Moments of Truth

Successful implementation of the company vision is a sign of great leadership. John and Stephanie McCloskey share how to turn your vision into reality, starting with an honest examination of customer experience.

In our last article we floated the idea of a company vision. A great leader is one who can take that vision and turn it into something meaningful, something the whole company can buy into. It is the execution that separates the great from the mediocre; the action of taking the words, the collective intention, and turning them into reality. Such is great leadership.

Implementing the vision will allow you, as the leader, to coach and mentor your people. You will share in their successes and help them to grow in the areas where they have to stretch beyond their comfort zone. You will create an atmosphere where everyone is pulling together in the same direction, not because the leader wants them to, but because they want to!

Your job is constantly to circulate, reminding everyone of the importance of the vision, to focus on the actions and encourage their best. The results of this will be better people who are more involved, representing your business in the marketplace.

Great leadership requires sharing the responsibility for the vision. Too many leaders, especially managers, want to micromanage projects.

Delegate instead! Be the hub of the project, share the stories and massage the problems. Relate your expectations and remind the team of why they are doing what they are doing.

In 2015, why not try a new approach and undertake a specific project as an experiment in executing the vision? We have found the best place to start is with a real examination of the customer experience. When was the last time you had the courage to ask your customers ‘How could we have made this better for you?’

In today’s business world it is essential to be ‘customer- centred’, but what does that really mean? Each time we touch the customer we create a ‘moment of truth’. Unfortunately, over 60 per cent of so-called ‘satisfied customers’ never purchase from the same business again! Being satisfied is the entry level as far as service industries go today. If you want your business to thrive then figure out what customers want and look at how to ‘wow’ them at every point.

Convene a meeting of the whole team early in 2015, a project planning meeting involving sales, rentals and admin, to examine the customer experience.

We recommend you start by looking at every touch point in your business, every interaction with the clients you serve. That is web, signage, sales calls, rental processes, emails, texts and your language. How does the customer experience align with your vision? How does it reflect on how you want to be seen? Does it deliver on your promise of service or does it fall far short? You may be surprised, but better you know than not know.

If your business is big enough, then split into teams that have areas of responsibility. Assign a manager for the team and have them report back to you. Use deadlines. As a team, they will decide what needs to be focused on, who is doing it and when it needs to be done by.

With every interaction, we create a moment where the customer can judge us. If you really want to make a difference in the marketplace today, then have your vision reflect how you want your customers to perceive you. Remember, how they see you is how you are. If you think otherwise, you are dead in the water.

By immersing ourselves in the customer’s experience we simply see ourselves as we truly are, and from that we can make some real-time decisions about how we go forward as a team.

A number of years ago Michael Eisner, then CEO of Disney, was observed picking up a piece of rubbish at Disneyland. When asked later how many cleaners Disney employed, he proudly stated that the company had 4,210. This number equalled the total Disney workforce at the time. The reporter pushed for further clarification. Eisner replied that when the general public saw rubbish on the ground, they judged Disney as underperforming; they did not judge the cleaning department or a single individual, but the whole company. Therefore, Disney had 4,210 cleaners.

If vision is how we see ourselves, then execution via a great leader is how it comes to life.

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John & Stephanie McCloskey

John and Stephanie McCloskey run Get Real Estate Training to activate engagement and leadership competencies in agents and provide coaching for real estate business owners.