Learning From the Best

Summary of INSPIRE 2019 

Last year Fran (my wife and business partner) and I spent a day with some leading business owners and a number of Psychologists and HR professionals at Pier One in Sydney for the above conference. Presenters included the owner of Red Balloon, two psychologists, the HR manager of Nova entertainment, three owners of multinational training organisations, the CEO of the Australian Human Resources Institute and a few others. The focus was on securing and more importantly retaining great team members. It was not specific to real estate, or real estate coaching, but I believe it was all relevant to real estate agency managers. 

The key messages that came up consistently were:

  • Let people know what you expect from them, both on commencement, and ongoing
  • Praise three times for every one critical comment (2.9 to 1 is break even in most people’s assessment of if it is a positive environment or not!)
  • Let them know they can tell you if you stuff up
  • Develop self-awareness of your own prejudices, personality, and preferences, and how these impact on others
  • Don’t expect all team members to act the same
  • Treat people fairly
  • Make sure your team have fun at work, preferably that they have a “best friend” there
  • Maintaining the culture you want in your environment is far more important than short term profits for the success of your business in the long term
  • Invest in quality training
  • Coaching is often even more valuable than training (these two are clearly good for us 😊)
  • Be open to, and positive about, change
  • Don’t except mediocrity
  • Whatever you tolerate becomes then part of your culture

There were some very bright, and successful, people in the room. When you see the summary above though you will soon realise most of these ideas won’t be new to most of you. Again, it is NOT about the knowledge. Knowing is relatively easy, taking the action is hard. Keep working on yourself and your team. Going forward yourself and the team will keep getting better … but not perfect.

Real Estate Principals Key Takeaways:

Our key take always from this event for our clients (who are mostly looking to not only grow their real estate agencies success, but also to make the real estate agency far less reliant on them personally) is probably on keeping the focus on the medium to long term goals in what you do with your team members on a daily basis. One of the hardest challengers for any real estate agency principal to deal with is when they have working for them a top 10% sales agent, or a property manager who grows the rent role and the clients like, or a manager who knows “everything” about the business yet this person has either never, or no longer, accepts the business culture or service levels you are now expecting from the team, and often in fact will be actively working to “white ant” your plans with other team members.

No matter how much this person is adding to your immediate bottom line, or your immediate ability to not have to do certain work, if they aren’t working to your plan you are unlikely to achieve your medium to long term goals. If the principal allows this behaviour from this person than in fact the vision and culture of this office is been set by this other person, and, this person becomes the effective general manager of the office. While taking a harder line with expectations does not always mean the “high performer” will leave, the principal has to accept this is a risk they will take to ensure they maintain the culture of their agency and achieve their longer-term goals.


If you have any questions or comments, I will welcome you feedback. I can be contacted michael@bwmiles.com.au and I am happy to discuss any real estate matters with you. At present we are particularly interested in working with a real estate coaching client if you are located in Dubbo, Bathurst, Wollongong or the Southern Highlands.