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Musings on how brokers can better motivate agents in 2015

In the modern era, old tactics won’t work, so what can brokers do to more effectively motivate agents to produce more?

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Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, discusses ways to motivate others. I picked it up because I’ve been considering new and different ways to assist independent contractors (Realtors®) to close more deals, make more money, and focus their time on business-building activities as opposed to the mundane details associated with the real estate transaction.

Daniel Pink’s Suggestions for Motivating Staff

In his book, Pink shares some interesting social experiments. For one, money is not a motivator in most situations. Pink says that money will only motivate people for a certain period of time and has no sustainability for the long haul. Say, for example, that the top agent in your office gets some sort of bonus or the agents who achieve a certain level of production get some other sort of dangling carrot. According to Pink, this type of motivation will not sustain their motivation and provides examples of tests where individuals were motivated to solve puzzles for money as compared to just for fun.

Pink gives lots of examples for ways to run an office and motivate a salaried staff. He recommends a certain amount of autonomy in how work is done, and encourages the staff to be involved in setting the goals.

Perhaps my favorite example from the book is when Pink points out that Tom Sawyer was really quite a gifted motivator. Remember the most famous scene when he is punished and must whitewash the picket fence? Well, do you remember how that plays out? His buddies come by and start picking on him. But when he tells them that whitewashing is fun, he is able to compel those around him to help him get that fence white.

Tom Sawyer, a Star Motivator

So, how can you apply Pink’s ideas and Tom Sawyer’s mean motivational skills to a group of independent contractors? Since Realtors® control their own time already and since they have a lot of independence in how they run their real estate businesses, how can you help them to get more skin in the game, be the best that they can be, and build bigger businesses?

For me, that is a tough call. I can lead the horse to water but sometimes I cannot make it drink. I can hold weekly meetings, coaching classes and trainings that provide innovation and education so that my agents have the opportunity to be the best that they can be. But, at the end of the day, if they don’t want to participate, I’m challenged. Any exertion of control might deplete their ability to be autonomous.

For the real estate broker, it’s like we are walking on a tightrope and we have limited ability to sway one way or another without falling. For me, the solution is merely to lead by example. By showing that those who participate, attend meetings and embrace new innovations are the ones that are the most successful, my hope is that the others will see that and say “maybe I should do that too?”

Face it, there are lots of really cool ways to build your real estate business in 2015, but you’ve got to be motivated to succeed. Good to know that dangling carrots will not work. But for managing independent contractors, who knows… maybe the best solution would be to hire Tom Sawyer as your Sales Manager?

Melissa is an in-demand business success speaker and author, as well as a real estate broker with thousands of short sale transactions under her belt. She leverages her experience as a short sale insider to motivate thousands of business professionals to plan their careers better, execute more effectively on their plan, and earn more because of it.

Professionalism

How to recognize and use free time at work like the gift it is

(PRODUCTIVITY) Free time during your workday can lead to furthering your mind and productivity. Learn how to use it wisely.

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Woman writing in journal representing working on a winning business culture.

Clocked in but clocked out

We’ve all had those slow days at work where we’re looking for ways to kill the time until the clock strikes five.

While it can be tempting to use this time to text or mess around on the Internet, there are much better ways to use that free time that will make your future so much easier.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

First off, tidy up your workspace. Papers and items have a way of accumulating and may be distracting you even if you don’t realize it. By organizing your stuff and throwing away what you don’t need, you’re able to breathe and focus within your workspace.

It also does wonders for your work brain to clear up your email inbox.

Once that’s all done, plan out the rest of your work week. Make a list of the major goals you’d like to accomplish and then a sub-list of how you’ll knock those goals out. Update your calendar and make sure everything is on track.

Social media, networking, and research

It’s also beneficial to use this downtime to further yourself and your organization. Three ways you can do this is through: social media, networking, and research.

If you have access, take some time to look through your company’s social media and see what can be done to enhance it. Either throw up some posts yourself or pitch ideas to the social media manager.

Networking can be done in this small amount of time by sending out “catch up” emails to old colleagues, “welcome emails” to new clients or introduction emails to LinkedIn contacts.

Send them a “how’s it going?,” tell them what’s new with you, and see what they have going on. You never know where networking can lead so it’s always good to stay in touch.

With research, see what the latest trends are in your field and study up on them. This may give you new ways to look at projects and tasks at hand. And, it’s always beneficial to have continued learning.

Get Smart(er)

While on the subject of continued learning, take this time to mess around with something you may not feel completely knowledgeable of. Maybe dig around RPR data, perhaps practice using different computer programs it is never a bad a idea to nourish your brain.

Having free time during the workday is something of a gift. If you can help it, try not to waste it.

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Professionalism

Bill Gates’ big regret of a simple command haunts him, what haunts you?

(EDITORIAL) If BIll Gates is still living with a big regret, it’s time to ponder your own, your own humanity, and consider moving past it in a healthy way.

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It has come to light that Microsoft founder Bill Gates regrets some of the original design decisions of the PC. Namely, the CTRL+ALT+DEL command that allows you to log in to the computer, due to its lack of simplicity when trying to access a key part of a computer’s operating system.

I know Mr. Gates probably has other regrets when looking at the span of his more than thirty years involvement with being associated with one of the most profitable companies in the world. I am assuming that you also have some regrets you have also in regard to your own business and/or career.

We all do.

According to psychologists, regret occurs when an something perceived as an error is made that has some personal accountability tied to it. If you’ve ever been a part of a business team, supervising employees, or been the boss, you’ve had a wealth of personal accountability. And, since you’re human, you’ve definitely made some mistakes.

One of my former bosses told me after a long day, in which I made some mistakes: You did the best you could have with the information you had. More than likely, if you’re agonizing about that mistaken car reservation or wrong decimal point, you made a normal human error. Even if it isn’t a small day to day thing, but perhaps a big issue with some big consequences, you can move on from that. It will be okay.

A great way to move on from a failure or mistake in business is to use the situation as a lesson for the future. Chances are, if you’re a team leader who messed up a relationship with an agent, you will have more agents in the future to avoid that error with.

Learning from your mistakes, and using your errors as fuel to increase your motivation for the next project, is a great way to deal with regrets healthily. If you don’t process your regrets, you can deal with a wealth of mental and physical health problems like chronic stress, depression, and damage to the systems that regulate your hormones.

You will have mistakes, but those mistakes have gotten you to this point in your life. It’s impossible to guess how your life would change if you were able to go back and fix that one thing that feels like a turning point in your business life. Living in spite of regrets is one of the hardest challenges in life to face, but just like Gates, you will accept the past and move on.

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Professionalism

Working Woman’s Wife: on-demand assistants for busy female brokers and agents

Austin startup, Working Woman’s Wife, offers on-demand help for ambitious female executives juggling work and home life.

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Over the past half century, women have made enormous strides into the workplace, including previously male-dominated professions. More than ever, women are serving as executives for major organizations, starting their own businesses, and finding success in the world of real estate.

Unfortunately, women’s success in the working world has not been counterbalanced by a reduction in their responsibilities at home. Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor last year reveal that women are still doing the vast majority of housework, including childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping for household amenities.

On an average day, half of all women are completing chores and errands, while only 19 percent of men are contributing to running the household.

Even when men do pitch in, they tend to spend less hours on housework, while women often cut into their work time or overbook and overstress themselves to manage both their careers and their households.

Helping ambitious women every day

An Austin-based startup wants to help ambitious women who “have long been without the advantages wives have provided to men.” The Working Woman’s Wife is an all-around personal assistance and concierge service fulfilling many of the housewifely functions that have long given men a leg-up in the business world.

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According to the Working Woman’s Wife, women complete an average of 18 hours per week of unpleasant and unpaid work, which means they have less time to advance their careers or spend quality time with their families.

When you hire a “wife,” she will complete many of these tasks for you, including office task such as emails and data entry, organization of your personal spaces or office, pet care, party planning and cleanup, cooking, laundry, running errands, personal shopping, and chauffeuring. They can even hang out at your place until the repairman shows up, so you don’t have to waste half a day of work taking care of a household problem.

How pricing for a “wife” works

Wives are available by purchasing packages of hours in increments of 30, 60, 80, or 100 hours per month, starting at $900 per month. Currently the Working Woman’s Wife serves the Austin, Texas area, but they are hoping to open chapters in Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Boulder, and the Silicon Valley.

Busy women brokers, real estate agents, and executives could obviously benefit from having someone take care of all of the “little things” that so often burden women who could be making more money, advancing their careers, and relaxing, if they had the time.

However, I can’t help but wonder who will be helping your “wife” run her own household while she is busily tending to yours. It’s great to see women wanting to help out other women, but maybe it would be better if men would step up to the plate. In lieu of $900 per month, perhaps you can convince your hubbie to pick up some of the slack instead.

#WorkingWomansWife

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