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Learning from the best at Street MBA Sydney

Our Street MBA headed to Sydney in September and it didn’t disappoint

Where better than Sydney to learn from the best of the best (and eat our weight in food).

We were lucky enough to visit some of the best in the business: Di Jones, Novak Properties and The Agency. Whilst very different business models, the offices were engaging and open about their journeys and where they were heading.

Spending time with some of the most inspiring leaders in real estate, the tour learnt not only about best practice but also heard about all things people, culture and leading highly effective teams.

Among the attendees were business owners, department managers and property managers, which made for great company.

Along with the office visits, the group were open and willing to share their key objectives, short falls and what underpinned their agency’s success.

Although difficult to choose, here is our shortlist of the key takeaways from the tour:

1. The importance of recruiting team members who fit your culture, over talent. Whilst we all get it wrong from time to time, Matt Lahood mentioned that they don’t lose a forest for a tree. In short, no matter how talented someone is, it is not worth sacrificing your team culture. Onboarding is equally as important as recruitment. When you find the right fit, along with teaching them the business’s processes, embedding them in the company’s culture is essential. Di Jones was a great example of a business that gets this right!  

2. Technology is important but people are still essential. We got to meet Rita, the Di Jones robot answering client enquiries. All offices were of the consensus that while technology is becoming a fundamental part of their business, process is still an essential component and nothing will replace the importance of human connection.

3. Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.  Novak Properties are notorious for their social media and they shared their strategy and how it has become such an integral part of their business. Not many of us feel comfortable sitting in front of a camera or iPhone, however practise makes perfect and now is as good a time as any to get started. We also learnt that unfiltered posts get higher engagement, so don’t overthink it.

4. Stay in your lane and giving permission for people to pull you up when you are off course. We heard how it is important as a leadership group to work to your strengths and stay in your swim lane. None of us are good at everything and each business shared the same vision – they have their strengths and they hired people to overcome their shortcomings.

5. People are at the forefront of the real estate business. The Agency spoke a lot about gaining relationship equity within your team and how important it is to know your people not only professionally but personally – they were quick to point out that 90 per cent of performance is driven by personal factors. It’s important to “coach and mentor your team, as opposed to dictate and mandate”. In other words, have a collaborative culture where your team feel not only valued, but also heard.

After a huge couple of days, the group left the tour bursting with new ideas to implement in their businesses and new connections in the industry – and a few kilo heavier.

An enormous thank you to our tour sponsor Connect Now and Sydney sponsor EBM RentCover – we couldn’t do it without you! We are excited to be heading to Brisbane in a few weeks!

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Grace Hooper

Grace Hooper is Head of Property Management Growth and one half of Gill & Hooper, a boutique property management consultancy agency