In his last major work, “The 8th Habit”, Stephen Covey suggested that we live in a time of “permanent whitewater”. And if you think about what’s happened and is happening in the world, our country, local community, business, family, indeed what’s happened to you in the last year and will happen in the next five years, then I bet his metaphor rings true for many of us.
Change is one of the three constants in life. The other two are principles, things that never change, and choices – we always have options, we can always make a choice. We’ve been told time and again that the pace of change is increasing, for decades commentators have said “these are times of great change” – in fact they’ve been saying it for centuries.
It’s time to accept that this is normal. Each year heralds new challenges, new opportunities, new issues and 2019 is no different with Brexit and the tenant fee ban for starters – and those we know are going to happen, what about the myriad of things that occur each year that couldn’t/haven’t been foreseen?
As I begin the process of planning for 2019, both personally and with our members, I’m reminded of Stephen’s advice from 14 years ago – rather than seek what you can change to meet the new challenges, instead focus on what can and should be consistent.
I’ve worked with 30 agency owners on our Summit Programme over the last three years and one of the first things I ask them to establish is a clear sense of purpose, something at the core to guide the leadership and the team alike. I call this a ‘FBI’ (Fantastic Big Idea), something that unites everyone associated with a business and most definitely the team, customers and investors.
There are many great examples in other industries: For Nike it’s ‘winning’ – helping athletes and park runners alike to be the best that they can be. For drug company GSK it’s ‘to help people do more, feel better, live longer.’ At the Property Academy our purpose is ‘to inspire people to fulfil their potential.’ The vast majority of business owners get the concept but often struggle to define their business purpose. Although going against one of my key beliefs of effective learning, that it’s the work that yields the result, I now offer a FBI to estate agents with the suggestion they can replace it in the future if they wish. And it’s this: ‘we enable people to move on with their lives.’
Why does this matter?
Principles never change and one to note here is that people’s lives are constantly changing – and that their home is a really important factor to both accelerate and restrict these changes. Estate agents have the ability to move people not just to their next property but to the next stage of their life.
This is a quite remarkable responsibility and is the main reason why so many of us love the work we do. So my suggestion this morning is to stop wasting energy on planning for Brexit, (you can’t), or worrying about the tenant fee ban, (it’s happening, do something else like charge landlords more), or debating the new ‘disruptive’ models, (they’re here to stay) and instead focus your all on helping people to move. It’s been at the core of the industry since the very first sale or let and will still be the guiding principle for decades to come.
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