The real estate and property management sector is in the middle of a monumental change. For those seeking a growth enabled-culture, this can only mean good news and business leaders would do well to re-assess their approach to accommodate this disruption.
We talked with internationally renowned speaker Peter Sheahan for his tips for today's leaders in the real estate industry. As founder and CEO of business growth consultancy firm Karrikins Group, he has worked with leaders from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Hyundai and Pfizer. Here, he shares with us his thoughts on what it takes to be an effective leader in a business landscape that's constantly changing.
1. Kill the lone wolf approach
According to Sheahan, traditionally real estate and property management has been built on an “eat what you kill” mentality. This approach worked well when the task involved was one-to-one connections built on knocking on doors, showing properties and building relationships.
But now, Sheahan argues, the need to leverage data and analytics and bring more sophisticated insights to the sector has seen team-based environments flourish. “If you look at the people that are producing the highest results in real estate, most of them are taking a team-oriented approach and not just a rogue warrior approach. So, understanding division of labour, delegation and building culture is the secret to a high performing culture in [this industry].”
2. Remember the impact you make
While monitoring performance is important to your role as a leader, Sheahan argues that sometimes those working in the industry get disconnected from the real value they are bringing – that is alleviating stress, helping people to protect themselves in the transaction, managing their emotional state, identifying the right property and making sure the price is fair.
“We can get obsessed with our own performance and forget the real contribution and impact that we make. I think understanding the team-based approach, but also orienting around value and contribution, is important.”
3. Entitlement is a myth
Many business owners think that because they’ve managed to carve out a competitive advantage and have created a successful business and a scalable model behind it, that they’re entitled to rest on their laurels, irrespective of the market and changes in the technology, he says.
“I like to say that everyone likes a free market until they’ve got competition. You don’t have a right to creating a competitive advantage once and keeping it. You have to consistently evolve and recreate that advantage.
“On the other side of entitlement is that we get into these positions and we think, all of a sudden, we don’t have to do the hard work that got us there in the first place. Effective leadership requires that you do different things, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t come with a sense of entitlement about your role and who you are.”
4. Innovate in "the basics"
In today's ever-changing business environment, innovation can often prove the lifeblood of a business.
Sheahan says that it's easy to think that innovation is about throwing a business model out and starting afresh, but there are plenty of industries – and real estate is one of them – where the application of innovation is as valuable in “the basics” as it is in creating new business models.
“You’ve still got to prospect, you’ve still got to generate new listings and you’ve still got to sell property. They’re the mechanics of the model. If you can innovate in the way you use social media to prospect, if you can innovate in the way you use data and analytics to close your listing, then that’s innovation when its applied to the foundations of the business model."
5. Loosen up
Sheahan says that while complacency is the reason why many businesses fail, leaders who hold too tightly to the reins can be equally as destructive to their company's success. As a business head himself, Sheahan understands the importance of learning to loosen up and stand back once in a while to give you and your team more room for creativity and growth.
“We’re so worried that the people around us are not going to do their job well that we hold on to far more activity and responsibility than we should. That not only destroys your ability to scale, but it burns you out and robs your team of the opportunity to grow and show their own excellence.”