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Property

Intervention

Through Mentoring helping the Business Owner and his Team to grow the business

Actions

Development of Key Perfomance Indicators for the Business
Introduction of a Courtesy System and "Happiness Meter" to measure Team motivation
Development of an ethos which put customer service & satisfaction first and foremost and which genuinely enabled team to "go the extra mile" each and every time
Average Sale Value increased by over 40%
Market share increased
Business Owner dealt with and separated from his underperforming Partner
Business Owner Franchised Business and is now freed up to pursue other interests

Outcomes

Between 2002 & 2005 we were retained by a leading Estate Agency in London (who have asked not to be identified) to review with the Directors what needed to be done to re-vitalise the business and take it forwards in the challenging environment of a difficult market inhabited by price shoppers.

A Highly successful, exhausting (10 hours!) and extremely revealing TEAM day identified where the core challenges were within the business, including fundamental issues between the two Directors (one with responsibility for the Agency side of the Business and the other for Mortgage business) with conflicting Leadership styles. This had led to a lack of Team motivation, poor performance and was further complicated by a very poor "macho" Leadership style within one of the branches.

Everyone in the entire business became, with the permission of both owners, involved in the process of determining the future direction of the business, and this was achieved through a series of facilitated meetings where the Team, now working together much more cohesively, were able to take ownership of their ideas and strategies and became responsible for their implementation. A Team ethos was developed, at the core of which was a desire that everyone work together in a collaborative environment of friendly and supportive competitiveness with the provision of stunning client service at the core of everything that was done.

At the same time we worked on a 1-2-1 basis with, intially the Principal Directors and the "macho" branch Manager to help them to effect the changes necessary to enable the agreed plan for the Business to be brought to fruition.

Given the expressed views of the Team (including the owners), we suggested that the most appropriate Business Model would be to develop a "Happiness Centred Business" as propounded by the Australian Dentist Paddi Lund. Every one at a Leadership level was given "Building the Happiness Centred Business" to read, as well as other titles within the Lund series and asked to feedback their learnings to us. This they duly did and from this we were able to help them develop the core values by which they stood or fell as far as the business was concerned. A Vision and Mission soon followed, proudly published both on their website and in each branch along with their own courtesy system (their core values). Everyone who came into contact with the business knew that they would be treated in accordance with these core values.

We also embarked upon intensive 1-2-1 coaching of the "macho" manager, who quickly realised that is particular leadership style was holding his branch back. He had not before now seen the need to change because, in spite of his style (which was management by fear) his branch was, financially, the most successful. A target driven, stressed personality had to be shown, over time, that there are other, more effective ways of managing. Change was effected, over time and he became a far more effective leader, who ultimately purchased a franchise interest in the business for himself.

The issues relating to the two Directors were far more complex and difficult to deal with. Great friends outside of the business, they were completely unable to deal with their conflicting styles within the business. Literally their personalities were like chalk and cheese, with one Director living the desire to deliver stunning customer care time after time, and the other, literally, paying lip service to it.

Attempts to persuade the Directors to deal with and resolve this conflict were prolonged (18 months) and included facilitating an off site meeting between the two (who were barely now on speaking terms) where each was required to write down the 5 most aggravating factors about the other, voice them and then discuss them and attempt to reach a resolution. A resolution was reached and for some months relationships were much improved and the mortgage team's performance also greatly improved. However, their relationship deteriorated further which ultimately resulted in the mortage business going its own way in a different location and new arrangements being put in place which were more satisfactory to the remaining sole Director, who was coached and mentored throughout this entire time so as to secure a win:win both personally and for the business.

In the meantime, Team motivation remained high (albeit frustrated by the lack of consistent performance at times of the mortgage Team) and by the introduction of a system of much more vigourous qualification of clients (vendors) and prospective purchasers, fall through rates dropped significantly, sales were effected more quickly (because vendors and purchasers were always serious and able, financially, to proceed). This improved cash flows, added to which the level of overall service was such that the value of the average sale fee rose by some 40% over the time that we worked with the Business.

In the three years we spent working with the Director and his Team they were able to develop a business which was very much "Happiness Centred", built upon mutual trust and respect, and upon the foundations that a "Winning Team" would always be required. Referrals from existing clients increased significantly, to become the second best strategy, ranking only behind on-line enquiries.

A Franchise model for the business was also developed which ultimately allowed the remaining Director to sell the Agency side of the Business to franchisees and has freed him up to follow other interests.