Small Adjustments

Most of us want to lead healthier lives. Most of us want to build a healthier planet. Most of us want to have a healthier business.

Getting healthier in your business is just like getting healthier in your body and your home: it is often a matter of small adjustments applied consistently over time.

Think about water for a moment. It’s a precious resource, one that becomes even more so as populations increase. What small adjustments could you make in your relationship with water that would benefit your health or planet?

From a health standpoint, you could drink more of it and cut out the ‘junk’ alternatives to water humans have concocted through the years (read: soda).

From a conservation standpoint, you could turn off the tap while you brush your teeth and shave. A very small adjustment with a very big benefit. Really: can you imagine how much water we’d save if everyone did this?

From an environmental standpoint, you could quit carrying your water around in a ‘disposable’ plastic bottle. There’s nothing ‘disposable’ about them and the alternative is so simple.

Small adjustments in your relationship with water can mean big benefits in your life and the lives of others.

Now, think about your business. What small adjustments could you make in your business life that would yield equally big positive results?

How about planning your day the evening before? Really, simply writing your to do list before going to bed has proven to increase productivity. Simple step: Big return.

How about getting up 30 minutes early every day and spending the extra time stretching and breathing? You will be better prepared physically and mentally to tackle your day and, over time, you will reverse the natural fossilization that occurs as people age. I mean: do you really want to look like a question mark when you hit 80? Small adjustment – Big benefit.

How about committing to NOT respond to crisis? One of the things that happens as we get busy in real estate is that we become reactive. We are bombarded with urgent requests to get things done and to solve problems and to help others with their own tasks. Your entire day can be taken up responding to one urgency after another.

The truth is there are very few real estate emergencies. Not real ones. Most problems can be solved and few ever require immediate attention. So why allow the crisis of the moment to derail your plan for the day? If you will plan your day the night before and then give your plan primacy over everything else, you can quit being re-active in your business and start being pro-active.

If you have agents, you know how they can overload you with dozens of problems. Are you better equipped to solve the problems? Sure. But what other important activities are you going to sacrifice to do so? You could insist that nobody come to you with a problem without also bringing a couple of potential solutions (this short-circuits a lot of unnecessary problem dumping). Or you could be less formal.

I’ve written about a great broker for whom I worked in the early 80s. He was Godzilla’s boss. Remember? The man was adored by his agents. Really: we were so proud to work for him and to have him on our side. One of the things he did so well was to solve problems. We all knew, if we were backed up against the wall with a terrible situation, he could find a strategy, a solution, better than anyone else. And the conversation always went something like this:

‘Have you got a minute?’

‘Sure, what’s up?’

‘Well, I’m having a heck of a time with blah blah blah blah.’

‘Really? Tell me about it.’

‘Ok: blah blah blah blah blah.’

”What solutions have you already tried?’

(From this point forward, I will omit the ‘blahs.’ All lines will be the Broker’s – they are the only ones that count)

‘Why wasn’t that solution successful?’

‘What do you think might make a difference?’

‘How do you think we could make that happen?’

‘I think that’s a pretty good plan – what do you need to move forward?’

And so on. He rarely if ever gave us the answer. Mostly he just asked questions and we found a solution. Now, I don’t want to imply that he never had input. He did. But mostly he got us to think about our problems in new ways and to invent our own solutions.

It was a small adjustment in his style (he curbed his own impulse to have the answer)  that had a big payoff in his business – a happy, loyal and productive staff.

Finally, think about baseball for a moment, professional baseball.  There are superstars being paid millions to play the game and there are many not-s0-super-stars making a whole lot less.  The average players – the ones who will be largely forgotten when they leave the game – will successfully make contact with the ball and have a hit 5 times out of every 20 times they come to the plate.  The superstars?  What makes them so much more valuable?  What makes them worth millions to a club?  Every 20 times they come to the plate, they will get 6 hits.  Just one hit more.

What small adjustment can you make in your business and your life to get just one more hit?

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