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A Leader’s Job: Clarify the Future For the Confused and Afraid

 

What keeps you up at night and why you should sleep soundly.

“If you manage my fear of the future, I will follow you.”

In my 45 years in the real estate industry, I’ve never seen as much confusion and fear as we are experiencing right now. A recent survey of several hundred top- producing real estate professionals asked, “What is causing you to lay awake at night?” Their No. 1 fear was lack of inventory. Number 2 was their fear of changes in our industry. Specifically: Which lead generation, marketing, and social media platforms should I be using? How should I be using them? Will the outside disruptors come in and reinvent our industry leaving me out? How is AI (artificial intelligence) going to change my business? If we are moving from a real estate industry to a technology industry, what does that mean for me? I’m confused and afraid.

As a leader, your primary role is to clarify the future. Clarity is the antidote to anxiety. Help your people see the clear path through the noise and confusion. What to do? First, get clear on a successful strategy. Here are some ideas to help you.

Build Your Strategy on Universal Truths

Start by reading Marcus Buckingham’s classic The One Thing You Need to Know. The one thing you need to know is that, as a leader, you must clarify the future. Your job is to get as many people as possible excited about the future. To do that, Buckingham says,

“The great leader must discover what is universal and capitalize on it.” Build your strategy on universal truths.

How do you discover what is universal? Anthropologist Donald Brown’s book, Human Universals, lists 372 universals. Here are the top three:

1. Fear of death—our own and our family

2. Fear of the outsider and the need for community (the safety of a tribe)

3. Fear of the future and our need for clarity

Other than the fear of death, the next two fears are the responsibility of the leader. You merely need to do three things to help your associates: build a tribe, so they don’t feel alone; show them a clear path to success in the future and keep them on the path and away from the distractions that cause them to be confused and afraid.

Build Your Tribe

While your associates want to be a part of something, building a tribe can be a challenge today. With technology, mobile agents have become more independent and separate. It’s easier for them to be less connected and less of a tribe. They used to look to their tribe (each other) or their leader for answers. Now, they look to their screens searching for silver bullets, magic dust, and leads. They simply get more distracted, confused and afraid.

To build your tribe, focus on building relationships with your people. Relationships are built on what we call flow. Flow is the frequency of interaction. Increase your flow with your people. There are companies where nearly their entire sales force is mobile. They don’t have an office where they can see each other each day, yet they have an amazing culture and tribe because their leaders focus on flow. Flow fixes everything.

Show them a Clear Path to Success

Clarify a winning strategy and business model for your associates to follow. We recommend having your sales associates place their bets on building relationships. Humans are social animals and want relationships (another universal truth). Help your associates invest their money in the people they know and want to get to know versus buying leads and spending their time and money chasing strangers. Chasing strangers causes fear and confusion.

Keep them on the Path

Keep your associates focused on the winning strategy by encouraging them to turn off the noise of the continuous internet feeds tempting them to buy the latest shiny object. They are easily distracted, and we live a world of endless distraction. Sell the clear path strategy by sharing the success stories you learn from your associates.

Finally, clarify that we are not in the real estate business. We are in the people (relationship) business. Real estate is simply the vehicle we use to help our clients get from the life they have to the life about which they dream. Clarify that relationships are the killer app. Clarify the power and culture of your tribe. Your associates will no longer be confused and afraid. They will be clear, empowered, prosperous, and sleeping at night! And, so will you.

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