On the whiteboard in our office right now is a bunch of scribbling about ‘Team.’
For most agents, the move from individual to ‘team’ is unnerving. Here are some things to think about if you are considering making the move.
Remember, there is no guarantee that forming a team will actually work. Anyone considering creating a team has to be extremely comfortable dissolving a team. In other words, imagine a point 6 or 12 months in the future where you look at your teammate, the person you have been training and grooming to deliver the best possible client experience, and have the guts to say ‘we are done.’
If you can’t see yourself pulling the plug, don’t start a team.
No Best Form
No one form of team is best. The type of team should be designed for a specific purpose. Don’t try to form a work-sharing team when you are really looking to ramp up your business. Which leads to …
You have to recognize the type of team you are forming. Some teams are formed for specific purposes (like to represent a neighborhood or development) while others are more in the spirit of Gary Keller’s MREA top-down model.
We identified another 3-4 basic structures, but any and all forms are legitimate, you just need to make sure that you (and your teammates) understand the structure and the purpose.
Management is Where it Falls Down
Forming a team and managing it are two different skills.
If you feel as if a team is the next logical step in your growth, but you are not comfortable with making decisions about employees, direction, quality control, accountability, and budget, then your team is fatally flawed on Day 1.
Management is about leadership and great leaders do more than just give speeches.
Systems, System, Systems
A team without systems is doomed to fail.
If you don’t have systems to aid in communication, lead tracking and follow up, transaction management and this thing called a ‘budget’ (anyone ever heard of this budget thing???), then, don’t start.
A goal without a plan is a wish.
Blame is not a Strategy
If someone isn’t pulling their weight, it is the leader’s fault.
If there is bickering over the split, it is the leader’s fault.
If the goals are not met, it is the leader’s fault.
If a client is not satisfied, it is the leader’s fault.
Notice a theme?
As a leader, you give credit, but you accept blame.
1+1=3 (or More!)
The best teams are formed to monetize excess opportunity. When one person has excess opportunity and another has excess capacity, teams tend to work really well.
If the team leader can make it rain for everyone, all is good.
Good Base = Good Growth
A properly built team grows organically. An improperly built team constantly fights uphill.
When you get the right pieces in place and everyone understands their role, the business flows. This is actually a hallmark of ALL successful teams — business, sports, entertainment — so you will know when you have it right.
Income increases AND the customer experience is enhanced.
You Have to ‘Sell Team‘
And this is key — you have to sell ‘team’ from day one.
When anyone in your organization meets with a client, they have to sell the concept of ‘team.’ All team members have to help the client understand that they will be dealing with different individuals at different points in the process — TO THE CLIENT BENEFIT.
Ambitious Teammates are Fine
An ambitious teammate is a great teammate, in my opinion.
We have seen several instances where a leader is hesitant to take on a newbie with an overactive ambition gene and who has declared that being on a team is temporary. Yes, the super-duper team member may be ‘one and done,’ but enjoy it while it lasts.
I’ll take ambition and gumption over the opposite any day.
The Comp Plan is Key
Commit to the comp plan and be willing to lose a teammate over it.
While arguing about money is never fun, you can’t try to square up every deal after it is done. Just because one was easy and one was hard does not mean you should adjust the pay each time.
Can you adjust the comp plan if it becomes abundantly clear that it is not fair? Yes. But adjusting it after every deal is an extremely bad idea.
Sorry, but if a team member wants to leave because they worked really hard on a deal and wants a bigger cut, you have to be willing to let them go.
Meet regularly and be willing to have hard conversations. If you can’t be direct and honest with one another, don’t form a team.
Good fences make good neighbors –– talk often and talk honestly.
We Could Go On and On
We probably have another 20 thoughts and observations, but we can save those for another day.
Just know that a properly constructed group (or team) will out-produce an individual any day — so a well-built team is inherently more powerful.
But as powerful as a good team can be, a bad one can be as destructive, if not more. So take team building seriously and don’t assume that simply saying you are team will work.
Don’t take team formation lightly and don’t enter into a relationship without a great deal of thought — it is harder than it looks.