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life_work_balanceWould you say that you work to live or live to work?  If your work-life balance is off-kilter and your office is not operating efficiently, it may be time to re-focus. Bob Corcoran,CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching, says that agents and brokers have a responsibility to create productive, happy, functioning teams that will reduce stress, make for a happier life and allow you to sell more.

Corcoran has worked with thousands of top-producing agents worldwide in developing and implementing customized, growth oriented business systems that are proven to increase your bottom line. His programs have empowered agents to run efficient offices while harnessing the latest technology to increase their businesses.  Corcoran recently hosted a Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar where he identified five dysfunctions to a team and recommended solutions to break them down in order to build up a stronger real estate team.

Corcoran suggests that you create a mission statement, vision statement, core values and design a positive company culture to truly build a better, stronger team.  First, let’s address some common themes that can potentially weaken a team.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Corcoran explained that teams develop these dysfunctions because a lot of companies refuse to acknowledge them. During the webinar, Corcoran cited a must-read book by Patrick Lencioni,“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” which presents pitfalls that must be identified in order to overcome them and strengthen your team.

They include the following:

  1. The absence of trust.  Corcoran says “everything starts with trust.”  At the foundation of any successful and meaningful relationship is trust.
  2. Fear of conflict.  Be transparent with conflict and focus on the solution and the positives. By doing so, Corcoran advises, the fear should diminish.
  3. Lack of commitment.  Here, Corcoran says to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  He cited an example of working with sellers who are reluctant to commit their listing to you.  They may not be ready because they still have unanswered questions.  At this point, Corcoran says you should stop selling yourself and ask them more questions to fully understand their perspective.  He says, “your whole life changes the day you decide to make a commitment.”
  4. Avoidance of accountability. Corcoran stated that the average agent only sells four to five homes a year, which he says is likely due to their lack of accountability.  He suggests that you find a partner that can help you be accountable and productive to meet the team’s expectations.
  5. Inattention to results. Corcoran explained that this is about how it’s the “results of the whole that matter” and not what’s in it for me but what’s in it for the team.  He also reminds agents and brokers, especially independent ones, not to forget about vendors like mortgage lenders and home inspectors that also make up your team.

Two Pearls of Advice – Corcoran explains that teams are typically dysfunctional because they refuse to acknowledge these red flags and offered “two pieces” as he calls them.

First, Corcoran says that we tend to criticize instead of analyze.  He suggested that we get out of judgment and into curiosity to effectively overcome challenges.

Second, agents and brokers should accentuate the positive things and focus on the solutions too.  If you can’t see the forest for the trees, you’ve got to be willing to ask for help from the outside, as they see things from a different angle, advised Corcoran.

Define Your Culture – The technical definition of culture is ‘a way of thinking, behaving or working that exists in a place or organization.’  Corcoran explains that your work culture or environment is important because it helps you balance your life.  He cited a survey that reported, “74 percent of employees are looking for another job because of how they are treated.”  This goes back to the age-old ‘golden rule’ of treating others the way you’d like to be treated.  People are attracted to companies with positive company cultures and, he says, happy employees will help you do better and take pride in their tasks.

Focus on the Dollar Productive Activities – To build the right organization, you want to choose those who believe in living your company values, mission and vision statements.  As an owner or team leader, your focus is on the dollar productive activities.  In real estate this means to list, prospect, sell and negotiate.  To that end, you’ll want to hire assistants who do the non-dollar productive work. But, Corcoran advises, don’t hire this assistant until you have the mission, vision and core values plotted out.