Tips on Becoming the EXPERT, Authority, Celebrity In Your Real Estate Market.

February 2017

  Todd Walters, CEO

Function or Dysfunction?


There are many reasons why real estate agent teams struggle.  Even really good teams struggle at times. 


It is not easy to put a winning team together.  Thank God Craig Proctor was open with me about building a well-oiled team where everyone was on the same page and working for the common good of the TEAM vs individual goals. 


Before I lay out for you things you want to look for that will absolutely lead to dysfunction, lets make sure you are super clear on WHAT your team is working for.  Whatever that is, we refer to it as the Why.  There is a reason everyone will come together to accomplish an uncommon result and it’s your job as leader to make it crystal clear to everyone on the team and getting them to buy in to it. 


I heard Dan Cathy at Chic-fil-a say it was a race to sell more chicken because it was a race to help more people… referring to the numerous causes his company is involved in. 


Also, there is the problem with the natural growth of your team.  Example:  You get busy, you hire an assistant who does X, then you hire an agent who does X, then you hire another assistant who does X, then another agent who does X.  Pretty soon you have a group of individuals all doing their TASKS or another word for it would their job.  They are doing THEIR job.   Like magic a wall has been built between your people.  Each one doing THEIR job.  Meaning, the other persons job is NOT THEIR job.  Many of you have heard these words from someone on your team “that’s not my job”. 


Yea… a natural dysfunction built right in to your business from day one… unless you are keenly aware of this and as the leader, work against these forces.  And trust me it takes freaking work.  Not hard work, but SMART work.


Let’s look at 5 Dysfunctions as it relates to something most all of us are familiar with… our marriage.  I am NOT a marriage counselor.  But, I do want you to have a happy lifelong marriage – if that is what you want.  I’m using this as example because MOST of you have NOT had a small or even a medium sized team.  But you are or have been married.  There are parallels.  A marriage is a team. No question about that, often with polar opposites on the team.  So rather than me try to teach you something to look out for in your business as it grows, let me do that by using marriage and see if you can relate, then internalize this to make your real estate team work great. 


1) Absence of Trust

We all know that a good marriage requires trust, but trust goes beyond being dependable. Trust means the ability of each team member to make himself vulnerable and to believe that this vulnerability will not be used against him. Trust means believing that your spouse is on your side.

It sounds simple, but many conflicts in marriage center around this issue. Spouses are afraid to show their weakness because they aren't sure if their partners will stand by them. When husbands and wives cannot be vulnerable with each other, they spend a lot of individual time and energy on tasks that really require teamwork. This drains both partners. Reassure each other that you are on the same side and that you won't play on each other's weaknesses… even when stress levels rise.


Compare this to your team.  A lot of teams have members that just are not honest with their feelings and this will absolutely keep the team from being ALL it could me.  I like to operate from a position of Good Enough Never Is!  Lack of honesty is a result of lack of trust.  Tough for me to build a great organization if key members are holding back. 


2) Fear of Conflict

Many people believe that less conflict indicates a better marriage. Actually, conflict is necessary for a strong marriage. There is a world of a difference between constructive arguments that focus on the issue, and destructive arguments that attack each other. Yet it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two types. And when spouses fear all conflict, they often avoid discussing important issues altogether. Create space and time in your marriage dedicated specifically to conflict resolution. Stick to the issues and remind each other that conflict is a creative tension that is healthy and necessary for building a strong marriage.


It is impossible to assemble a team of go getters and there not be conflict.  Each conflict is an opportunity to advance forward.  In fact, I would encourage some conflict by asking straightforward questions on WHY or HOW can we do it better, or Why is done this way?  That will flush out the conflict. Just have patience and be dedicated to the team achieving its objectives!


3) Lack of Commitment

Commitment consists of two key components: clarity and buy-in. When a couple needs to make any major decision together, it is often difficult to know what is the right move. This lack of certainty can freeze them in place even after they seek out advice and arrive at an informed choice. When a couple makes a decision together and sticks with it, they have achieved the clarity component of “commitment.” When one spouse defers to the other on a decision, that is where the idea of “buy-in” becomes important. Buy-in means that we don't need to get our way in order to stand behind someone else's decision. We only need to know that our opinions and feelings have been listened to and considered by our spouse. Commit to stand behind all decisions you make as a couple.


My experience with top Millionaire Agent System Teams is vast as you know.  The #1 thing I see resulting in lack of commitment is commitment to self-first vs team first.  Ego is a big deal. Winning teams do not care who gets the credit.  Just listen to the Philadelphia Eagles interviews after the big win.  TEAM won, Fans Won. City Won.  Etc.  No “I” in team.


4) Avoidance of Accountability

Another common misconception about marriage is that there is no place for criticism. But just as there is healthy and unhealthy conflict, there is also constructive and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism is honest feedback about unmet or misunderstood expectations. Often, husbands and wives are reluctant to proffer this because they fear hurting each other's feelings. This is a trap. A major pitfall in many marriages is not clarifying expectations – and then subsequently feeling resentful that those needs are not being met. When spouses agree to spell out their mutual expectations and to openly discuss successes and failures, there is less ambiguity and frustration – and more positive regard for each other.


Many times, team members plead ignorance when something does not get done or go well.  They blame others by saying things like “that’s not my job…” the kiss of death for anyone on my leadership team.  We are all accountable to the results.  One of the things I liked about my daughter’s college softball team is the coach would make the entire team run if one of the players was loafing or cutting corners.  There is a lot of entitlement existing in our culture today, that is POISON in any winning team.  Be accountable to each other and the mission.  If you got anyone that pushes back on this area, do your best to correct it, but have a short leash.  Be quick to sever ties (FIRE THEM) if they do not come around. 


5) Inattention to Results

A marriage needs specific goals in order to evaluate whether they are achieving results. Without spelling out shared goals, we are in danger of slipping into “parallel lives.” In order to stay on track, a couple should periodically check how they are succeeding at their shared goals, and whether those goals require modification.  You think goal setting with your team is productive?  Try it with your marriage. It’s a game changer.


When team members stop focusing on the goals of the team, they can easily shift to working on their own objectives at the expense of the team. A team needs specific goals in order to evaluate whether they are achieving results.


Any team succeeds not despite but because of the unique attributes of each member. To make your team accomplish amazing things, avoid the five dysfunctions by developing trust, working through conflicts, staying committed to team decisions, holding each other accountable, and keeping track of team goals.


How do you feel you are doing in this area as the Team Leader? 


It will be difficult for you to position your team as The Best Real Estate Sales Team in your market unless you remove dysfunction!


Go Serve Big!!!

Todd Walters


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