized that my way is not the only way, and absolutely not always the best, most efficient or effective way to get the job done.  That wisdom was only gained by finding talent with the ability to think and the courage to take the actions needed to get the work done!

Take A Chance on A Promising Sailor

With the churn rate in our industry being 80% (for clarity—only 2 out of 10 REALTORS who come into the industry make it), you can see why leaders of organizations are hesitant to invest time, energy and finances in those new to the industry.  We believe the key word in this equation is “promising.”

Set your filter high in discerning what talent looks like.  Use great interview questions to discover hints to success based on previous activities and experiences.  Once you’ve make that decision, give them your best.  Invest, mentor, and for goodness sake, hold them accountable to their actions.  Much of our industry is activities based.   Look for those with a passion and appetite to hunt, not a tendency to gather.

If a Rule Doesn’t Make Sense, Break It

Please exercise caution here.  We are not referring to any activity that will jeopardize your license, risk your career or reputation.  What we mean is simple.  Just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” does not make it best.  Challenge process and procedures.  Look for new ways to serve and represent your industry while delivering extraordinary service and an unforgettable experience to the consumer.  Whether that be your agents, your buyers or your sellers, work to create an opportunity to build your business through referrals and amazing relationships.

If A Rule Doesn’t Make Sense, Break It Carefully

Carefully, methodically and measurably.  Document what works and what does not work.  Strive to always better yourself, your business and the experience you deliver.  With over 85% of consumers reporting that they would use us again and less than 20% doing so…what are we missing?  We are not following the rules of engagement and follow up.  How do we do that?  One relationship at time with great systems and consistency.

Break apart the rules of engagement and put them back together with consistency and intention to be their Broker/Agent until you are their Broker/Agent…

Above all, be a resource, not a sales pitch.

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Look for Results, Not Salutes

Category:KB Consulting Solutions

Wow.  Just wow!  For the real estate industry, this topic of leadership could not be timelier. We’ve just completed one week of vying for #1 in the industry.  Kudos to all the participants, kudos to all who contributed and congratulations to Keller Williams.  The right results will lead to amazing salutes.

How do you get there? As referenced in It’s Your Ship by Captain Michael Abrashoff, he references the hierarchy of the US Navy and just how things work and how you have to work to get things done.  The systems within the Navy are tried and true and rigid.  Real estate?  Not so much.  In our industry, personalities at the top have historically created and dominated culture and thus impacted results.  Undeniably, many major brands were fostered and molded after founders who demanded salutes and ruled the roost much like a bantam rooster in the barnyard and most closely modeling The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Hello, and welcome to the new era which demands true Leadership.  If you haven’t noticed, there is quite a huge movement in the U.S. and worldwide where leading by fear and ego no longer works.  Times have changed.  It’s time to model the success of the USS Benfold and lead to make your ship (whether it be a Team, Office, Franchise, small group, church, school or non-profit) “The Best Damn Ship in the Navy.”

Here are Captain Abrashoff’s Top 5 Recommendations that we believe we should consider:

Help Knock Down the Barriers

One key action (action here is paramount) that the Captain implemented was to sit and eat with the crew.  If you have military experience, you might understand how game changing this act of leadership was and its long-term impact.  Rather than sitting in special quarters with invited guests, this Captain sat among his crew and opened lines of communication.  He listened to and conversed with his team.

  • Who do you need to be talking with and listening to?
  • How and where do you need to show up every day?
  • What impact could this have on your organization?

Let Your Crew Feel Free to Speak Up

At some point as Captain, Leader, Founder or Emperor, you need to sit among the crew and listen to their concerns and needs.  Building walls, eliminating those who speak up and don’t agree with you will have devastating results.  It is as simple as realizing that if there is no fabric in the loom, eventually that truth will leak out.

When the behavior of leaders and managers reflects that they are above their people, when they make and announce decisions with little or no consultation and do not solicit and listen to the “boots on the ground,” when they make it clear that their orders are not to be questioned, then conditions are ripe for disaster.

Every leader has the opportunity and power to prevent this disaster.  Surrounding yourself with underlings who agree with you is not a viable solution to build your brand, team or organization better or stronger. What will create and sustain success is to sit among the crew and allow and encourage them to feel free to speak up, contribute and be heard.

Nurture Freedom to Fail

Empowerment is a word that I use quite often.  Perhaps even too often. Yet to me, empowerment is not a four-letter word. It is an action that allows others to understand and refine and often discover their skills and strengths.  It is giving talent the space and fuel to develop.  Too many think of empowerment as allowing people to run wild and free. Absolutely not.  Empowerment is setting expectations and providing “rails” or “parameters” to encourage individuals, groups, teams and organizations to work and give them permission to “fail forward.”  The result?  Success and growth beyond their wildest dreams and imagination.  When this happens, the entire organization benefits.

Innovation Knows No Rank

My professional journey could not be more diverse than a military background.  It often resembled:  Ready, Set…Aim.  It was definitely failing forward and learning from the mistakes made.  The greatest growth in business and leadership occurred when I got out of the way!  Let me repeat that, I got out of the way and allowed others to do their job!

I’ve never had a problem hiring people much smarter than me.  Never.  What I was challenged with was giving them the freedom to make great decisions by implementing great systems, making changes and creating a bit of disruption by coloring outside the lines I had drawn.  Once I let go of my ego, listened to the village and allowed others to have a voice…our business soared beyond expectation.

Challenge Your Crew Beyond Its Reach

The taste of success in all industries can be the catalyst for a number of emotions that impact both the mindset and work ethic of an organization.  It may cause a desire to be bigger, bolder, faster and greater or it may feed a feeling of arrogance, compliancy and over-confidence. When we talk about challenging your crew…we talk about the entire organization.  Top down. Without exception, the entire organization should be encouraged 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

And as always, be a resource, not a sales pitch.

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