Nicky StevensonMessage from the Property Academy

Welcome to the first edition of our four-i monthly newsletter where we hope to deliver Information, Insight, Ideas and Inspiration to the residential property sector, which will be in addition to our four-i weekly newsletter. I hope you like it!

four-i monthly will be different, we will look to offer interviews and articles with leaders both in and out of the industry. Aiming not only to offer four-i but to excite and offer creative thinking to the issues and challenges that are faced in our sector that we are all so passionate about.

This month we interviewed our expert speaker David Smith who specialises in building a high performing culture. David spent 15 years at ASDA during the turnaround from near bankruptcy to the award winning business that it is today.  What does a high performing culture mean exactly and why is it important? Check out what he has to say by watching the video.

We are grateful to Karl Tatler for offering his ‘Tip of the Month’, which we will look to have as a regular feature from our Group Members. Karl shares why recognising and applauding personal achievements is important to his company Karl Tatler Estate Agents.

Each year we curate the largest independent home movers surveys. Each month we will highlight some of the key stats, amongst others, to hopefully trigger conversations with your team on what they might mean for your business.

At the Property Academy we are passionate about reading and continuing our learning, and then sharing that newfound knowledge. Therefore, each month we will highlight a book that a member of the team would recommend with an overview of what you can expect from it. This month I have suggested ‘Predictable Success’ which was actually recommended to me by Josh Phegan. There are soooo many books out there so a recommendation is always well received; we hope you enjoy our suggestions.

We are regularly asked about our upcoming events and training so links to those will be included along with links to our past weekly newsletters incase you missed them.

We very much hope that you enjoy our new monthly four-i newsletter and welcome any comments that you may have, feel free to get in touch with me directly nicky@propertyacademy.co.uk

Best wishes,
Nicky Stevenson


How do we build a high performing culture and why should we?

This month’s interview is with Property Academy speaker and chair, David Smith. David’s workshop session covers ‘The 7 principles of building a high performance culture’, using the Asda turnaround from near bankruptcy to a world-class success as his case study. We asked David what it means to have a high performing culture and how to develop one.

David_SmithDavid is a highly respected author, business speaker and consultant. He is also requested to mentor CEOs and HRDs. He is Chairman of the Board of Institute for Employment Studies.

Through corporate culture training, David helps CEOs and executives who are wrestling with the ‘how to’ of reigniting the efforts of their workforce.

David speaks at UK and international conferences about the ‘7 Principles of Building a High Performance Culture’, utilising the Asda case study. He runs master classes on these principles for Property Academy Group Members. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about Group Membership or David Smith.



Karl Tatler

How I increased company performance and staff engagement

By Karl Tatler

We wanted to explore different ways of motivating our staff to improve their own personal performances. We were already having performance reviews and had targets in place for them to achieve, however sometimes the more we ‘pushed’ the more disengaged they became!

We then thought what if we came from a different angle! Everyone loves to receive praise for a job well done, sadly, in the workplace this doesn’t happen anywhere near as much as it should. Sincere frequent and informal praise is recognised as one of the most significant management styles that increases staff engagement and improves productivity! Sometimes an act of brilliance happens right before your eyes and sometimes, especially when you can’t see your staff all the time, you have to go and find it!

One of the ways we look for great performances is by knowing what each employees personal bests are for key touch points within the business. Then, when someone produces activity, such as market appraisals or viewing numbers that exceeds a previous personal best you know they’ve excelled and they are thrilled that you’ve noticed it and praised them publically for it.

Publishing everyone’s personal best gives individuals personal goals to beat, rather than a random expectation which they may feel is unrealistic and therefore disengages them! In addition to individual PB’s all our offices have their own offices PB’s so the branch knows when it’s had a great week too; then it’s coffee and bacon butties on me!

We focus on this every Monday when we review the previous week’s performance. We have seen clear indications that staff and offices keep beating their previous PB’s; they now see them as a challenge and more importantly they know what they are!! Although these may only encourage small incremental improvements for each person, collectively across each office and the company the increase is significant. Our company performance has increased as a direct result of this initiative, so too has our level of staff engagement.

Karl Tatler



Predictable Success

Predictable Success – book review

by Nicky Stevenson

An absolute must read for leaders looking to create a sustainable, successful organisation.


‘Predictable success’ is a precise road map taking you on a step-by-step journey to take your start up, stagnating, or declining business all the way to       success – and how keep it there.

The author Les believes that success can be learned, replicated, understood, scaled, nurtured and sustained by understanding the seven different stages that exist in business, and how you can move from each stage to the desired ‘predictable success’.

These stages include:

1 – Early Struggle – trying to take off

Early struggle is essentially a race against time to swap dependence on externally generated cash with cash generated from profitable trading. The goal is to move out of ‘early struggle’ as quickly as possible by:

•    Maximising your access to external funding initially
•    Minimising the path to a viable market
•    Connecting your funding to your market in as short as distance as possible

As many as 80% of new ventures never make it through early struggle so it is fatal to get distracted. Every effort (time and money) should be focused on taking you a step closer to your viable market so that you leave ‘early struggle’ and enter into the next stage – ‘fun’.

2 – Fun – sell, sell, sell

Acquiring new customers and having some spare money propels organisations into the ‘fun’ stage. Here there is positive momentum and energy, and less of a sense of pushing a large rock uphill.

During this stage there is renewed confidence, everyone is focused on sales and doing anything and everything that assists the sales function. Double-digit growth is easily attainable in this stage as market share starts from 0. Morale is usually high with a sense of excitement across the organisation. There are dangers that come with a business in ‘fun’ stage which include:

•    Overfunding – the start up business believes it is in ‘fun’ but it isn’t yet
•    Out of control costs
•    Egomania – resulting in a flight too close to the sun

Some businesses stay in ‘fun’ because they are of course having fun, life can be good here. For others however, who wish to grow, they will be kicked out of ‘fun’ as a consequence of this. It is unavoidable.

Growth brings complexity. Communication slows down, things go wrong, mistakes are made, customers complain and profits slide. Like it or not, you’re kicked out of ‘fun’ and hit ‘whitewater’.

3 – Whitewater – battling complexity to become efficient

As companies grow, additional people are added resulting in decision-making becoming more difficult and communication lines less clear. Add in the long tail legacy customers and the inevitable issues that arise, the organisation ends up spending more time on servicing past sales than getting new ones.

‘Whitewater’ inevitably builds in intensity. Resources are increasingly and painfully directed from feeding the sales function to firefighting the growing number of errors and emergencies in operational activities, resulting in stalling growth and falling profitability.

Management must realise that fun is over and learn to excel at everything else but sales. An organisational chart is a great first step that reflects the real-world structure required to manage the organisation.

Systems and processes will need to be implemented – not too few and not too many – in order to stabilise the business and take it out of ‘whitewater’.

Many businesses do not break out of ‘whitewater’. Instead they revert back to fun as pushing on from ‘whitewater’ is too painful. This causes many managers and owners to question if they’ve ‘got what it takes’ to be a success.

The catch though is that ‘whitewater’ will not go away. Slipping back in to fun will be great for a while however re-entering ‘whitewater’ will be inevitable as sales begin to grow again. Sometimes an organisation will go back and forth between these two stages, each time trying to differently introduce the systems and processes.

Employees will see the business as somewhat dysfunctional during this stage, as well as highly stressful with little sense of job satisfaction. As a consequence the business will see a higher rate of employee turnover.

The secret to getting out of ‘whitewater’ lies in creating the right organisational structure for the right people to work within that creates a decision making machine.

4 – Predictable Success – achieving perfect balance

‘Predictable success’ is achieved by maintaining the right amount of systems and processes necessary to tame the businesses’ complexity. Whilst also maintaining the creativity and entrepreneurial zeal that have grown the business to this point. At no other stage will a business be more in control of its destiny; it is in its prime and will have the ability to consistently achieve its goals. The benefits of this stage include:

•    Relative ease of decision making
•    Alignment of decision making and execution
•    Effective cross-functional interaction across the organisation
•    A coequal focus on growth and profitability

At this stage the organisation is clear on its purpose and identity. Remaining here is hard work, if creativity and entrepreneurial zeal take over then the business will head back in to ‘whitewater’. If systems and processes take over squeezing out initiative then the organisation will slide forward out of ‘predictable success’ and into ‘treadmill’.

5 – Treadmill – working hard, going nowhere

The organisation is over systemised and over managed. Too many systems and processes result in a loss of flexibility, robot-like employees and a slow down in decision-making and execution. Management is more concerned with how something is done rather than what is being done. This results in the entrepreneurial zeal, creativity and vision being lost which means there is a:

•    Loss of innovation
•    Loss of ‘step growth’
•    Suppression of bad news

This is a dangerous stage for organisations to be in and most business owners will part at this stage either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Working for an organisation in ‘treadmill’ will feel unfulfilling with a preference for compliance over results.

The first step to get back in to ‘predictable success’ is to recognise that you are in this stage, to do this you will need to:

•    Have sensors in place whilst in ‘predictable success’ to indicate when approaching ‘treadmill’
•    Use real people
•    Appoint one or more nonexecutive board member
•    Give your top three execs an external coach
•    Hold a biannual ‘advance’ (review of external environment)
•    Enforce management by walking around (MBWA)
•    Start an internal mentoring program
•    Encourage sabbaticals, job sharing and employee exchanges

When in ‘treadmill’ the organisation is still capable of self diagnosis and can correct its decline however if not the organisation will continue the downfall in to ‘the big rut’.

6 – The Big Rut – rearranging the deck chairs

The key focus for a business in ‘the big rut’ is itself, internal matters such as job titles and perks are viewed more important than pleasing the customer. There is no desire to be creative and take risks; instead the company tries to marginally improve on the way they have always done things.

Organisations end up here when:

•    Key personnel leave
•    Creativity, risk taking, vision and zeal all die
•    Interest in the customer is replaced by focusing on internal needs
•    Frustration is replaced by complacency

Getting out of the big rut is a rare occurrence. Some ways of getting out might include: being acquired; shaking up management out of complacency; a bright spark somewhere coming up with a great idea reigniting vision. Or, someone with authority receives a wake up call and decides to take the organisation by the scruff of the neck.

Only a massive external intervention can prevent an organisation from declining from ‘the big rut’ to the next stage of ‘death rattle’.

7 – Death Rattle – the end

In this seventh and final stage, it is too late to do anything that might change the organisations fate. It may take time but at some point one of the following will happen:

•    Resources run out
•    Become technologically irrelevant
•    The market will move away

Make sure you read this book and avoid this stage!

In the book you will also find out how to stay in ‘predictable success’ once you are there.

Get in touch at nicky@propertyacademy.co.uk and let me know what stage you think your business is in and if you enjoy the book


Pygott & Crone


Best year yet, how did they do it?

“Following the phenomenal results of last year’s industry accolades (Gold Midlands, Gold Best Medium and Overall Estate Agency of the Year) we were able to capitalise on the pride, passion and motivation it generated throughout the company to springboard Pygott & Crone into its most successful year to date.

We have not only been able to improve our sales volumes and customer service still further, but on the back of the high moral and increased results we have been able to organically grow our staff numbers by nearly 30%, open 2 new offices and venture into ancillary areas of business previously untapped.” Says Nathan Emerson, Partner at Pygott & Crone.

Entries are now open to the most prestigious events in the industry, you can register online today at www.estateagencyevents.com



Stats to discuss with the team. What might they mean for your business?

78% of sellers & 86% of landlords did not choose the agent offering the cheapest fee.

Is fee the real issue for losing instructions? In the absence of any differentiator customers will shop on price.

242 appointments were booked in 45 minutes at last years Prospecting School UK

How many appointments might you book in 45 minutes?

12% of landlords are highly likely to be adding to their portfolio in the next 12 months, 21% said it is a possibility…

What processes do you have in place to ensure they come to you before your competitors?




New Homes Group


Members will be heading to award winning Greene & Co.’s head office to share challenges faced and ideas as well as learning about the psychology of persuasion and influence from expert speaker Phil Hesketh. (Host: Greene & Co. Topic: The Psychology of Persuasion and Influence)

Find out more about groups


Marketing Group


Property Academy group members are heading to Zoopla Property Group to learn from their expert marketing team and also ‘Managing Up’ from our speaker Glen Daley. (Host: Zoopla Property Group. Topic: Marketing Intelligence and Managing Up)


Find out more about groups


Prospecting School 2.0 with Josh Phegan


Must attend event for those looking to generate all the business you need from your database.

Find out more >>







Leadership Group


Keller Williams will be hosting this meeting in London, a worldwide innovative company that has launched into the UK. Our speaker Chris Croft will be delivering his entertaining and engaging session on project management. (Host: Keller Williams. Topic: Project Management.)

Find out more about groups


Leadership Summit


Exclusive one off event featuring world-class estate agency owners sharing their secrets to success.

Find out more >>







New Homes LIVE


Ever popular event in its third year showcasing latest innovations and ideas in the sector with speakers including Google.

Find out more >>









The biggest event in the estate agency calendar preceding the Estate Agency of the Year Awards. The seminar will offer       invaluable content from industry and non-industry speakers.

Find out more >>





Estate Agency of the Year Awards in association with The Sunday Times and The Times


Entries are now open! Enter now to be in with a chance of winning.








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