As a technology entrepreneur in the Hamptons Real Estate business I find that one of the most challenging parts of the job is finding good agents. Rosehip Partners is always evolving, our technical platform, our massive database of rental properties, our very business practices change and grow on a day to day basis. We consider ourselves a technology company that happens to be in the real estate business. The most successful members of out team embrace change, work to quickly understand how the changes affect their business and quickly get on board without (too much) complaining about the inevitable speed bumps and misunderstandings that come part and parcel.
As we interview new agents, increasingly common as our business grows I am happy to report, I think the single most important aspects in judging their potential for success is to somehow guage two traits. First is what I call their “adaptability index.” How comfortable are they with constant change? Will they get on board new technology initiatives, data management practices, customer service strategies or will they passively or even actively resist, insisting that “I’ve always done it this way” or “we’re not salaried employees you cant TELL us what to do!”
The second quality for success I term each individual’s “team orientation.” In one way it’s very linked with the adaptability index in that once a decision and direction is taken by the team, or by management, even if they are not in total agreement with it, do they get on board so that everyone on the team is singing from the same sheet of music, or do they continue to resist either passively or overtly weakening the power of the initiative and it’s chances for success? In another way, team orientation has to do with how well agents work with other agents. Hamptons Real Estate is famous for being cut throat, you know, the eat what you kill, come near my dog bowl and I’ll bite you, zero sum game, way of thinking. Yeah, it’s a tough business, and as agents we will periodically bump up against each other but in order to grow our individual business as well as the entire team’s success we must be willing to support our fellow team members even if there is no direct benefit to us or EVEN if it costs us an opportunity in the short term.
Been thinking about these ideas the last several days as people have been interviewing to join our team and last night this article I saw in Bloomberg Business Week kind of coalesced my thoughts. The authors tackle the same subject but from the opposite end of the looking glass. They postulate that as important as hiring the right team members is not being afraid to fire negative influences whose attitude weakens team cohesiveness and saps the organization of critical energy. So let me close this post by citing two oft quoted business luminaries. First, Ted Turner, who famously said when discussing criteria for success in an organization, “Either lead, follow or get out of the way,” and finally the great orange haired real estate maven, Donald Trump… “You’re fired!”