BrokerageIndustry Voices

Develop or replace a brokerage team leader?

In a quandary about whether you should develop a real estate brokerage team leader or replace them? Use these seven powerful questions to help you decide.

One of the toughest challenges we face as brokerage leaders is deciding when it no longer makes sense to provide energy and resources to develop a team leader or recognize they no longer have a seat on your “bus”. Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” and a past speaker at the RealTrends Gathering of Eagles, recently published his new book, “Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0: Turning Your Business Into an Enduring Great Company.”

In Chapter 2, his focus is about the importance of having the right people in the right seat. What happens when you realize you don’t have the right person? As a leader, you care deeply about them, but can you truly afford to keep trying to develop a brokerage team leader or C-suite executive who might or might now be a good fit? You can also use this for agents and teams.

Jim Collins provides seven questions to ask yourself as you’re pondering this decision. The questions are simple, but powerful. These will stimulate your thinking and hopefully lead you to the right decision.

1. Are you beginning to lose other people by keeping this person in the seat?

Your best performers already recognize that this person’s less than stellar performance is being tolerated. Or even worse, if this person performs, but their behavior is not aligned with the company’s core values, it can destroy your culture.

2. Do you have a values problem, a will problem or a skills problem?

The toughest call is a will problem. How much do they really want it, and do they have the will to develop themselves to meet the demands of the seat?

3. What’s the person’s relationship to the window and the mirror?

If everything goes well, the right person points out the window and gives credit to others for the success. When things don’t, they point out the window and blame everyone else. The right person looks in the mirror, takes responsibility and always looks at ways to improve.

4. Does the person see work as a job or responsibility?

Key people see themselves as having a broader responsibility than a task list that they can simply check off.

5. Has your confidence in the person gone up or down in the past year?

How are you feeling about this person now as compared to a few months ago or a year ago? Are they becoming a more valuable member of the team and making a significant contribution to move the company forward?

6. Do you have a bus problem or a seat problem?

Is it possible that you have the right person, but they are in the wrong seat? Have the role and requirements of the position outgrown them? Ask yourself if Marshall Goldsmith’s famous book title—“What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” is the reality of the situation.

7. If this person gives notice, what’s the emotion you’ll feel—upset, distraught, thankful, overjoyed?

One of my clients was recently faced with this difficult decision regarding their CFO, who had been with the company over 15 years and was a great guy. The company has grown over the past two years, not only in revenue and profits, but also in their processes and overall health of their team. The CFO wasn’t embracing these changes, and it was clear that he didn’t have the skill set to move where the company was heading. The CEO struggled with this decision for months. He even brought in a third-party financial resource to help develop this individual, but it wasn’t helping. Finally, I shared these seven questions with the CEO. When we got to question seven, I asked him how he would feel if the person quit. His response was, “I’d be relieved.” He knew it was time to replace him.

When the decision is made to exit a team leader, Jim Collins sums it up perfectly. Be rigorous, not ruthless. Deal with the situation using the upmost professionalism and respect. Be direct and help the person understand why you’ve made this decision so they can find their right seat on the right bus someplace else.

Jill Belconis is a strategic business coach and RealTrends contributor.