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Team Leader Name: Christopher Invidiata
Team Name: The Invidiata Team
Real estate company: RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp.
Years in real estate: 22
Years as an agent team: 12
Number of team members: 21
Region Served: Oakville, Ontario, Canada

When and why did you first form an agent team?

new-christopher-1.jpgIn 1996 after 10 years of being in the business. I had six people working for me at the time. Everyone was working in an administrative or assistant capacity. I was the top dog; the guy that everyone had to see, and when I sent out an assistant, that person was not able to accomplish what the client wanted because they were the assistant. I decided if I were in one more meeting or location I would stagnate or implode, and I’d hate the business, so I knew I had to find another way. That’s when I decided that being a “we” centered person would become our MO. Converting “me” to “we” and forming a team was the way. My policy for growing the team was based on individual learning at a very high level – members would mentor or apprentice for a period of time before being given the full carte blanche.

How many team members are on your team and what are their respective roles?

We have 21 team members in total – 10 active agents, 3 licensed support staff, 2 unlicensed support staff, an administrator/office manager, licensed sales manager, and an in-house marketing team of 4.

How do you effectively delegate and maximize efficiency of the team?

Delegating is probably equaled and coupled with letting go. The concept of thinking someone else can do a better job than you is foreign to most people, but letting go and trusting they will do an equal or better job than yourself is the first stage; to not interfere and to really let go . You must create a system to confirm the work has been completed, and it should be followed up in writing.

What are some critical components of making the agent team concept successful?

Trust is number one. Developing an internal culture of caring is very important. Making sure it is a “we,” not a “me” approach. Taking pleasure in seeing other people succeed becomes a new paradigm for the leader. Keeping a business attitude – even though you’re a team you need structure. You must have a business approach to working or else it can fall apart pretty quickly. There needs to be a formula and system people can follow consistently.

What behaviors/practices must be avoided – what will make a team fail?

Team failure is largely due to the leader not recognizing what he or she has to do to lead. When you have competition within the team its bad. You need to have unification of goals. A team can also fail when you don’t deal with issues and conflict, and when the wrong people are hired, or the skill level isn’t there.

Success Strategies

How do you maintain profitability with an agent team?

The key is to have a segment of your structure that covers the overhead of running the team. On our team, we call it “House Accounts.” Your earning capacity is at the highest level with 90% revenue coming in and 10% shared income for 1/3 of the revenue, 2/3 of the revenue is coming from 50/50 partnerships.

How do you ensure cohesiveness among team members?

Hiring right on a collective basis. We always include multiple team members in the hiring process to ensure there is a cultural fit. Semi-annual all day meetings, monthly lunch meetings and team building exercises are all very important for team cohesiveness. The key is nurturing life qualities first.

What are some tips for keeping everyone focused on the same goal?

The monthly meetings where goals are set and accomplishments are reported – good or bad. It’s a journey together, a bit of a mountain climb.

What are some signs to watch for that might indicate your team is in trouble?

Behavior of the team internally. The growth of the team – if it’s not growing, it’s going to stagnate. All change is painful. Some people don’t like that change and it won’t be for them anymore, but you can’t service the market and stay stagnant. You have to grow.

What’s the one thing your team can’t live without?

The comfortable working environment, camaraderie, and laughter. We have developed a good culture here.

What is your personal philosophy for a successful life in real estate?

Putting your personal life first and your business second. Loving people and the service attitude is the key.

– Lesley Geary