July 22, 2008

Pretty Good…But Can We Make It Better?

It’s been said that “good is the enemy of great.” It’s a common cliché that just challenges those among us who are satisfied with being “good” at something. Why not take things to that proverbial “next level” and strive to make things “great”? How much more effort, knowledge, skill, financial investment or luck would it take?

Remember the old television show from the 70’s called “The Six Million Dollar Man”? It starred Lee Majors as Steve Austin, the former astronaut that was outfitted with bionic legs, a bionic arm and a bionic eye after a near fatal crash. Major Austin was used as a crime-fighting opponent of evil. In the opening credits the narrator spoke the words that all of us who were raised in the 70’s will remember – “Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”

Those words, uttered on over 100 episodes in the mid 70’s remind me a lot about this week’s Business Principle #8 which states:

We are committed to identifying inefficiencies and communicating concerns, thus enabling us to improve our performance and systems

Now that doesn’t mean we spend our waking hours looking to find fault with people or systems within our control. It also is important to realize that if we identify areas of concern that we are empowered to communicate those concerns to the appropriate people within our organization. (See Business Principle #7)

We are constantly striving to make things better. Former Notre Dame head football coach Lou Holtz said in his 1991 video If Enough People Care that “loyalty doesn’t mean just saying good things about your company.” We need to look at every aspect of our industry, company, office and individual business platforms to identify what is working and what isn’t. Much like the gentlemen at the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) felt with Steve Austin, we have the technology. We can make things better than before.

Technology is just one of what I call “The Five T’s of Coldwell Banker” that makes us great. The others are Tools, Training, Teamwork and Traditions. Let’s all remember this Business Principle as we are continuously observing and fine-tuning our services and skills to succeed.

I’ll end this post with one of my favorite quotes I have seen in recent years and it comes from one of our generation’s biggest successes – Tiger Woods.

“I do not seek perfection because it is unattainable. All I strive for is professional excellence.”

Watch the video clip below and you'll see a great example of Business Principle #8 in action. Tiger Woods - the world's #1 golfer - is always trying to "become better."

I challenge you to do the same by consistently living Business Principle #8 in your daily activities. What do you think? Can we “make things better than before”? Add your comments to the end of this post and share your thoughts on the topic.

Until my next post…Build Relationships…Solve Problems…Have Fun!

July 9, 2008

Brainstorming 101

What is the one question that kids learn to ask as soon as they can speak?

Their use of it will diminish when they reach their teenage years because they then begin to feel they know everything.

Use of the question continues to drop in adult years for several reasons - people either feel they already know the information or should know the information but are too afraid to ask.

The answer to my question is "why." "Why is the sky blue?" "Why is grass green?" "Why does corn on the cob taste better than corn off the cob?" "Why don't school busses have seatbelts?" "Why do I have to go to bed now?"

"Why?" "Why is that such a great question?" Because it is a perfect introduction into our 7th Business Principle:

We encourage an open exchange of ideas throughout our organization

As independent contractors our success and failure rests squarely on our shoulders but that certainly doesn't mean we have to "go it alone." There are plenty of people available to assist you and help you accomplish what needs to be done to achieve your business goals. Sometimes all you have to do is ask

Ideas are shared every day between agents in an office. Ideas are exchanged everyday by staff members seeking to find more efficiency with specific programs or job tasks. Ideas are shared everyday from one manager to the next. That is how one can be so powerful...because you actually end up latching on to the knowledge and power of others.

If you need to know how to hold better open houses - seek out the best holder of open houses in your office and buy them a cup of coffee. ask them what they do to get such consistent traffic at their open houses.

If you notice another agent sells her listings quickly at 98% of asking price and you want to know her trick, offer to buy her lunch and learn what she does differently.

Can't decide which marketing campaign might work bets in your farm area? Ask for help and advice from a successful agent in your office who has some great personal marketing campaign success.

Just remember...the "open exchange of ideas" isn't a one-way exchange. You can assist people as well.

Say you learn of a great opportunity being offered at one of your local establishments and you think others in your office might benefit from it. Could you share that news at your next business meeting? When you come across that great new website or blog, could you forward the link to the rookie agent in your office who one day wants to be "in your league"? Have an idea for the company to improve? Reach out to your manager or sales advisory representative and discuss your thoughts.

One way we can always exchange ideas is through our virtual suggestion box. If you have an idea, thought or comment that you feel might benefit our local companies, don't forget about these addresses:

Coldwell Banker King Thompson - suggestions@kingthompson.com
Coldwell Banker West Shell - suggestions@cbws.com

Emails sent to these addresses will be read by the company president and will be addressed. While not ever suggestion can be accomodated, every one of them will be read.

Most of us will agree that the more you learn in this business, the more you learn there is to learn. That means we must constantly be looking for help, guidance and wisdom from others and also being ready to provide the advice, assistance and feedback that others may need.

I want to know about an idea or tip that you may have learned from another associate, manager or staff member in our company. Reply to this post and tell me about it. Remember - Business Principle #12 says "we seek opportunities to recognize excellence." This might be one of those opportunities.

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun!