The future becomes normal so quickly. But the past gets more exciting every day because it represents a change or improvement you made that took you from one point to another, better point.
- Dan Sullivan, author of Who Not How
Debbie and I have been reflecting on the past year. On March 21, 2020, we spent an entire Saturday on the phone asking ourselves what are we going to do about this?
Here’s what we did (and continue to do) and a handful of things we learned along the way.
Could Do → Should Do → Must Do
For us, most brainstorming sessions follow this model.
What are all of the things we Could Do? Spaghetti at the wall until we’re out of noodles.
Based on that, what are all of the things we Should Do? (if time, people, and resources were unlimited.)
Since we can’t do all of the Shoulds, what are the things we Must Do? If we don’t do these, we miss key opportunities and/or we are susceptible to outside threats.
We emerged from that meeting with a determination to cut through the noise, and lead from the front with 3 Key Areas of Focus:
- Action – Relentless Action
Take a deeper dive into the ‘Could Do → Should Do → Must Do’ exercise here.
We’ve created a free downloadable Must Do Action Plan that you can access here.
We believe that challenging times create opportunities to shine.
The more difficult things become (life, market conditions, etc.), the more positive impact leaders can have. Focusing on what we can control, and not wasting energy on the things we can’t control protects this mindset.
Debbie said it well:
In the midst of a crisis, the worst action a leader can take is no action. Creating a strategic game plan, looking at the situation through a proactive lens, and showing up for your team with unwavering confidence will drive your business forward.
We always have a choice:
- Resist Change
- Adapt to Change
- Lead the Change
In order to Lead the Change, we focused on Proactive and Creative ideas that emerged from our Thinking Time.
A rising tide raises all ships.
Or to use one of my favorite Warren Buffett quotes:
You never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.
In January and February of 2020, the real estate market was off to the hottest start we’d seen in decades (maybe, ever).
While every market has its challenges, the pre-COVID market was pretty easy.
It was a high tide. Agents with average, or below-average, skills were doing just fine. Agents with high skills were doing well, as they always do.
The difference between the two was less discernible to most consumers.
When the game is on the line, the most highly skilled always prevail. Over the past year, the game has been on the line every day.
We knew Digital would be important, which seems like a foregone conclusion now.
We launched our Digital Marketing Wednesday show as a free way of sharing ideas on how to Thrive through shutdowns, generate leads while everyone was sitting at home, and building out new lead generation and marketing strategies to gain market share.
Oh, and the importance of VIDEO. Yes, VIDEO. You can still access the recordings of those shows here.
We believed that having fresh perspectives would be important.
Bill and Debbie with friend Jenny Wemert, pre-COVID
We welcomed some of the brightest minds in our industry (and other industries) to share their wisdom on our Thought Leader Friday show.
The first interview we did was with our friend, Jenny Wemert, whose team closed over $300M in sales last year.
Jenny talked about market conditions, how they built their team, and how they were leading their team in the early stages of the pandemic. You can catch the replay of Jenny’s interview here.
We know that Sales Skills are always important.
We created 7+ hours of Advanced Buyer Agent Skills training.
We created 6+ hours of Advanced Listing Agent Skills Training.
Each is a culmination of our combined 30+ years in real estate.
As Debbie recently said:
Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen our MEC Team and Clients achieve success in a collaborative fashion. We’re all experiencing the sweat of hard work and the reward of accomplishment.
Action – Relentless Action
Around here, we don’t give out badges for being a workaholic. We do, however, celebrate hard work… quality work… meaningful work.
Rapidly changing markets often do require more work, at least until clarity emerges from the fog.
Debbie was giving me a hard time recently on my utilization of the word Sprint.
Sprint to the end of the quarter.
Sprint to the 4th of July.
Sprint to Thanksgiving.
Sprint through the finish line.
In her words, Sprint is MEC code for a never-ending marathon at a fast pace without water.
Business is a marathon with a series of sprints built in.
As it turns out there were a lot more sprints needed over the past year. And, we can’t sprint forever. Nor should we.
One of the silver linings of the past year has been the time we’ve been able to spend growing our relationships with family and close friends, practicing a little more self-care, and creating a little more downtime (albeit sometimes forced downtime).
The past year has presented many challenges, personally and professionally, for many people.
It’s not lost on us that our families and our businesses have thrived through this period.
Some of that is a result of the game plan outlined above. Some of that, candidly, was luck.
We know that some people were not as lucky, and we’re empathetic to that.
We believe that we can all find something to be grateful for, even in our most challenging times.
As Tony Robbins likes to say:
What if life is happening for us, not to us?
What have you learned about yourself and your business over the past year?
Read our article from one year ago, Thriving vs. Surviving in Real Estate, the launchpad for our current reflection.