Some producers have cracked the generating business code. It is a tough one. It takes a lot of hard work, a bit of eccentricity and persistence. Those that land at the top of the mountain report the view is good, but it is lonely.
The reality is that the skills you employed to earn Top Dog status become liabilities at scale. Your brilliant “on the fly” and “solopreneur” decision models impact people, impact processes and impact your growth. One underutilized management tool in the world of top performing real estate pros is the simple rule. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is the most ridiculous blog post ever penned, hear me out.
In the book Simple Rules by Don Sull provides the following description: “A handful of rules that are tailored to the user and task at hand that balance concrete guidance with the freedom to exercise judgement.” Checklists are great, but they bury you in complexity and are not right for every situation. Setting up a file has very specific pre-defined steps that are suited to a checklist. But, prioritizing workload or negotiating concessions are not cut and dried.
You operate from your own set of rules every day, driven by your values and common sense. You prioritize your day, you prioritize your call back lists, you make financial decisions for yourself and your business. The challenge is that we very rarely pull that information out of our head and share it with our team. When we do, it is often at the cost of specificity. Statements like “customer first” and “provide great service” are spectacular components of an overall brand, but they don’t help your team member make decisions without you.
The How And Where
Simple Rules are not a replacement for the checklists, they help us make non-checklist decisions. Below are three areas in which simple rules can help your team act autonomously with example rule sets.
Prioritizing Team Workload – Timing Rules
1) Purchases first, prioritized by closing date.
2) Purchases from our key referral partners before that.
3) Touch files once, work them until they are ready for the next step.
4) Escalate to all necessary parties any “deal breakers” immediately.
Managing Leads – Prioritizing Rules
1) No lead is left behind, ever.
2) Freshest leads first, every lead gets a call within the first hour.
3) The work committed to contacted leads is finished before moving on.
4) Our lead report is 100% accurate at the end of each business day.
Dealing with Loan File Issues – Stopping Rules
1) Deal breakers are escalated immediately to the MLO
2) All other issues and created issues are documented and dealt with concurrently.
3) Any file with deal breaker issues is worked every day until resolved.
4) No file sits for more than 1 week with a deal breaker issue without involvement of all parties.
These examples are fairly obvious, in fact, you are probably doing this now. If you have a seasoned team member, they already know how you operate. The leadership trick is to institutionalize the knowledge in your head.
The next time you are tasked with a big decision about your business, consider HOW you make it. What rules are you using? Write them down, test them, roll them out and let your team do the work of doing the work.