Have we ever done anything worth remembering while we were stuck in our comfort zone? Doubtful. Being comfortable is too normal. Normal’s ceiling is mediocrity. We need to step outside of that comfort zone and do something different in order to ascend. We can never conceptualize true success if our thoughts are always normal. Take a risk and generate some excitement. Create a new normal and discover the feelings you can create with those new successes. If we do the things we’ve always done, then we will get the results that we have always gotten.
Executing every one of the Top 6 Success Moments of Team Building is easier than one may imagine. The hard part is being realistic with how far away you are from actually executing anything. Based on that knowledge, actual mastery of building the perfect team takes more than one person. Success in team building is determined by mindset and people.
Be mindful of these 6 easy concepts when building a team:
- Surrounding yourself with the right people means everything. Systematically hire with commitment, expectations, and deadlines of performance.
- As the CEO, you are just one spoke on one wheel spoke on the wheel, not the ONLY spoke on the ONLY wheel. Build a collaborative ecosystem where the expectation is to contribute and participate without fear of rejection. Strength in numbers.
- Share the vision with your talent. If you are not growing, you are shrinking. Growth in revenue drives the need for more talent within your organization. The more talent you have, the more stable and profitable your organization becomes.
- Top talent still needs direction, structure and deliverables.
- Accountability to production and growth is everyone’s responsibility. So, although hitting team goals is a organizational initiative, individual roles need to be crystal clear. After that? Bullseye’s every time.
- Don’t be greedy. Reward your talent.
Belief. What a funny word. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it spoken and not internalized what it really meant. Why had it not meant what it means now? Did I not have any? I guess the answer is, “No. It just took a while to believe.”
I came from a very successful entrepreneurial family. The only thing my parents ever gave me was the gene that controls inner drive. However, I certainly did not recognize that in my childhood. I didn’t recognize I had it in me even into my twenties. As I reached my thirties, it started to manifest itself in my business attitudes. I started looking at work as an absolute vs. an 8-5 thing. The voice in my brain told me, “Do what you need to do to get the job done no matter how long it takes.”
Once I started to understand most people didn’t have that approach, it made me feel special. I then felt empowered to do a better ‘job’. Later it became difficult for me to understand how others didn’t look at life that way. After all, this was the conclusion I came to after all this time. Why wasn’t everyone else growing up too?
Still in my thirties, I battled a near death experience. I was in the hospital for weeks with a mysterious virus and placed in a medically induced coma until the doctors could get my systems under control. My husband walked out on me and our 3 year old child the day I got out of the ICU. My vision, coordination and mental health were distressed and no one was sure what would ever be 100% again. What were my choices? I had to believe. I had to believe in myself. I had to believe in my team. I had to believe I was getting out of this because I had a three year old at home that was completely relying on me. As time went by I discovered my brain was reconnecting the wires, although much slower than I wanted. During this time, I was likely very difficult to be around, yet the people dearest to me surrounded me on a daily basis. I’ll never forget that. They believed in me too. Those individuals are the leaders within my firm today. I am now a better version of myself pre-illness and the sadness, anger, and helplessness of going through a near death experience is a distant memory. I am so grateful for the team that has surrounded me for years. While my memory sometimes fails me when I think of those years, I openly admit it was the belief that kept me alive. The belief that it was just like “work”. I would work at fighting the battle of adversity as long as it took until it was won.
Coke sold 25 bottles of soda in the first year of business. The founder of Starbucks approached over two hundred and fifty banks prior to getting his first loan. And I had to nearly die to understand what belief meant to me. It’s stuck with me ever since.
Today, loyalty and collaboration are the difference compared to how we used to do things. Those methods would have led to us going bankrupt and starting over. We all had so much riding on the success of this business. We had no choice but to believe. We went from 12.5 million in 2011 to 55 million in 2015. In 2016 I truly believe we’ll hit 100 million. Nothing was ever handed to me and yet I succeeded through the simple idea that I believed I would.
I get it now. That is belief.
Do you ever wonder, “What is the difference between mediocre and exceptional people? I do. I always wonder, and my initial thoughts are: “If you are coming to work everyday for at least 8 hours, why would you not give it 100%? What is the point otherwise? Pardon my frankness, but am I batshit C-R-A-Z-Y?
Mediocrity looks like this:
- Making EXCUSES. They never take accountability for their own actions and constantly find reasons why they cannot get their job done.
- Coming in late.
- Lackadaisical attitude.
- No urgency in daily tasks. It’s like the main goal is to simply “get through the day”.
- They turn in mediocre work because they did not follow up and ask questions when they needed more information? Maybe they had a great chance to pitch in and looked the other way?
- Hoping things will happen to them vs. making something happen.
Exceptionality looks like this:
- Making the extra 3 calls a day.
- Focusing on the top 20% of activities that make you the most income DAILY.
- Helping others when it’s not needed, yet asking for help when you need it most.
- Exceeding expectations when nobody’s watching.
- Being loyal, collaborative and innovative for both personal and business goals
- Asking for what you want
- Being proactive and forward thinking
- Understanding your role and how to be the most efficient in your work.
The difference between mediocre and exceptional is so small. Think about it: if mediocre people gave 10%-15% more effort, what could they accomplish? Would they be exceptional? It’s totally possible! You probably know someone in your work area like this and you and I can both agree they don’t understand how close they are to being truly exceptional. The million dollar question is: Is their approach to business hurting you?
Change is in order. We can all improve, but if mediocrity describes you, here’s several ways to shift your thinking. Remember, it’s not like you need to completely start over or pick another career. It all starts with you. Once you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
6 Steps From Mediocre to Exceptional
- Mindset. Everything starts with mindset. Reframe! Refocus! Better yet, give yourself some free time to “re-figure out” what your initial goals, priorities and strategies actually were. (Spoiler-alert: if this works for you, skip the following steps)
- Get competitive with yourself and others around you. Challenge yourself to compete with your own goals at first. When you best yourself, chances are you can stack yourself up against the rest of the best and claim victory there too.
- Communication. Explore ways to develop better communication habits. Warning, this may involve actually communicating with others.
- Examine your fit. Are you in the right personality for your role? You are exceptional, but analyze the role and if your strengths are the right fit for it.
- Believe in the vision. Have you even thought about how special you are and how much your company needs you? Subscribe. Buy-in. Believe. Whatever you need to do, admit you can make a difference if you gave it a harder push.
- Get into character. The world’s perception of you is the reality they will create. Don’t risk being
perceived as mediocre if all it involves is a little more energy. Pretend you’re the star of the show and carry yourself that way.
There are so many players in every field of the world. How do you truly pull away from the pack? There is a special sauce to this recipe. Some pay attention and assemble the right ingredients to ultimately achieve. The rest will just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and hope it doesn’t make them barf. Sounds easy enough, right? There’s different layers to it all but let’s focus on the two that matter the most- The 10,000 mile view and The Daily View.
The 10,000 Mile View – Generally speaking, these involve activities and attitudes of common sensical concepts. Things involving basic daily activities of extremely successful people and what you or your employees should model. For example, a regimented day is the easiest way to stay on task for best results. (and to achieve proper work/life balance) Time is THE biggest resource and gets wasted more than anything else. Another example from this view is acting with urgency every day! For you or some of your employees, this may be a natural talent and internal “wiring”, but from this view is the lesson to learn regarding who you have surrounding you. Pee-Wees, Juniors, Amateurs or Pros?
The Daily View – This is a more precise view of time management specific and with purpose. Nobody likes micromanaging themselves, let alone others, but establishing constants and identifying what needs to be executed is crucial on a daily basis. Your weekly, monthly and annual goals rely on it, not to mention align with your long-term vision. An example of this would be asking, “What tasks are highest and best use of my time?”
Here’s some tactical concepts to be mindful of when observing from the 10,000 mile and Daily View:
10,000 Mile view
- Staying away from mediocre. Don’t be it and don’t hire it. They are 85 percent of the population. They are not bad people but they will suck the life out of you.
- Believing in yourself and your team. Do you have a vision the team can rally around? Can you embody the vision within your organization and be the constant in a world of variables?
- Creating a plan, a path to executing and understanding who/what/why/when along the way.
- Connecting to drive the growth initiative over and over and over again. This is where people either succeed or fail.
- Attracting talent. Making it a mission to find the brightest, most collaborative, innovative, electric, profitable team in your field. What is your value proposition and how are you conveying it?
- Operating the ecosystem of success to it’s fullest. Examine your moving parts from afar. Is anything limiting the efficiency machine?
- Identifying highest and best use of time for each member.
- Developing a Top 20% list of critical activities on a daily basis.
- Assigning specific tasks leading to stability and profitability in the shortest amount of time.
- Deciding what the short-term and long-term targets may be, then executing the short-term plans first.
- Driving growth, production and system(s) knowledge.
- Establishing measurables in an effort to validate success. If your team is currently falling short, do you know why?
- Being obedient to your calendar. Enter specific tasks with deadlines and giving yourself enough time to complete everything on your agenda.
- Rewarding employees. Moral is key. Time off, paid incentives, extra attention, promotions, and greater opportunity cannot be something you overlook for months.
Pulling ahead of the pack doesn’t necessarily involve more hours or more diplomas. Exceeding expectations for yourself and others go hand in hand with truly embracing the inner drive to be successful. This often starts with minor course corrections in how you perceive your surroundings. Involve your view of your organization from the 10,000 mile view first, then focus on what needs to happen on a daily basis to begin the process of creating some real separation between you and your competitors.
One of my favorite topics to discuss is Women Led Business Teams. I come from a strong line of women in my family. My grandmother was in charge of the tribute office at one of the largest hospitals in the nation. She was a dynamo. My parents owned the largest independent bookstore in the United States, but it was my mother who did the heavy lifting of buying half the merch, community outreach, and team management. They eventually sold the store and the systems for millions. I’ve always said there were no handouts in my family, except for the biggest handout…DRIVE! For that, I’m very thankful to be born with that gift. That gift separates me from the majority of the population. We’re all wired a certain way and I guess my motivation and love for success is my source code. It’s a love beyond all other loves!
I have been in charge of my own business for for 10 years. Tracy, my vice president and second in command joined me 9 years ago. Toika and Sharon, my directors of the buyer and seller divisions both joined me 5 years ago. This executive leadership team navigated rough waters as well as claimed victory to what seemed like insurmountable odds. Along the way, it’s made for some unbelievable experiences. We have stuck together like glue.
In the real estate industry, you’ll have days where you’re not sure if you’ll make it to the end of day with breath in your lungs. Other days, you’ll feel like the goals are simply too easy to reach. In both cases, I’ve needed the women on my leadership team to get us through it all. My women leaders are incredibly special!
Top 10 Reasons Why My Women Led Business Team is the Best:
- Urgency. We understand it and we live it. We know how to go from strategy to implementation to achievement of results.
- We humbly learn from more advanced female entrepreneurs. My Mega-Mentor, Barbara Corcoran sold her real estate firm for over 60 Million dollars and that’s where we’d like to be some day. That said, we work with her every year to continue to develop our plan.
- We are fascinated with business and with our growth. We’ve grown so much in the last decade, but the excitement lies in the future. We love playing the game of business (as long as we win) and celebrate each mile marker of growth, even if there’s millions of miles to go. It’s the journey, not the destination, right?
- We are positive by nature and take great pride in fulfilling the needs of our team members.
- We invite a constructive open dialogue and a collaborative ecosystem. We conduct focus groups with our team members, documenting feedback, and delivering results based on what we’ve learned. In this kind of push/pull environment, everyone wins.
- We have a “Check your sh#t at the door policy.” Understanding your energy, negative or positive impacts the entire team. Negative is not welcome here. No example needed.
- We intentionally employ a leadership team with a myriad of strengths to meet the needs of our entire team and the growth we want to achieve. We spend the majority of our time with the top 20% not the bottom 20%.
- We are laser focused on setting goals. We maintain that focus to achieve them too. I’ve been a part of companies/brokerages where setting the goal was the only execution. We never wanted to be that way with my vision the only eyesight we relied on. My goals are congruent with what the team’s goals are too, thus our goals encompass everyone’s vision.
- We are each committed to being one spoke on the wheel. The sum is greater than the parts and we truly operate that way.
- We take the time to form the foundational relationships by spending time together outside of the office. We are a close-knit group. We live team life. Together, we celebrate birthdays, celebrate our kids’ successes, and attend both weddings and funerals. Our personalities are different and we frequently disagree. However, that’s what makes any kind of leadership team successful. I wouldn’t want three other “me’s” in the mix. We’d never come to a consensus and a negotiated solution every time! That’s why I love the variety of opinion and solution based approach. We are loyal. We are loyal to each other and we are loyal to every member of the team!
Your life will change when you shut up and realize you’re not the ONLY smart person in the room. That’s what happened to me. I must be a slow learner and love doing things the hard way, because in order to discover this, it took a near death experience and being in a coma for three weeks.
In 2011, my real estate team consisted of five people and 12.5 million in total sales volume. I had a small office with specialized help with admin and listing/buying specialists. 12.5 million seemed like a lot back then.
Also in 2011, I had awoken from comatose status about 12 weeks before – I could not walk, I could barely see, and my brain function was limited at best. Yet amid all of these limitations, I knew we had to grow. I knew because my 3 year old child and my teammates were counting on me. I was counting on them and little did they know, I truly needed them more than they’d ever needed me. I had no ability to make decisions, so I knew if we were going to succeed as an organization, we had to expand. I had to find strong decision makers to offset my physical weaknesses. The people who surround you matter!
So back to growing the team – That’s what we did. Our first order of business was hiring agents. That was our first income generator for the team. Outside of the listing/buying agent though, we had no other way to produce dollars. We then identified other sources of potential income and diversified those streams of revenue. These streams would allow us to survive the seasonal beast of real estate. Finally we embraced the training and fostered a BELIEF to do the critical activities it took everyday. It took a major buy-in for everyone on our small little team and we pulled it off. Together. It felt like a miracle.
After that, we listened and learned from other people that had done everything on a much higher level. People like Barbara Corcoran.
And back to those critical activities. We did those everyday. You may be asking, “What are critical activities?” They are the hard things. The difficult things. The tasks that make you money. The daily goals you HAD to claim victory for before leaving the office. Those were what we committed ourselves to doing on a daily basis. We made every mistake you could make along the way. But we learned. We reflected. We got better.
One of the biggest changes made was going from a mentality of “I to WE”. All of a sudden, we were a collaborative “all hands on deck” bunch. It was liberating for everyone. You would think that epiphany would not means so much. It did! In my head, I surmised many “teams” were not evolving like this. I, I mean, we, were on to something special. And for whatever reason, it felt like a secret I wanted to share with everyone, yet couldn’t.
As time went on, worked smarter and harder than ever. We cast our net much wider and I got out of my own way. (which, if you knew me pre-coma, was pretty hard to do.)
Fast forward to 2015 where we ended the year with nearly 275 homes sold and 53.4 million in sales volume. 2011 seemed like so long ago, but as I think of the journey and not the destination, it was simply a matter of placing the right piece of the puzzle. (and giving ourselves the time to actually work on the puzzle to begin with)
In 2016, we will exceed $100 Million in sales. The systems are in place, the people are in place, and the mindset is in place. That’s the 10,000 mile view.
And while we’re talking puzzle metaphors, the “day in, day out grind” piece is an extremely important piece I want everyone who is reading this to understand. You have to block time to lead generate every day and you always need to be asking for the business. Let’s try this again. Block time for lead generation. ask for business. ALWAYS! Just to make sure you’re not skimming through this, I’ll check for your understanding again: Every sales position in the world has to block time to lead generate everyday and ask for the business. EVERY DAY. Am I being repetitive?
No matter what business you’re in, your goal is to generate revenue! You might be the biggest introvert in the entire world. Whether it’s info tech, operations or small business owner – IT DOES NOT MATTER! You will meet people, discover individuals and develop rapport or be introduced to like-minded folks at dinner parties. It might even be eye contact with the teller at the bank, or going down the same grocery line with the same person. There might be people in your friend group or your family that have friends of friends. This is how we all generate leads!
Today is Sunday. A holiday weekend. I had lunch with a graphic designer friend I worked with 7 years ago. We reconnected a few months ago. We started talking about everything he was doing, I was doing, and some of the projects we could work on together. We have so much in common. As a matter of fact, I tried to hire him years ago. (But those damn no-compete clauses squashed that.)
At any rate, he mentioned his parents were moving to town and he wanted to know if my team could help them buy a home in my market! Of course! While it’s certainly not the reason we went to lunch today, it illustrated the need to be in front of others to generate business. I can’t help others if I can’t help myself and that involved a rekindling of an old relationship. Maybe there’s a few people you could reconnect with too?
Taking action like this does not make me a superhero. It makes me smart. And in most cases, everyone is a potential client. I suppose I am a client for him as much as he is a client for me. I still want to hire him by the way! The sooner you realize everyone can make you money is the moment you ask yourself, “Well who do I need to be talking to?”
Growth and production should constantly be addressed. We will triple in size this year. Why? Because we are mentally ready for it. Everyone on the leadership team is ready for it! Mindset is everything to trigger how time is spent. Where everyone spends their time determines the outcome. So, as you are time blocking your top 20% of daily activities, understanding the exact tasks that will get you to the goals you want to achieve is essential! The people that surround you matter!