Santa Claus has an awesome gig! He gets all the recognition and glory, but Mrs. Claus, the elves and the reindeer do all the heavy lifting.
So… why am I talking about Santa Claus in a real estate business blog? Because I truly believe that he’s the original business guru.
It amazes me how many team leaders are looking to hire talent: “10’s,” they say, “I want to hire 10’s – the most incredible employees in the world!” But then, once they find these employees and actually hire them, they don’t take advantage of their skills!
Think about it: Santa gets all the accolades; he enjoys all the cookies and the milk. But the elves make all the toys and the reindeer fly him around. Even Mrs. Claus plays a role; she dresses Santa and makes sure that he’s well fed before he heads out to make deliveries!
All Santa does is show up.
So (and here’s a question you probably didn’t think you’d ever ask yourself), how can you be more like Santa? How can you work less and utilize the expertise of your team members so you can be more successful as a team?
There’s an easy process to follow that will ensure the success of your team:
Do It (But not REALLY, more on this later.)
When I used to speak at conferences, I usually had a team member travel with me – often Lynn LeMay. Lynn was an incredible asset to me, and she always kept me in check. When I would say, “Do it, ditch it or delegate It, Lynn would also correct me and say, “Bill doesn’t do – Bill decides, then he either delegates it to us or ditches it.”
So, why did we follow this motto? Well, I was confident that my team members were better than I was at their various roles – that’s why I hired them, right? And, just like Santa Claus’ elves, they made me look INCREDIBLE. I actually believe that sometimes, they just pulled me along with them, which made all of us more successful.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, but as my mother always said, “Bill, you have two ears and one mouth, and they’re designed to be used in that ratio.” As the leader, my job was to listen to my talented team members, make decisions, and then let them implement it.
Do you know the difference between running a business and working a job? A business is a group of people working towards a common goal, whereas a job Is one person in control of everything.
Sir Richard Branson talks about this in almost all of his books. He believes that it’s his job to surround himself with talented experts and to listen to their advice, and THEN make decisions. If he makes a bad decision today, he can make a new, better decision tomorrow.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “Learn from your mistakes?” One of the reasons I coach people is to help them not make the mistakes I did – and I made MANY. At the end of the day, I was able to learn, modify, and grow to lead one of the top teams in the country for many years.
I’ve discussed this in other my blogs, but it’s so important that I’m going to repeat myself.
There are four steps to teaching adults:
1. Tell them what you want them to do.
2. Show them how to do it.
3. Let them do it.
4: Measure their ability to deliver the product or service in the way that you want it delivered.
Step 1 is pretty clear (and arguably straightforward), but it is often is the beginning of the end. You must have excellent clarity – i.e. an outline (written!) of what you want them to do – and they need to understand it. Have them verbally regurgitate it, so you can determine if they actually understand their goal. Goals, checklists, timelines, and expectations should all be done in step 1.
In Step 2, you need to demonstrate, train, and let them shadow you. Allow your employee to practice with you and encourage them!
During Step 3, you should set attainable goals with realistic deadlines, and then let your employee go out and DO IT! Unfortunately, this is where most leaders stop.
More often than not, the team member will start to change their style or process when they’re no longer supervised. This can be both good and bad for the team. If the whole system needs to (and can) be updated, then GREAT, but if it doesn’t? Now you have one employee doing something different than the rest, and you aren’t getting the results that you want.
Do you know what your entire team is saying to buyers and sellers? Is it consistent with the team’s vision, mission and goals?
Step 4 is arguably THE MOST important step when it comes to teaching adults. For example, every six months, I would go out with my sales team. I would drop into open houses they were hosting to be sure that they were setting up appropriately, and that they were successfully managing traffic flow to my liking. My team understood that I wasn’t “checking up on them,” but rather ensuring our success as a team.
I would surprise them by saying, “Hey, I took a look at your schedule tomorrow and saw you have a showing – my day is light – I’d like to join you.” They knew to expect at six-month increments, and they even looked forward to it – it was bonding time! We used these meetings as an opportunity to strengthen team culture and learn.
This also goes for administrative teams. I always let the person who was responsible for a specific function – like marketing, listing management or transaction management – run that part of any meeting. Why? Because they had the talent and skill – not me! I had to listen, give direction, or ask if they needed help. They were in control, and I was the person being held accountable.
So bottom line: hire talent and let them lead. Sir Richard Branson said it best: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.” It’s all about a common goal and customer service!
Follow the lead of Santa – the original business guru. Enjoy an incredible holiday season and start the New Year with his approach: delegate it, delegate it, delegate it! Do what’s important as a leader, and let your team take you to greater success.