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Opinion Editorials

And Another Thing – Busted

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Lani busted me. I put this post on my site and then pulled it when I thought it might be a little much for my public. I thought only John G had seen but obviously not. I spoke to my dearest friend yesterday who thought I should repost it minus the foul language. (My mother’s a truck driver.) After talking with Lani it seems she agreed. I’m new to this blogging thing and haven’t yet determined what posts go where.

If I haven’t said this enough, I think I’m funny. After getting flogged for my sarcastic humor, I went ballistic in black and white. So here’s the cleaner, more professional version.

queen.jpgWarning: If you’re easily offended change the channel. My posts are a monarchy and I’m the queen.

I enjoy a good debate. Several times I’ve been reprimanded online for that passion. You gotta be passionate about something otherwise why bother? If you have a good argument, let’s get it on. If you’re going to personally attack me, you’ll be hanged at the gallows.

Facts: I’m a single woman living in one of the most expensive economies in the country. I support myself in every way. There’s no boyfriend (looking though), no sugar daddy, no family, no trust fund. I pay for every paperclip.

I work my butt (bad word removed) off. If you have any doubt of that, read the comments my clients have posted – in their own words. I’ve worked 7 days straight for the past two weeks (now I’m up to 17 days) to provide my clients with the best real estate services they’ll ever find and myself a roof over my head. My goal is referrals, not the one time deal, slam them into a house and never see them again. Nobody’s going to refer me anything if I’m an idiot with no knowledge or opinion. I have to go out on the line. That’s one of the most valuable services I provide; an educated, knowledgeable and honest opinion with no meaningless rhetoric (bad word removed).

Recently I closed escrow with a great guy. He listened to what I had to say, appreciated and trusted my input. I gained that trust. I didn’t tell him I’m trustworthy, honest. I proved it. During the offer period, we had a conversation about the appliances. He had his own and did not need the ones provided for in the purchase. I suggested that he include them in the contract so that the elderly, ill seller did not have to deal with the inconvenience of having them removed. I further suggested that if he got the property at a good price, it would be worth his time to handle it. I didn’t leave him to deal with it. I found happy takers for the fridge, washer and dryer, and arranged the pickup.

A client I sold a house to six years ago called the other day. I’ve kept in contact with them with phone calls and congratulations on every family milestone. What’s important to them is important to me. I told them that I didn’t have the best of news. They were going to have to work hard to sell their house, price it precisely right, it was going to take time and they would have to exercise a great deal of patience. She said: That’s why I called. I knew you’d be honest with us.

That’s the point. I am honest. You may not want to hear what I have to say but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it with every fiber. Sure, I’ve been fired by buyers who didn’t hear what they wanted to. I wished them the best. I hope they found a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood and had a wonderful experience with their realtor.

Do you want fabrication (bad word removed) or do you want the truth?

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    October 24, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    It’s so hard not to oversell to a seller and just be brutally honest backed up with solutions. I fear the crunch will be felt worse by those suckered into the so-called easy do it yourself way. It’s going to take a closer to close in this market, not a pretty avm or a sexy new website. Realtors like you Vicki are the value added- you are the product, god help those looking for a generic version that promises pie in the sky. Way to tell it like it is…

  2. Lani Anglin

    October 24, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Now THAT’S what I call a commission defense! I love how you’ve shown your worth and (as Benn put it) your value added.

    Great article, Vicki- your community is lucky to have you (as is *duh* Agent Genius)!

  3. ines

    October 25, 2007 at 2:50 am

    I did not see anything offensive in that post at all. Honesty is key Vicki and it may not get us the job right away, but it does in the long run.

    Good for you and keep sticking to your guns.

  4. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:34 am

    Here is a question that I have learned to ask…

    “Do I have permission to tell you the truth?”

    No one ever says “no” and then they are actually more apt to listen to what I have to say.

  5. Vicki Moore

    October 25, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I bet when you ask permission to tell the truth the client leans in. That’s powerful.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.

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What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

How to build a company culture while working remotely

(OPINION EDITORIAL) It seems that even a post COVID-19 world will involve remote work, so how can you build and maintain a strong work culture that ensures growth and satisfaction?

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culture remotely

New startups and existing companies are starting to transition to a fully remote (or nearly fully remote) model, but what does this mean for work culture? If you’re not careful, your work culture could easily become diminished as you transition to a remote environment, and if you’re building a company from the ground up, you may not have a strong culture to begin with.

Culture isn’t something you can afford to give up, so how can you build and maintain your company culture while working remotely?

The importance of a strong work culture

Maintaining a strong, consistent company culture is vital, even if your company is operating remotely. With a strong work culture, you’ll enjoy benefits like:

  • Better recruiting potential. A company with strong work culture will seem more attractive to talented candidates. The best people in the industry will want to work at a place with a great team and a great set of values.
  • Like-minded teammates. Establishing a consistent work culture allows you to selectively hire, then maintain employees who are like-minded. Employees with similar goals and mentalities, even if they come from different backgrounds, will be able to collaborate more efficiently.
  • Smoother communication. A strong foundational work culture that establishes goals, values, and beliefs within an organization can enable smoother, more efficient communication. Staff members will be on the same page with regard to high-level priorities, and will be able to exchange information in similar patterns.
  • Lower stress and less turnover. Better work cultures generally mean lower stress for employees, and accordingly, less employee turnover. Of course, this assumes you’re hiring good fits for the organization in the first place.
  • A better public reputation. Your work culture can also boost your public reputation—especially if you emphasize core values that are important to your target audience.

How to build company culture remotely

Traditionally, you can use in-person team-building sessions, regular meetings, and workplace rules to establish and maintain your company culture, but while working remotely, you’ll need to employ a different set of tactics, like:

  • Hiring the right candidates. Building a great culture starts with hiring. You have to find candidates who fit with your organization, and already share your core values. If someone doesn’t agree with your high-level approach, or if they don’t like your rules or workflows, they aren’t going to do their best work. These same considerations should be applied to your third party hires as well; agencies and freelancers should also fit into your values.
  • Hosting virtual team-building events. You can’t host in-person team-building events, but that doesn’t mean that team-building is inaccessible to you. Consider hosting a video conference to introduce your team members to each other, or bond over a shared event. You could also host virtual game nights, or provide team lunches to celebrate wins. Any excuse to engage with each other in a non-work context can help employees feel more connected and part of the team, and there are plenty of options to make it work virtually.
  • Streamlining communication. Good communication is both a constituent factor and a byproduct of effective company culture. If you want your culture to thrive, you have to set good standards for communication, and encourage your employees to communicate with each other consistently and openly. People need to feel heard when they speak, and feel comfortable voicing their opinions—even if they don’t agree with their superiors. There should also be easily accessible channels for communication at all levels. Over time, this foundation will help your employee communication improve.
  • Improving transparency. Workplace transparency is important for any employer, but it’s especially important for remote businesses trying to build or maintain a strong culture—and it’s challenging if you’re operating remotely. If you’re open and honest about your goals and how you operate, employees will feel more trusted and more engaged with their work. Strive to answer questions honestly and disclose your motivations.
  • Publishing and reiterating company core values. One of the biggest factors responsible for making a company culture unique is its set of core values. Spend some time developing and refining your list of core values. Once finished, publish them for all employees to read, and make time to reiterate them regularly so employees remember them.
  • Making employees feel valued. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make your employees feel valued. Take the time to show your appreciation however you can, whether it’s through a simple thank-you message or an occasional cash bonus, and be sure to listen to employee feedback when you get it.

Building a work culture in a remote environment is more challenging, and requires consideration of more variables, but it’s certainly possible with the right mentality. Spend time setting your priorities, and make sure you’re consistent in your execution.

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