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Chairman’s Message: New Market Challenges Will Require New Brokerage Leadership Configurations

Quincy Virgilio: MLSListings Inc 2015 Chairman

Quincy Virgilio
2017 Chairman, MLSListings

Over the past few decades, the concept of real estate “team” has gone through a number of conceptual and operational iterations. In the traditional sector, the term was often used by real estate entities to put a positive and familial spin on their human resources. The fact of the matter is that in the vast majority of cases these folks have operated as anything but teams with agents generally rejecting brokerage or management recommendations and moving in whatever directions they deemed relevant to their own interests. This dynamic has had a significant impact on the consumer experience delivered by most brokerages.

Over the past five years the concept of team within the industry has morphed into an arrangement under which certain agents, many of whom steadfastly refused to tolerate any efforts by brokerages to operate as a team, suddenly agreed to submit to the absolute mastery of a “super” agent on whose team they wished to serve. While many veterans find this remarkable turn of events hard to believe, the fact is that teams have become one of the most significant forces in the marketplace. Yet the consumer experience remains largely undefined.

Moving forward, the latest iteration of the industry’s definition of “team” will begin to impact the marketplace later this year. It will be driven by the widely-accepted fact that virtually every element of the current consumer and transactional real estate process is presently going through either a significant change or will be experiencing significant changes. Some of the more powerful forces driving these changes are:

  • Demands by consumers for more consistent, accountable, and satisfying real estate service experiences.
  • Ranking and rating systems that will provide consumers with highly detailed evaluations from entities and consumers with whom the agent and/or brokerage has previously worked with.
  • Emerging technologies that will jointly and severally create standards driven, efficient and accountable real estate experiences.
  • The increasing influence and power of third party lead generators who will seek to control the marketplace by delivering a managed and standards driven consumer experience that is both positive and satisfying.
  • Demands by the economy itself for business and transactional systems that will drive higher returns from investments in real estate entities using automation, advanced data delivery, and standards of practice.

Defining Future Teams

Under any interpretation of these circumstances the business and service requirements, relationships, tasks, and challenges that will come out of the current change process will result in a transactional experience that is significantly different in terms of perspective and execution. Accordingly, the composition of brokerage management and/or marketing leadership teams working in this new environment will require a much different format than the traditional brokerage management team.

Perhaps the most dramatic change that will emerge from this new process will be that the agent will likely no longer be in absolute control of the transaction and client relationship. While agents will continue to play an important role they will do so as part of an integrated brokerage team that will work closely together to deliver a high-quality, standards-driven real estate experience that complies with all the issues identified above.

Given the current speed of change within the real estate industry, brokerages would do well to begin the process of assembling and training such a team. While some team members may already be on board others will have to be recruited.

Building Teams for the Future

Recent studies about teams from Harvard Business School, Rutgers University, and the Deloitte Consulting demonstrate that, unlike traditional team-building that was based on a leader’s education, experience, knowledge and/or who they represented, contemporary team-building demands an understanding relative to what manner of personality and leadership talent a specific leader will bring to the leadership team.

Something that has remained constant over the past several decades is the importance of every CEO and/or manager understanding the personality types of those whom they supervise. Many currently assigned leadership responsibilities in the real estate industry have had some experience with the Myers Briggs personality identification test. This tool has made the concepts of introversion, extraversion, sensing, intuition, thinking, feeling, judging, and perceiving a part of everyday leadership and people management.

However, the study of the leadership experiences of hundreds of corporate, civic, and academic institutions over the past decade has clearly established that, in the final analysis, it is the personality and philosophies of would be leaders that can best predict their potential rather than their professional training or experience.

This means the personality and work style of brokerages moving forward and, to a great extent, the consumer experience they deliver, will be as dependent upon the personalities of the team that is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing the firm’s transactional and operational approach, as it will the life and work experience of this same group.

Personality testing the members of the brokerage team responsible for developing and delivering the firm’s consumer experience is an excellent place to begin the team perfection building process.

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