Reflection, renewal, rethinking the old ways: This is the perfect time of year to reevaluate the way you do things, writes Nikki Beauchamp. Here, she shares 20 questions that should guide the process.
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The end of the year is a natural time to reflect and recalibrate. I have always been a bit of a business planning nerd, a bit of a purist. That is absolutely a holdover from business school.
When I decided to become a real estate broker, that certainly was a transferrable skill. I love that there is now much more conversation and training around business planning. In any business, one must proactively assess performance, strategies and dynamics (and think about the exit and or succession strategy, but we will talk about that in some other article).
There are many variations based on the core concepts; find the one that resonates and works for you to go through a strategic thought process resulting in a plan you can work with.
Inspired by a recent Harvard Business Review article, these questions can provide a tremendous boost to start off the new year strong — even if you don’t feel that your team is stuck, stymied or stale.
Let’s look at this as a year-end exercise and consider how these insights can apply to real estate. While the article itself focused on teams, my premise is that it can apply to a sole practitioner, team or brokerage.
Realignment: Resetting the team’s mandate
1. What external trends require us to adapt?
Given the dynamic nature of the industry, influenced by economic, technological and societal trends, think through how to frame, identify and adapt to these external factors to ensure your team remains agile and responsive to market demands. This is a perennial need, and clear, concise communication will be the critical part of the strategy.
2. How does a shift in company strategy affect your role?
As the winds, or tidal waves of change, surround any business, companies may shift strategy, which may necessitate a realignment of individual roles. Understanding and embracing these shifts ensures team members contribute effectively to the overarching objectives.
3. How is your value within the organization evolving?
It’s crucial to assess how each team member’s skills and contributions align with the organization’s evolving needs and how this rolls upwards within an organizational chart and fiscal impact. This self-awareness aids in personal and professional development.
Resetting the team’s goals
4. How will you build on prior results?
Reflect on past achievements and strategize on how to leverage them for future success. Identifying strengths and building upon them reinforces the team’s capabilities.
5. How will external factors affect your goals?
Considering external influences, such as market trends and economic shifts, ensures that team goals remain realistic and adaptable to the ever-changing environment.
6. What can you do to improve your measures?
Continuous measuring and improvement are essential. Assessing the effectiveness of performance metrics and adjusting them as needed ensures that goals are measurable and attainable.
Resetting strategies and tactics
7. Are your strategies aligned with your mandate?
Clarify and communicate how the team’s strategies align with the overarching mandate. This ensures that efforts are focused on achieving the broader objectives.
8. Where do you need revised tactics?
Acknowledge areas where current tactics may fall short and be open to revising them to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. Maybe this is where you bring in exciting and compelling training, internal or external. Think of it as an opportunity.
9. What contingencies might emerge?
Real estate is inherently unpredictable. Preparing for contingencies ensures the team is equipped to handle unexpected challenges that may arise.
10. Do people need a change in role?
Evaluate individual roles to ensure they align with team goals and capitalize on each member’s strengths. Nothing is static in life, and over time, there can be an evolution that means revisiting the current role and the ideal best use of a particular skill set.
11. How could you make accountabilities more straightforward?
Clear accountabilities contribute to effective teamwork. Simplifying roles and responsibilities fosters accountability and transparency within the team.
Revitalization: Resetting team processes
12. Can you reset your communication channels?
In a rapidly changing real estate market, effective communication is key. Assess and reset communication channels to ensure timely and relevant information exchange.
13. What warrants synchronous communication?
Identify instances where synchronous communication is essential for swift decision-making and collaboration. There are so many tech tools out there, but in many ways the most essential tool is the one that will get used. Figure this out based on feedback from your team and the measurable usage stats if you’ve implemented a new tool.
14. How could you implement blackout periods?
Introduce blackout periods to minimize distractions and allow team members to focus on critical tasks without interruption.
15. How could you optimize your standing meetings?
Evaluate the efficiency of regular meetings and make adjustments to streamline processes and improve productivity. Not everything needs to be a meeting, either; re-evaluate why a meeting is being called and the best method to conduct it. An overload of meetings in any industry takes you away from the things you need to do and creates a feeling of perpetually needing to “catch up.”
16. Does the participant list need to change?
Reassess the composition of meeting participants to ensure that key stakeholders are present and contributing effectively.
17. Do you need to prepare better?
Improve meeting preparation to ensure time is utilized efficiently and goals are achieved during each session. Plan better so that the meeting is run well; a poorly run meeting can be like nails on a chalkboard. Even worse are unnecessary meetings.
Resetting team dynamics
18. What would be your new ground rules?
Establishing new ground rules helps shape a positive and collaborative team culture, fostering an environment conducive to success.
19. How could you resolve conflict debts?
Addressing unresolved conflicts is crucial for maintaining a healthy team dynamic. Encourage open communication and resolution strategies.
20. What activities would foster insight into each other?
Promote team-building activities that provide insight into each member’s strengths, preferences and working styles. This enhances collaboration and understanding.
As the industry undergoes continuous transformation, a proactive approach to realignment, goal-setting and team revitalization is imperative. By engaging with these 20 questions as a part of a year-end review, teams can position themselves for success in the future, embracing change and fostering a dynamic and resilient workplace culture.
Nikki Beauchamp is an advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty in New York City. Connect with her on LinkedIn.