Talent is one of those overused words in the workplace. So overused (and often even misused) that it has begun to lose its meaning. I get it — I’ve been guilty of it in the past, too. But first, let’s get on the same page about the definition, so we can dive into the good stuff.
Talent can mean a natural aptitude or skill. Talent can also refer to certain individuals in the company who will always have a greater impact than the rest. That second definition is what we’re going to talk about today.
No matter the size of your organization, I recommend not settling for anything less than a talented person on your team. This could be an emerging talent in the form of a new agent, or a seasoned, proven talent if acquired through a brokerage partnership.
Regardless, talented people (those individuals who will have a massive impact on your organization) are who you’re after. The key is to continue to nurture them so they stay on your team and continue to grow for the remainder of their careers. Let’s jump into the three rules for nurturing your talented team members.
1. Understand what makes your agents jump out of bed in the morning
Great leadership starts by understanding your team members and what makes them tick. When I first decided I wanted to go down the path of leadership and build my real estate business, I immersed myself in studying behavior and personality, best practices for organizing people and teams, and the psychology of people.
A big part of nurturing talent is understanding their individual motivations so you can help them achieve what they want in life. One of the first meetings we have with new team members (if we haven’t already done this during the interview process) is what we call a “motivational interview.”
We take agents through an exercise where they envision their life five years from now and then work backwards to learn what they would have had to accomplish for it to be the best five years of their life.
We look for the “what” — the thing they’re most proud of — but we also listen for the reoccurring words they use about how they feel about those accomplishments. After all, it’s not usually “the thing” that motivates people, but the feeling that they are after.
At the end of the day, what motivates me, is different than what motivates you, and that is different from what motivates your agents. If you can really hone in on this, you will have a key to unlock your talent agents potential beyond what you and they thought was even possible.
Don’t forget to revisit this from time to time. Different seasons of an agent’s life brings different motivations. If you want to retain top talent, then have this conversation at least annually.
2. Create a growth path
An important part of nurturing talented team members is showing them their opportunities for growth. Casting the vision for the company and individual career paths is critical. Our organization takes it a step further and maps out two specific growth paths for agents.
Too often, as leaders, we assume that talented agents want to move into a leadership position. And sometimes, we mistake the highest performing agent as potential leadership material. But they are actually two very different career paths.
It’s why some of the world’s best athletes fail as coaches and why some of the greatest sports coaches of all time weren’t elite athletes. Two different career paths. Two highly specialized skill sets. We like to show agents how they can choose either path and continue to grow and achieve their goals.
The first option is an individual contributor growth path. This is for the agent who truly loves sales, real estate negotiations or working with clients and investors. As they grow and continue to increase their number of transactions and clients, they have the opportunity to add leverage to their life. This could be in the form of a showing assistant or a personal assistant or both.
The key here is to show how agents can continue to grow themselves and their income, while adding back time to their lives, without having to leave the career in real estate sales that they love.
The second option is for a talented agent who decides to go down the path of leadership like I did many years ago. First, they must prove that they can handle a certain volume of real estate transactions per month. Next, they begin to test out their vision casting, recruiting, mentoring and leadership skills by recruiting an agent to the team and taking them under their wing.
The agent who successfully continues down this path has the opportunity to explore leadership opportunities with our company, such as director of sales, co-CEO, or even start their own team in another location. Again, the key is to outline the path, with specific metrics they have to hit, in order to show them where they can grow and what they need to get there.
3. Coach them to live their best life
Talented agents who choose to stay with you year after year don’t necessarily do so because of the money (though that’s certainly a benefit). They will stay because you and your company have had a transformational effect on their life.
Coaching to the whole person through a holistic combination of health, wealth, spirituality and personal growth, and leadership and relationships is the cornerstone of how we nurture talented agents.
When you can truly help an agent shift their perspective, create a fitness routine, reorganize their schedule and increase their productivity to spend more time with their family or let go of past baggage, then you’re doing your job as a leader to nurture your talented agents.
Leadership is influence. And when you can influence a life in a profound way, by helping agents achieve their goals and live their best life, they in turn will have an even bigger impact on your business and everyone around them.
True talent is rare. Once you’ve found those individuals, you must continue to nurture them by understanding what motivates them, creating growth paths for them to see the way forward, and coaching them personally and professionally to live their best life.
Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies