Robert Quinn’s model provides a road map for surviving the deep changes taking place not only in our industry, but also in our entire society. The question is, will you become a “change agent” or experience a “slow death” due to your inability to cope with the rapid change.
Our last two articles looked at Robert Quinn’s model as a road map for coping with deep change. Today’s column looks at the other three aspects of his model and how these apply to surviving in the face of new business models, rapidly changing technology and shifting consumer demands.
#2: Externally Directed to Internally Directed
Externally directed individuals are unwilling to change. They fear failure and how others will judge them if they aren’t always successful. Externally directed individuals constantly ask others about what they should do. When the externally directed individual does not succeed, he or she blames others for the failure rather than taking personal responsibility. These people often claim to be victims who have no control over what happens to them. Furthermore, they may elect to engage in unethical behavior because someone else wants them to do so. The key question for those who are externally directed is “What do you think I should do?”
In contrast, the internally directed person has self-chosen principles and standards. These agents and brokers will walk away from a commission rather than do something unethical. They also actively pursue innovation because their businesses and clients benefit. When something fails, they own it and try again. In the end, for every failure they experience, there are numerous successes that give them a competitive advantage. The key question for those who are internally directed is “What actions can I take today to stay ahead tomorrow?”
#3: Self-focused to Other-focused
The self-focused individual engages in the “me-me-me show.” Sadly, much of our industry is still focused on marketing its services with personal brochures and vanity Web sites. The self-focused agent or broker cares only about how much commission can be generated rather than focusing on how their actions have long-term effects on their clients. Because they only focus on what’s best for them, these individuals are the ones who give our profession a black eye. Their actions destroy the trust that many clients want to place in us. The self-focused individual only cares about “What’s best for me and for my business?”
Other-focused individuals approach the business from a service perspective. Their goal is to create win-wins for themselves, their clients, and for the others with whom they work. This collaborative approach generates future referrals as well as a long-term sustainable business. These are people who have integrity, i.e. they do the right thing, even when no one is looking. They willingly put their beliefs and desires aside to focus on how to be a trusted representative of the buyer or seller. Their key question is “how can I create a win-win situation for both me and the people with whom I work?’
#4: Internally Closed to Externally Open
Someone who is internally closed believes that everything is all right the way it is. These agents and brokers have a strong need to be right. A good description is “It’s my way or the highway!” They refuse to hear any feedback except that which validates their position. Symptoms include drops in production, increases in transaction problems, and conflicts with colleagues and clients. Their key question is “Who can I trust to always agree with me?”
On the other hand, agents or brokers who are externally open actively solicit feedback. They contact clients after the transaction closes to learn how to better service them in the future. Once they receive feedback, they carefully consider how to best take action to address any challenges they are facing. Rather than forcing clients to understand “This is how I work,” they focus on providing personalized real estate experience based upon the feedback the client provides. This real estate professional actively questions each client to learn how to better match the client’s unique set of needs. They are able to hear what others have to say and can let go of their personal position when needed. Their key question is “What resources and support do I need to make the best possible decisions?”
There is no question that changes are coming at us more rapidly than ever before. Coping with change is an ongoing process. We can bury our heads in the sand and ignore the change that surrounds us or we can face it head on. The question is will you be one of the forward-thinking individuals who directly confront change or will you face the “slow death” of your real estate career?