John McGrath, Chief Executive of McGrath Estate Agents, says “Ignore the economy and your competitors, and focus on what really matters”
There are only two places you can be in your business – on track or off track. Nowhere else. The same can be said for the rest of your life as well. Where are you today? On or off track? This is one of the important questions that you shouldn’t ignore. Once you’ve determined the answer (and most people I ask answer ‘off track’), you can start to move forward. The first key decision is to visualise what ‘on track’ will look like, and get some clarity about what your business needs to be doing to get there.
Once you have that all-important clarity, I suggest you need to do a few simple things. First and foremost, really believe that it’s possible. You have to know that what you want for your business is achievable. Rarely have I met a manager or business owner who has an unachievable set of goals. So step one, get rid of any doubt and get serious about taking your business and yourself to a whole new level. It’s not a matter of ‘Can I?’ It’s simply a matter of ‘Who do I have to become and what do I have to do?’
Next, you need to take responsibility. Own your previous outcomes and take control. The things that people invariably blame for their shortcomings are almost always excuses they invent to lay blame and shift responsibility somewhere other than the only place that truly matters, which is within themselves.
Let’s look at a number of reasons I constantly hear as to why people fail to deliver:
- The Government
- Interest rates
- The GFC (a recent easy excuse)
- The weather
- Staff (‘I can’t find any good people’)
I could go on, but you get the picture. That’s the Outer Market. Do those things play a role? Maybe 10 per cent. So what’s the 90 per cent that gets you back on track?
The Inner Market is the stuff that success is built upon, and, unlike the Outer Market (which you really have no control over), you have 100 per cent control over it. When the GFC hit, I called in our management team and declared that we would choose not to participate in it. I said we had a choice: we could become part of the misery, or we could have laser beam focus on the job at hand. Find people who wanted to sell their homes. Give them a plan to achieve their goal. Find lots of buyers (and yes, even in the depths of the GFC there were still buyers!) and bring them together. While the real estate industry continued to be challenged, we recorded a milestone in FY11, selling $5.7 billion in residential sales, up from $3.25 billion in FY09.
Take responsibility and identify the drivers behind your results. In my experience, the following are a few of the Inner Market things that you can be doing today and every day to take your business to where it should be.
- Goal clarity. Know exactly where you and your business are going.
- Alignment. Everyone else, I mean everyone else, understands your goals.
- A simple plan. A document that can be read in two minutes that clearly and simply outlines how you’ll do it.
- Great people. There are many great people looking for great business leaders to work with. Find them and share your vision.
- Energy. Be excited every minute of every day about your journey. Enthusiasm attracts great people, great customers, great results.
- Focus. Imagine if every day you and your team worked intensely on the five most important things without distraction.
- Raving fans. Have a culture that creates a raving fan out of everyone your business touches today, whether on the phone or in person.
- Superior systems. Well organised and passionate businesses grow faster. Simple. You want to grow faster? Get seriously organised. Today.
Check what you are focused on right now, and make sure you have clarity around what you are doing to keep your business moving in the right direction. Keeping on track with energy and focus will see your business move forward faster.
John McGrath is the CEO of McGrath Real Estate.