Strong hands steady the ship

Joel Davoren took up the role of Managing Director at RE/MAX Australia at the start of July.

He says transitioning into the role has meant adapting quickly and a shift in thinking, but with change an ever-present factor in everyone’s lives at the moment, he has taken it in his stride.

“The feeling of change right now is incredibly palpable; you can almost cut it with a knife,” Joel says.

“The hardest changes to understand and adjust to are those that are completely unexpected and out of our control.

“Like a global pandemic.”

Facing COVID-19 and its implications has required major change in all aspects of people’s lives, and this can be an intense, sometimes traumatic, experience.

“When we are living week to week, not necessarily knowing what is going to happen, it is important that we can rely on some of our anchors and processes in life to help us feel more in charge of our days, rather than the alternative,” Joel says.

When the reality of change hits, people need time to adjust.

They need information, need to understand what is happening, and how to get help.

Joel knew, though, that time was of the essence for the network and real estate consumers.

“I saw that the RE/MAX leadership team had to move quickly, which meant facing the fact that we couldn’t let striving for perfection get in our way,” he says. 

“We had to be more present ourselves with our clients, more than we ever had before.

“We had to keep the network calm and informed.”

Joel says it was a critical stage for communication and it was vital they stood in front of their clients.

“Our communication needed to be frequent without overwhelming people in our network, so we delivered in meaningful chunks and made sure that they knew where to go for more information if they needed it,” he says.

“We made sure we were able and available to answer any questions that came up.

“We took action to provide fast and clear communication and support and pre-empt the issues our people might experience; and in doing so, we reached a turning point for individuals in our network and in our business.”

Joel says in March and April the team was in crisis mode, facing change, but now it has moved to a management phase.

When Joel slipped into the driver’s seat COVID-19 was still unfolding and he saw the urgency and called a Sunday meeting of RE/MAX Australia directors.

“I just knew that this was a pivotal point in time, and it was an incredibly important meeting,” he recalls.

“We were spread across two countries, and it took each of us away from our families, but I knew it was critical, that we had to pull it together now to stay ahead of the unfolding crisis and the change it was bringing.”

Joel says it may also have been a pivotal moment for the leadership change.

“I think that was partly when MD (Michael Davoren) decided ‘these guys have it under control’,” he says.

Joel believes there is a framework for being a capable leader and it encompasses research, study, skill development and change.

It’s something that is constantly evolving and growing.

“I’m excited about the opportunity, regardless of the challenges that its timing presents,” Joel says.

“I think it will be a great test, not only for me but my co-directors, Chris Chapman and Josh Davoren, and I know we are up to the task.

“I don’t think I am a great managing director – but I think that I will become one, with the support of the team.”

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