Align or die - The reality of why so few companies ever last the test of time

Imagine you were fired. A new CEO was installed, what would they do next? It’s the hallmark question of great CEO’s, rethinking what’s possible, reimagining, realigning and rebuilding.

The number one thing leaders need to do in turbulent markets is to reinvest - into people, process and resources. You’ll never cost-cut your way to greatness. To build a great business, you need to be super clear on your operating system.

That operating system is built on three foundations:

  1. Purpose - why you’re here, what you do for the customer, the ultimate quest. Nintendo’s - make people smile. Compass - to help people find their place in the world, ours, to help estate agents achieve their potential and reach financial freedom.
  2. Mission - a set of specific numbers - think the number of sales, properties under management, customers served.
  3. Values - the set of rules of how we play the game. If people don’t know the rules they can’t play by them if the leaders don’t live out the values, neither will anyone else.

You can get by without them for a while, you can spend a lot of money creating an exceptional brand, but if it’s not underpinned by those essential its starts to break. You won’t know why people grate on you, why certain behaviours keep happening, and you can’t align your team to achieve the mission. Even worse you can’t hire, manage or fire to those set of values.

Values aid in fast decision making. You’re taking all the decision responsibility out of your arena and placing it into everyone else’s, so more people are making significant decisions more often.

The mission is critical, as you get clear on the intent of the organisation. What’s incredible is that we measure market share of listings and sales, but we don’t measure market share of properties under management?

Instead, we have people go on quests to gain a net 100 properties per annum, but is that an audacious goal? What if the market is 10,000 properties and we have 300 under management? What happens if we have 3,000 and the market size is 3,200? You have to know where to grow, is it about building saleable value? Cashflow? Or a mixture of both?

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When you get clear on the mission, you deploy the right resources in the right spaces, with the right people. You then use those values to ensure the right behaviours. You realise that essential business processes need to be in play and understood.

Simple things like:

  1. How we generate our revenue
  2. The markets we serve
  3. How we generate leads
  4. Our listing pitch
  5. How we sell properties in under 28 days
  6. How property management and sales work together
  7. How we recruit
  8. How we grow people
  9. The payment models for teams
  10. The growth drivers of the business
  11. The meeting rhythm, consistency and overall etc

So where do you start?

Get your executive team together. If that’s you all good, if it’s a team of 10 even better. Set aside 13 days a year for planning. A 2-day annual planning session, a quarterly and a monthly planning day. Aligning focus is incredible.

Keep the mission the mission. It’s that simple. Will this or won’t this help us to achieve the mission? That should be the guiding decision around what projects to pursuit to ensure the business achieves it.

Align your resources. There are amazing people in your business who are completely underutilised. What functions are performing well? What functions need work? We use 'what worked well and even better if' process to assist in guiding decisions.

Measure. Your dashboard is crucial. Decide on the key numbers, when you need to meet, and how frequently you need to meet so you can adjust and take corrective action. For salespeople, I look at listing sales and income, month to date every week, and buyer appointments, market appraisals and listing appointments week to date. I review them every Friday at 4 pm, so then I can adjust for next weeks activities and outcomes.

Never grow tired of speaking about the purpose, the mission and the values. Ray Kroc built McDonald's on quality, service, value, cleanliness. He said those words a billion times. If it’s good enough for Ray, it’s good enough for you. Define your values and stick to them.

Intent leads to organisational clarity, which lets you train for technical competence. Hold yourself to high expectations and others will follow.

This article first appeared on Elite Agent: