Building powerful teams: Will Ainsworth

For Will Ainsworth, creating a strong company culture starts in the hiring process and employing those with similar values. Here, the Openn Negotiation Head of Growth and Training explains his key ingredients for building a solid workplace culture and what to do when one person’s ego gets in the way.

Describe the culture in your business?

  1. Collaboration. Teams are more powerful when they acknowledge, share and draw on the expertise of their members. 

    It’s so important to be able to lean on the person who has the most experience in their field to generate the best outcome. 

  2. Honesty. We are here to help build greater trust in agents and the industry, so we need to (and do) be honest within our business.  

  3. Transparency. Everyone knows the direction and goals we’re trying to achieve.

If we are all on the same page, we can push forward as a united team with a shared vision. 

What impact does culture have on your business’s success? 

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the phrase, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life,” was a crock.  

He meant when you find a job or company you’re passionate about you will work harder than ever before, but you won’t mind doing so.  

I firmly agree and see this sentiment reflected in our people and culture every day. 

Everyone in our business has a common underlying goal to make the industry better for agents, buyers and sellers.

That is the reason we come to work.

If your ‘why’ is powerful enough, that’s what drives and inspires you. 

What do you do day-to-day to maintain a positive culture in your business? 

It’s a unique setup as I work remotely from the team based in Western Australia, yet I feel more connected to them than I did when I was onsite at many previous workplaces.

We don’t have meetings for the sake of it, they are to assess past and future goals, and then we move on.

We also use Microsoft Teams to keep us connected from day-to-day.  

How do you approach teaching your business’s culture to newcomers? 

It starts in the hiring process. We look for people with similar ethics and morals as this makes ‘teaching’ them easy, and they seem to just fit in.

They say you become the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. 

With so much of our lives spent in the workplace, it doesn’t take long for a good company culture to rub off.  

I also believe that words mean nothing without action. Taking action as opposed to saying you will is what creates great culture and leadership.  

Explain a time internal culture felt ‘off track’ and how you corrected it? 

We had an employee who was egocentric and an individual (not a team player). They tend to stand out easily. 

It’s a matter of following the ethos of being honest and transparent and just telling them.

In past experiences, if you let it go on, it can quickly infiltrate the rest of the team and create more issues.

Be assertive and give them the chance to change or move on.

That shows the rest of the team how important culture is and binds them even more. 

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.