By September 24, 2017 No Comments

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Hi. Tanja here, and welcome to TMJ TV, a weekly video series aimed at real estate leaders and teams that want to grow themselves and their business in the least amount of time. My guest today has had 33 years experience in the industry. Started out when he was 19 and a half. He is now leading a team of 107 people across 5 different offices. It is my pleasure to welcome the Managing Director of Inner North Group for Jellis Craig, Craig Shearn. As in learn.

Craig: Hi. Exactly right, Tanja.

Tanja: Thank you.

Craig: I tell my people that every day.

Tanja:- I bet. I bet. Thank so much for just hanging on the couch…

Craig: Thanks for having me.

Tanja: …and having a chat with us and being part of our Key Leaders of Influence Series as part of the research we’ve done with Core Logic recently. I really appreciate it.

Craig: It’s a pleasure.

Tanja: So I mentioned in the opening… You know, and we were talking off air, you were in Uni.

Craig: Yep.

Tanja: …and your grandfather was in real estate.

Craig: Correct, yeah. My mother’s father, yeah.

Tanja: Yeah. So why did you decide to get into the industry?

Craig: I think…well, having had a bit of a challenge with university, and decided how much it fun it was, and the powers that be decided that perhaps I should be studying a little harder than partying. So eventually, I sort of had to… My father sort of said to me, “Well if you’re not going to get through university, you better get yourself a job, because you’re going to have to support yourself.” So real estate seemed to be a space that I’d sort of taken an interest in through my grandfather, as I said, and he was an auctioneer, which is going back into very early, probably late ’60s early ’70s when I sort of started to see him, and yeah, it was also a natural progression for me in terms of being able to work and study at the same time, because I had a lot of friends at university. So it was great. Earn some money. Study at night, or better. It took me six years to get my real estate license at Swinburne, but…

Tanja: But you still got there.

Craig: We got there, and so it was all good.

Tanja: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Persistence pays off.

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: So 33 years in the business, and you said before, across four different brands.

Craig: Yeah, four different businesses. I started out in property management, Thompson’s down in Murrumbeena in Southeastern Melbourne, and progressing to a property management role after three years. Had a little stint in commercial because I thought playing footy on Sundays was better when I was in my early 20’s.

Tanja: Of course.

Craig: But that’s a pretty challenging space, and I have a great deal of respect for commercial agents. It’s a different type of deal-making or a different type of real estate. I got back into residential back in about 1991, and I’ve been there ever since and working in the city for about the last 20 years, so. Yeah. No, it’s been a great journey. I’ve had some great mentors, and 13 years with Jellis Craig and 13 years with my previous business are probably my two biggest stints, but…

Tanja: They’re long times…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …to be with the brand. Why do you think you stick around for a long time?

Craig: Well I think…

Tanja: People change.

Craig: Well, they do, and it’s like advertising. It’s a lot of different industries, I should say. People do move around. But I think in…probably in the case of both instances, and particularly now, but even more so when I was with Collin Simms prior to Jellis Craig, it was about the leadership. It was about the people. It was about the brand. It was about the story, and, you know, they engaged with us very well. They brought, you know, my previous business, pre-Jellis Craig, it kind of seems… They brought younger people through, gave the opportunity. But, you know, it was up to you to take the opportunity, of course, like anything.

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: …and not everyone wanted it. But I think that taught me a lot about, you know, having some good mentors in that business. About then having the responsibility of then running my own business up in the North back in the early 2000’s when they opened up there and then that sort of leading to my ability to open my own office with Jellis Craig back in 2004.

Tanja: Right.

Craig: When I approached them at the time, they didn’t have any business in the inner city, so it was a good opportunity.

Tanja: Yeah, so what you’re saying there, Craig, is you, yourself… So even though now you’re Managing Director and leading 107 people…

Craig: Yep.

Tanja: …you, as a leader, value great leadership…

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: …and great mentoring. So what, in your opinion, defines a great leader?

Craig: Look, I… It’s many things, and it’s easy to coin phrases if you like, but I think it’s obviously about getting people to come with you. It’s about collaborating as a team. It’s about engaging with your team if you’ve got a particular direction you want to go in. It’s not about telling the direction you want to go in, it’s about being strategic with your group of directors, working out the path you want to take and then engaging the team. I mean, you would have seen that obviously recently where we took a whole entire company after only 12 months out to the Yarra Valley for a full day for the salespeople, P. M.and admin. That’s about really, sort of engaging them in what we achieved over the 12 months and getting them excited about what we’re going to do for the next 12 months.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: So I think sharing information is terribly important as a leader, and I think extremely authentic conversation is obviously very important.

Tanja: Yes.

Craig: If you don’t follow through on what you say you’re going to do, obviously they’re going to start to doubt you, and I think it’s very important when you got a big group like we do, that we’re very clear as leaders about how we’re going to convey that to the staff, and we want to take a particular direction and want to get in some buy-in from them.

Tanja: Yeah. Because…

Craig: Which is kind of logical, obviously, but.

Tanja: Yeah, I know, but you know, it’s quite amazing, and our research is showing this, how many teams aren’t clear of what the vision is.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Or the strategic direction, and look, many times it’s a beautiful imperfectly perfect consistent work in progress.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: But at least if you got constant communication to bring people up to speed, that consistency, you know, breeds trust.

Craig: Yeah. Look, absolutely, and I think the challenge for us, having been, you know, merged business… Which I think we obviously haven’t touched on yet, but you know, on the first of July last year, we merged three businesses of which I had one, and that became the six directors and the three partners as we currently exist, and we had different processes, different systems. You know, there were two brands that came together so there were some different cultural alignment in both businesses, and it was about, you know, having some patience on both sides about the way you do things. And, you know, it’s not perfect. It’s still not perfect, but we sort of getting there. But I think we’ve had really good breakthroughs in the last six months, the director group around getting to know one another, getting to trust one another. Clearly, that’s so important in any business, particularly from a leadership point of view.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Very difficult to lead if you’re not getting along, and you know, it’s very important that you don’t have any, sort of, I guess, disagreements or some sort of heated conversations in front of the staff either, because you want that focus when you go to them and try to sell them into whatever idea it is you’re trying to achieve and so forth.

Tanja: So that’s a pretty big amalgamation and like you’ve now got six directors.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: So six individuals that are co-responsible for directing the business.

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja:-…and I get, you know, it will still have teething, you know, pains and training wheels because it’s like 12 months in and it’s all very new…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …and despite the best intentions though, Craig, what have been some of the challenges? Because, I think, this message would be of service to many people that not only are going through a merger, but also getting new leaders with different opinions in the business.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: What have been the challenges having six different opinions and how have you effectively navigated that?

Craig: Well, I think even though we’re relatively young, we’ve reviewed things very frequently. So at the end of three months, we had a 90-day review with the directors and partners. We all… The four principle sales directors Greg, Rob, Sam and myself, had all probably had a sales director-type background, although I really had a bit more background in terms of starting offices, running offices and so forth, and sort of getting off the tools a bit for want of a bit of expression. But what became very apparent after 90 days is that one of us had to go off the tools for a bit and was going to have to run the group, so I was beautifully set up by one of my partners, Greg Cuzack, who decided that was a good thing for me to do because I seem to be good at that, which was very complimentary, but…

Tanja: Tell us, what were the skills that were identified for you to lead that process?

Craig: Look, I’ve always been a good person from a people engagement point of view.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: I’ve never been scared of hard conversations, or certainly not in the last 10 or so years. Maybe in my earlier years, there was a little bit of trepidation. But I think that ability, I guess, to interact with anyone across the business, to look at the business as a whole and then put my management in place and have different conversations and so forth. To be honest, I don’t think I was ever the greatest.. I never aspired to be number one salesperson. I was a good salesperson. I could list. Probably 2,000 options and so forth. But I think it was the building of the business and the creation of the business and the growing the business which always sort of floated my boat…

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: …and I think very early on, the boys identified that. Notwithstanding, they’ve got some terrific skill sets too, but I think it’s very important that we all have roles, which are sort of ever-evolving as we’re growing older. But yeah, it became very apparent. Then we had a six-month review. We obviously had a 12-month review. So I think, you know, all of those reviews have sort of got us to where we are now, albeit, it’s given us a much clearer path of what we’re trying to achieve, and I think, you know, it’s very easy to get absorbed in the business, and we still do that, but you know, you got to take a breath at certain points and you really got to have your to-do list. You keep referring back to it when your business is in its infancy, and to see that you really started to hit the big rocks, and it’s very easy to start a lot of things and finish nothing and we very quickly identify, that, you know, we’ve got about 10 things we’re trying to achieve, and really, that’s probably my responsibility to see that those things are achieved.

Tanja: So I can hear a really good balance of making sure on the in the business and the on the business is happening…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …parallel with no wheels falling off on either end…

Craig: Correct.

Tanja: …and, you know, tightening the nuts and bolts along the way…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …and adjusting the coordinates to help you get there. So you’re right, I was at your 12-month celebration and the energy in the room was awesome.

Craig: Thank you.

Tanja: I’m keen to hear… so they were sales teams and the property management team.

Craig: …and the admin.

Tanja: …and the admin. Yes. They were there for the morning…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Then they went back. How have you… Because, you know, because change elicits fear and concern in people because many of us love certainty. How have the team embraced the change? What have you done to minimise any, you know, casualties along the way?

Craig: Well, I think there’s been quite a lot of counselling at various times during the week with certain people.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Look, everyone’s different. Some people are very accepting of change, others aren’t. You know, ironically, in the brand that…when we came together and weren’t Jellis Craig, there were people there that were just so excited about joining this brand, and that, you know, they had this perception of being, you know, that one that’s plastered in the city and, you know, being able to elevate, I guess, their clients property in the marketplace, and we can talk about brand in a moment. But then there were others that were very fearful that we had too much accountability, or there was too much process involved. I mean Jellis Craig is highly protective of its brand through corporate and I’ve been involved since a business franchise back in 2011. But, you know, obviously, that’s a very good thing. But it’s a matter of people understanding over a course of time why you do things, and why there’s such accountably and consistency around brand management. Yeah, that…

Tanja: Why does that matter? Because it’s an important one, and…

Craig: Yeah, well…

Tanja: Let’s go there. Why does, you know, brand messaging and consistency matter from your perspective?

Craig: Well, it’s what you’re about. I mean, if you can’t maintain it, and you can’t uphold it, or you can’t have your team uphold it, well then obviously things start to go off the rails. I think there’s plenty of evidence around Melbourne and Sydney and Australia, in the last probably a couple of years where we’ve seen some fairly significant brands start to get off track.

Tanja: Now whether that’s arguably because of the structure of their franchise, or…

Craig: I’m not even debating…

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: …the [inaudible] of other brands. But, you know, when we set about franchising the business back in January ’11, because we, at the time… I joined back in ’04. We had four offices, soon to be, I think, 23 on the first of October…

Tanja: Yeah, congratulations.

Craig: …which is fantastic. But, I suppose my point there is, that if you’re going to continue to get the results that you’re getting, you obviously got to have consistency with your message. Now whether that’s leveraging technology, whether that’s protecting your brand, whether that’s evolving your brand, and as I touched on before in terms of when we set up our franchise, you know, back in 2011, we were very cognizant that, you know, we were going to be great brand protectors. and I think, you know, through the journey, you know, that is something we’ve always tried as hard as we can to maintain, on the people that we’ve obviously employed. You know, we’ve got the biggest corporate marketing department and franchise all over of any business, and I think that alone has also obviously helped us, you know, to have that brand consistency throughout. But it was also, I think, identifying, you know… We rebranded a couple of times in the last few years. But back when we rebranded… I think it was in ’14 was the current brand that we have which seems to have resonated particularly well in the north in terms of being…not so much on trend, but just, I think it’s a brand that people warm to. There was 15 of us that went through a whole process with a brand management company from various sectors of the business, male, female, directors, salespeople, property managers and what we identified throughout that transition what that our core client was females between the age of 35 and 40.

Tanja: Right.

Craig: Hence the carbon and the Tiffany brand, you know, which not a lot of people know. But it obviously resonated with that, I suppose, demographic of client, if you like, which were a lot of people that were trading up. They’ve have kids, trading up into their second house and so forth. Now that’s obviously pigeon-holing a sector of our market, but I think a lot of people haven’t gone through that process to identify it. So that’s one of the core values when we’re looking at rolling out new product, or we’re looking at rolling out new strategies around, certainly around somewhere around the marketing and the brand space that we go back to the core values that we established.

Tanja: …and carbon and Tiffany being your colours.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Yeah, because it’s like…

Craig: Which I think our chairman Richard Jellis refer to it as, but we don’t sort of promote that in terms of…

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: …anything specifically.

Tanja: But you know it’s interesting because when you do have a clear understanding of who your customer is, you can reverse engineer a full sensory experience, and from a brand perspective, color, feel, tonality, personality…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …approachability, essentially must be as close a fit for your core client as possible.

Craig: Yeah. Absolutely.

Tanja: So that’s where the carbon Tiffany… I like that carbon Tiffany. Now I will not look at that brand the same. Okay, so you’ve obviously invested a lot of…and you said you got the biggest corporate team regarding, you know, marketing…

Craig: From a marketing perspective. Yeah.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: I think, you know, leadership from a franchise leader’s point of view is terribly important as a franchisee, and I’ve… I have worn both hats…obviously been involved with corporate since its infancy, and I went off the board there at Christmas to focus on this new venture that we’ve got because it was taking plenty of my time.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: But I think, you know, a lot of businesses who have franchised have evolved, you know, in a franchisee capacity where…a franchise capacity, I should say, where the key stakeholders who are running the franchise, or possibly haven’t been the right fit, and they possibly being people with real estate backgrounds, not to say that that’s completely bad, but, like, you know, Nick Dowling, who’s an ex-relationship banker at Macquarie, was someone who we developed relationship with. He was a no-brainer for us to become COO of the business when we established. And, you know, we’ve really been very careful about growing that team is obviously under Nick’s guidance, and he’s done a terrific job at starting, I think, it’s seven offices when we stared and sort of helping us unfold 23 offices.

Tanja: Pretty cool.

Craig: But I think it’s all about, you know, skill set and having the right, you know, sort of skill set and we have good real estate agents. And, you know, the best leaders aren’t always the best salespeople, the best agents, as we know.

Tanja: Absolutely.

Craig: I think history has shown us that, and, you know, people have been promoted along the way in set in roles where they really just didn’t have that people piece or that skill set. They were too self-oriented and they couldn’t see the bigger picture which is terribly important, particularly when you’ve got a big business like ours.

Tanja: Yeah, and the research that we’ve done with Core Logic is showing that around 82% of industry leaders think they’re actually pretty good leaders.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Yet their people are giving very different feedback.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja:  About 16% of the results demonstrate that people feel that people feel that there’s really poor leadership, and you’re right, it is a very different skill set. So what is Jellis Craig doing about elevating the current skill set of their leaders?

Craig: Well in terms of plugging ourselves, obviously my coaching and training sort of view is with the various people. I think the great thing about Jellis Craig now, in terms of the size of the script, I think we have about 37 directors. We got…there would be hundreds of years of real estate experience in there.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: So the great thing about the collaboration of the leaders within the other businesses, because obviously we got a big grip in Booroondara and a bigger group in Stonnington and obviously the Bentley Bayside Group, soon to be the Banyule Group, and our Inner North Group. You know, if I ever need to roll something out or I got a particular issue with maybe a staff member or a department, I’ve now got five or six people who are heading up other businesses I can go to. So I think…

Tanja: Right. You’re soundboard, and…

Craig: So I think the group’s been very good at getting everyone to leverage off each other from a leadership point of view…

Tanja: Okay.

Craig:  …and, you know, why reinvent the wheel when there’s someone already doing it?

Tanja: Yes.

Craig:  You know, whether that’s around recruitment strategy, whether that’s around marketing strategy, whether that’s around the particular running of a particular department, you know.

Tanja: So I can hear two strategies there, you… enlist the services of external parties…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …whether they be coaches or trainers or elevate the current state of leadership, and you also do what I call asset mapping. So you’re cultivating the existing wisdom, process, procedure within the business…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja:  …and replicating the duplicating that across the brand if it’s working. So that’s two really great solid strategies which are internal and external.

Craig: Yeah. I think it’s also up the individual. I mean, you know, I’ve done over the years… I’ve done a business management course. I’ve done an Australian Institute of Company Directors course. So there’s obviously a certain amount of self-education that I would encourage anyone who wants to go into a leadership role to do, which I think it’s forgotten. I mean we do, do a lot of learning on the job on the stead. I have had some fantastic mentors. – Yeah. – But I’ve still had some direction around some education which, you know, not everyone’s into, and I get that, but I think it’s terribly important for your growth as a leader that you, not just keeping up with trends, but obviously, continue to self-educate.

Tanja: Of course.

Craig: So, I’ve been of course been attending seminars, attending courses… All the normal things.

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: But picking and choosing properly, too, what the right ones are for, as you get more experienced…

Tanja:  …and you do weekly training with your sales team.

Craig: We do weekly training in the sales department on Thursdays. Obviously, we’re looking at ramping up some coaching shortly across the board in terms of sales, property management, and admin.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Then some more specific training related to sales agents, the 300 to 500 GCI agents. Working with them to get them up and getting them to leverage off their database as best as they can. So it is quite a lot going on in the training space which is good. We’re sort of, I think after 12 months, getting a better feel for what their training needs are, but that’ll be an evolving thing as well.

Tanja: Sure, and you talked earlier about, you know, the big change that you’ve been through and how, you know, it was a very consultative process and you’ve kept people informed and you’ve been really transparent, and after 12 months you can see the buds of the fruit really starting to ripen. I asked you, before we started, you know, what you felt was the top issue, certainly from a survey perspective, that if you had one direction as a leader within the industry to focus on…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …you said, “Staying positive in times of change is a key one.” Obviously, you’ve just been through massive change.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: But that…staying positive in times of change doesn’t always happen at a big thing with a merger. It can just happen on a daily basis.

Craig: Oh, absolutely.

Tanja: I know we’ve had a conversation previously, Craig, about Jellis Craig’s philosophy around supporting your people that work with your brand to have a positive state of mind.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: This industry is renowned for high levels of stress, high levels of anxiety, substance abuse. So what are you doing as far as health and well-being and keeping people’s mindset in a counterintuitive environment?

Craig: Yeah. Well, there’s an old saying, “You don’t try real estate, real estate tries you, right?” So it’s… I think I opened that in one interview with someone I had that wanted to know about real estate.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: But I suppose it’s a lot of things. I mean, we’re just in the process of rolling out an employment assistance program.

Tanja: Hm.

Craig: Now, obviously, issues of mental health, issues of relationship counselling, a whole range of of things. So we’ve got a service offering that we’re going to offer out to all of our staff and their family along with… More or less, it’s going to involve financial planning. It could involve some low-level legal advice. So I think you’ve got a duty of care today to the look at any sort of employee assistance program like that. Obviously, we’ve got the Jellis Craig foundation, which we get our team members very engaged in. You know, that’s been going for three or four years now an initiative with corporate. Notwithstanding, we do a lot of community stuff, which is very important to their own Inner North background . And I think, you know, getting the staff involved and seeing the company involved in making a difference. You know we support Head Space.

Tanja: Yes.

Craig: Which is a great organization. Obviously…

Tanja: Which specializes in mental health issues.

Craig: Mental health, and teenage kids, and getting them back in… Certainly, we’re helping them all sort out at the moment. Mentoring them around getting them back into the employment sector and giving some mentoring around, you know, going for interviews and so forth.

Tanja: Great.

Craig: We had a long history with BCNA and probably our bigger issue now is Very Special Kids, obviously, which is another great organisation which, you know, Andrew McCain, our Stonnington directors were involved in. I guess it’s about having all different initiatives. You know we do a lot of things whether they be staff golf days. I mean, a lot of the normal things people would do.

Tanja: Sure

Craig: But I think it’s important to do them regularly.

Tanja: Yes.

Craig: You know, we took the whole property management team out bowling. We had dinner. We went back and made sure all the directors were there, and it doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it’s also obviously just taking some time out to say, “Okay, well you know, real estate’s a serious business, but it’s okay to have a bit of a laugh and some fun as well.”

Tanja: …and not take ourselves too seriously.

Craig: Yeah, and I think we all do.

Tanja: At times.

Craig: It’s just a modern, fast-paced world.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: You know, I often say, “I’d love not to have a mobile phone.” We used to do without it. I think in 33 years…

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig- … I’ve seen the fax, the mobile phone, the internet, the web. So I’m really aging myself there, aren’t I? But…

Tanja: You’re getting ready for your backpack to just travel.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah and my 25-plus-year-old adult children all get very frustrated with me because I’m always wanting them to fix something, technology-wise on my iPhone which they think I should know how to do in settings. But, no… so I think it’s a range of things. So whether it’s pastoral care, whether it’s training. You know, we’re looking at potentially some new partnership offerings in the short term. We’re looking at some life coaching and some financial advice coaching with it.

Tanja: Great.

Craig: So I think you’ve got to look at all of those things. Now it’s just not, you knolw, this person’s going to fit this job. It’s like well, they’re going to fit this job, and then I can take this on this journey…

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: …and these are the things I can assist them with along the way …

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: …depending upon how much they want to plug into that.

Tanja: You’re right. I agree with you Craig. I think leaders do have a duty of care and brands do have a duty of care, and one of the themes that we’re seeing globally around leadership… It’s the old Richard Branson philosophy is, “If you treat your people like your clients…”

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: “…then they will treat your clients as gold.”

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: It’s not just, you know, fresh apples or fresh coffee in the tea room. It is appreciating them spending the majority of their life, many of them at work, away from their families, certainly, if they’re full-time in real estate. So providing those extra services whether it’s financial advice…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Or life coaching or mental health support that I’m assuming is confidential.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: But it’s just, “Look here are the resources.” And that provides great leadership because at least you can say to your people, “It’s there for you.”

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: If you don’t have it, that’s the issue, and then you can be considered negligent because you’re not providing a platform…

Craig: Sure.

Tanja: …for people to be able to evolve and grow.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Briefly, biggest leadership challenge for you guys right now that you’re working on.

Craig: Probably organisational structure…

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: …to a certain degree, and what I mean by that is having merged the entities, obviously, you immediately see where you might be over-resourced or under-resourced.

Tanja: Got it.

Craig: But it takes some time with brand alignment, in terms of bringing brands together. So you’ve to get that people buying into the brand that you’ve got, buying into the process that you’ve got, than looking and saying, “Okay. What do all the roles entail?” You know, we’ve seen rapid growth in our business from the point of view of probably 25% in the first two months of this financial year versus last year.

Tanja: Well done.

Craig: That’s terrific, and that says, on the one hand, we’re on the right path. We could be a little bit blessed by the market as well.

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: I suspect it’s a lot to do with our brand and it resonating in the Inner North in a larger scale now. Because I think we’ve really been playing that one to three million dollar space.

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: Going back to our other point, who is our most important client? There’s a lot of other families who are up-scaling in the inner city now, and a lot of gentrification of all of those suburbs. We’ve even got all the baby boomer selling houses for three and five, six, seven million wanting to come back. So that’s obviously put a pressure on things. But I think, you know, it’s obviously… Whilst it’s very exciting to see that growth, it’s very important that we continue to work out why it’s happening and obviously plan and ensure that it continues.

Tanja: Biggest leadership reward or thing that you’re most proud of right now as a brand…around leadership.

Craig: To be honest, the fact that our director group engage with our stuff, and I know that sounds really basic, but what I mean by that is there’s not a director or a partner in a business, albeit I probably spend more time with some of them than others, that the staff either don’t know, or the staff wouldn’t feel… The staff wouldn’t feel uncomfortable going and having either an open or a closed conversation with.

Tanja: Hm.

Craig: So I think we’ve upgraded engagement with our team members. I’m not saying it’s perfect by any means. We’re still working in certain areas, but I think we’ve been able to connect and have very authentic conversations as a director group, and I think that’s terribly important because I think you sort of… You appoint someone who’s a head of property management or you appoint a sales manager or you appoint someone who’s a head of the admin department, and you sort of think if you’re not hearing from them that everything’s okay. You got to keep going in there and saying, “Is everything okay?”

Tanja: Yeah. How are you going?

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Yeah, 100%.

Tanja: So you also mentioned before, there’s about, you know, eight to nine key things that you’re focusing on. What are the top three focuses for the Jellis Craig brand? What difference do you see that making?

Craig: Well, I think from a brand perspective, it’s probably the continuing innovation of leveraging technology. You know, we’re very heavy in the social media space, particularly in the Inner North.

Tanja: Mm-hmm.

Craig: That’s probably an over-arching thing.

Tanja:  What are you doing? So what are you doing to leverage that?

Craig: Well, I mean, corporate’s just developed, you know, a very, very key social media product, which, you know, leverages our client’s properties, you know, whether it through Facebook and other social…

Tanja: Gotcha.

Craig: …mediums, as opposed to just buying, core… I suppose REA, Domain type products. We developed our own product if you like. – Okay. – Which I think is very important. Which obviously having such a great marketing and social media space… I’m sorry, sort of media people. I should say. At the corporate level, we’ve been able to do that. In terms of the Inner North business, I think there’s a couple of pieces that we’re working on. One is certainly looking at the sales writers between three and five-hundred and really saying, “Okay. How can we get them to the next level? What training do they need? What mentoring do they need? What coaching do they need?”
Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: We’re just about to finalise a really high-end recruitment piece. Now what I mean by that is, if we’re trying to leverage someone, either into our business, from another business or from another industry and so forth, this is a very significant document that we’ve put together with myself and corporate’s help around who we are, what our mission statement is, what the journey’s going to look like. We can do that for sales, for P., you know, it could be commission structures. It could be…

Tanja: Gotcha. So you can customise it.

Craig: It could be…absolutely. I think rather than just sending them a later and saying, “It was great to catch up. Here’s our offer.” It’s really sort of saying, well what it like to work at Jellis Craig? Who is Jellis Craig?

Tanja: Right.
Craig: What can expect in my journey with Jellis Craig?

Tanja: Well, there’s a great saying, Craig, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: You know, the Core Logic data from the perception of the buyers and vendors from the transaction with a real estate agent drops by 47%…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: From the moment the vendor signs the authority until the sale is made. I’m hearing out in the field that new recruits are having a very similar experience from the interview process to the induction process to joining the brand.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: So that’s great that…you know, you’ve got a really compelling piece of communication…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: and…

Craig: …and we’ll continue to evolve too, depending.

Tanja: Of course.
Craig- I mean, there’s obviously things you can add to it. There’s appendices you can add to it…

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: …and so forth, depending on what the circumstances.

Tanja: But it sets the tone for who you are.

Craig: Yeah. Absolutely.

Tanja: If you’re trying to attract great operators from the other areas, one of the things I’m seeing a lot is you need to have a compelling why. Why would I uproot from where I am and come over here to kind of start again? There’s got to be a compelling why.

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: So it sounds like you’re telling the story beautifully.

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: So on a final note, as a leader in an industry that is, you know, facing disruption and we hear that all the time, and you know, where the results are showing that 16% of leaders aren’t really doing a great job, what one thing do you think leaders in the real estate industry really need to keep simple and focus on to bridge that gap?

Craig: Just really communicate with your team members.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Because I said that piece before about, you know, thinking everything’s okay. I think, you know, I’m not just talking about one-on-ones. I think it’s really taking the time out of your day to evaluate. It might be somebody you haven’t spoken to for a week. It might be someone you pass every morning. You go in and you’re sort of walk over and say, “How’s it going?”

Tanja: …and mean it.

Craig: I mean, it’s very…and mean it. Absolutely. It’s very basic because I think we get so absorbed in the running of the business.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: We get so focused on the bottom line or top line or whatever it may be that, you know, the reality is, you’re only as good as the people around you.

Tanja: True.

Craig: So if the people around you, you know, and my partner’s always got to say, “You never know what’s underneath the covers or in their minds.”

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: So, you know, it’s very important that you’re having those real conversations with them, and I don’t think it’s rocket science. I don’t think that I could give any sort of great pearl that on this topic will amount to nothing to say. Look after your people. Yeah.

Tanja: I am 100% with you, and I think in Part One of my chat with Tom Panos we were talking about just ask your people…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: “How’s life?” Like really.

Craig: Yeah. No, genuinely.

Tanja: Not just, “Hi. How are you?” “Good, how are you?” and you pass like ships in the night. Like, sit down, “Craig, how’s life?”

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: Yeah.

Craig: Yeah, and I think, you know, as I always say, you don’t always have to be best friends at work. I mean, obviously, it’s got to be a situation where people want to get along and work together, and some people are friendly or social through colleagues at work. But you’ve got to be able to sit down with anyone as a leader and have a really genuine heart-to-heart, one-on-one. Look them in the eye, have a conversation and say, “You know, you don’t…” It’s people management, you know?

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: I mean, I’ve had so many situations this year, I think probably five or six, where I’ve actually noticed that someone was out of sorts, and I think to have that intuition as a leader comes with time, and the ability to read people. But, you know, they won’t always tell you, but I’ve had four or five of them say, “Yeah, actually, I’m not okay.” Now that might be a very low-level situation or it might be a real high-level situation, but at least then you can offer them some advice or some guidance.

Tanja: Sure.

Craig: Or, you know, get them some help.

Tanja: As a leader, don’t be too busy working either in the business or on the business to not eyeball your people and…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …ask them how you are and trust your own intuition or emotional…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …intelligence to check in.

Craig: Yeah, and I think that builds great trust, and so when you look to make a change which maybe not everyone agrees with if you’ve got that level of engagement, then they’re probably going to follow you.

Tanja: Mm.

Craig- You know, and they’re going to trust you, albeit, you know, we don’t all agree with all decisions in any business. But, you know, that gets back to obviously the relationship you have with them, and…

Tanja: Yep.

Craig: We’re still building relationships, and, you know, as I said, we’re certainly not perfect, but I think we’ve got a really good focus on what’s going to for us and clearly, it’s working with the people that we’ve got, then obviously, telling the story and having success and then obviously, that’s obviously going to attract people too, which is hence the recruitment of human socialism.

Tanja: The ripple effect, and Maya Angelou, the late, great Maya Angelou had a quote that said, “People will forget what you said…”

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: “…forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: It feels to me like that is one of your personal, and the Jellis Craig philosophies of having your people internally and then externally just feel great about engaging with…

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja:- …you and the brand. So really appreciate you taking the time…

Craig: Oh, thank you so much.

Tanja: …to share some of your points on business.

Craig: I hope that made some sense.

Tanja: Yes.

Craig: I think I lost my way somewhere, yeah?

Tanja: No. You’re all good. Made absolute sense, and you know, again, congratulations on your recent merger, and I do know that you guys are planning some really great stuff…

Craig: Yeah.

Tanja: …to do to really elevate your people’s ability to achieve success, which at the end of the day, will also just increase your service levels and the client experience, which…

Craig: Absolutely.

Tanja: …has a great snowball effect. So, thank you so much.

Craig: Thanks, Tanja.

Tanja: Craig Shear.

Craig: Thank you very much.

I hope you found that useful. If so, please like it and share it. If you’d like access to the free downloadable tool, just click on the available link. If you also have any questions or challenges, specifically in the area of leadership or mindset, just write it in the comments below and, when possible, I’ll provide solutions to your requests. Remember, let love lead and you can turn your workforce into the life source of your business. I’ll see you next week for more TMJ TV.

Tanja Jones

Author Tanja Jones

With a core belief that people buy people, not products, I am fundamentally dedicated to having real estate professionals achieve their desired results in the least amount of time, with the least amount of suffering and the most amount of fun.

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