In this preview of his Transform Masters Coaching session, The Agency’s Matt Lahood talks leadership, company culture, and more. Matt Lahood will also be speaking at our event How to lead a winning team in 2018 on the 14th November. To book tickets, click here.
Q. How do you define culture?
Matt: First for me, it’s about creating an environment where people are safe to give their thoughts and discuss issues that may be happening with each other, and also with the most senior people.
Culture is defined too, by creating an environment where people are happy to come to work everyday. It’s a safe environment, one. Two, the sharing of ideas. Three, when you give an opinion, that it’s actually actioned.
Q. Should culture come from the top?
Matt: Culture should come from the top initially, but everybody who works in a business, doesn’t matter what your role is, you are the keeper of the culture.
Q. Can culture change over time?
Matt: Culture can change over time. Keeping that culture so it doesn’t change and consistency is to having a lot of face time with the individuals in the company. Ensuring, for example, property management, their team works very closely with sales. If you go to home lines division, they work very closely. So everybody’s the one team.
Q. What do you focus on when hiring?
Matt: Things I focus on when I’m hiring, definitely the attitude and focus. If somebody wants to grow, I’m absolutely keen to have that person onboard. I think there’s only two states in real estate, you can be you’re either growing or dying. We want somebody who’s real excited to enter the culture.
Attitude, first and foremost, about everything. Ethics are absolutely critical. It’s not easy to hide in real estate. If you have a bad track record, the marketplace will weed you out.
I always look at people from how would the client actually look at them when they see me in the lounge room, ’cause we’re in the people business. We just happen to sell property, yeah?
Q. What engages and motivates younger team members?
Matt: Keeping younger generation inspired and engaged, well I’m fortunate ’cause I’ve got children. 16 (years) and 18 (years), so I’m very aware of that generation.
The big thing there is you’ve got to let them set the tone. The younger generation, keeping them focused is…they’ll let you know how they like to work. I
‘ve encouraged them strongly to mix with the other younger team members, but I’ve also encouraged them to also have a tribal elder to connect with as well. When I say a tribal elder, someone that’s been in the real estate game probably more than 10 years, that can guide them through the pitfalls of real estate.
Q. How do you maintain a strong culture?
Matt: What I do weekly and daily to make sure the culture is adopted is I go physically and walk around the entire office and say, “Hello,” to everybody before I go and sit anywhere.
I’m looking for black clouds over people’s heads when I walk in. I’m actually looking for it. I can also spot somebody who’s having a really great day and I’ll use that energy and transfer it around the group, so if somebody’s having a fantastic win of the day, I’ll isolate what they’re doing, what they’ve done, go and grab them for a coffee, then I’ll share that usually in an email. Good news doesn’t usually travel fast, but I like to make it travel fast.
Anybody who’s having an off day, and I don’t care who that person is. I could pick up the front office concierge, might be flat on energy, so I want to know why. I’ll sit in the front office for 15 minutes to find out why. “Why’s your energy low? I can pick something up that’s not right.”
And I think that’s the job of leaders, is to unearth people’s challenges and help them overcome them. It could be something that I’ve done, that’s actually created that negative energy. But I’m not gonna learn by going walking into my office, going straight in there and ignoring the team.