Top takeaways AREC 2023 – Day 2

Day 1 at AREC 2023 was a tough act to follow, but Day 2 certainly turned up the inspiration, motivation and real life impact of digging deep and committing to your goals. Olympic gold medallist and media personality Caitlyn Jenner gave an insightful reflection on her sporting career and the impact believing in yourself can have, while former think tank CEO Susan Scott shared some valuable tips on how agents can approach difficult conversations. Here are all of our Day 2 highlights….

Caitlyn Jenner – Believe in the power of you

Olympic gold medallist Caitlyn Jenner’s message to the 4000-plus agents at Day 2 of AREC yesterday was simple – “believe in the power of you”

Jenner, who won gold in the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, said everyone has the potential to do tremendous things.

“I call it finding the champion within,” she said.

“I firmly believe that everybody has that champion that lives down deep inside them that can overcome tremendous obstacles and do great things with their lives.”

To achieve this, Jenner said her four key words for success were:

  • Gamble – “Gamble your best shot in life, dare to take risks. Life has got to be an adventure, or it’s nothing.”
  • Cheat – “Surround yourself with positive people, uplifting people. People that want to see you do well.”
  • Lie – “Lie in the arms of those that you love. When it comes right down to it, all we have is one another.”
  • Steal – “Steal every moment of happiness. Live every day as if it was your last, because we never know when that day is going to come.”

Jenner detailed growing up with Dyslexia and struggling at school before finding she was good at sports and throwing all of her efforts into that, including the level of commitment, time, energy and effort it took to not just reach the Olympic games and become the best athlete in the world, but overcome a few setbacks along the way.

That included hitting a poor run of form at athletic meets in the year leading up to the Olympics and Jenner said at first she was lost and didn’t know how to find what she needed to reach the next level in the sport.

In the end, she said it was having the confidence to say winning the games was the most important thing in her life that enabled her to find her inner champion and do exactly that.

“I had to say, ‘Yes, winning the games is the most important thing in my life’,” Jenner recalls.

“But to say that, I had to reach deep down where that champion lives and say, ‘I have to have enough confidence in myself as a human being, that I can overcome failure, I’m smart enough, I’ve got family structure, I’ve got good people around me, somehow I will recover from failure’.

“Now it may take me a day to recover, it may take me 10 years of my life to recover, but I will recover from failure, and I will go on with life.

“But what I have to do today is I have to make a commitment to excellence.

“I have to take my commitment level so high that it’s the difference between life and death.

“That’s exactly how I went after it. I wasn’t physically in any better shape than I was the week before, but I was totally committed to what I was doing.”

Susan Scott – Fierce conversations

Having tough conversations with team members or delivering bad news to clients is never easy, but author and former think tank CEO Susan Scott says telling the truth early, using the word ‘and’, as well as asking questions, can give agents the power to tackle those uncomfortable moments in a positive way.

Susan says our most valuable currency is not money but our relationships and, in order to keep those on an even keel, a fierce conversation is often warranted with those in our lives.

But she says fierce does not equal ‘mean’, rather that fierce conversations are always kind. A key component is recognising that no one person owns the truth and others will have different perspectives, even on the same topic or event.

“Tell the truth and tell it early,” Susan advised.

“None of us owns the entire truth – there are multiple competing perspectives, on just about any topic under the sun.”

Susan said it was also important to reframe the language used in difficult conversations and to stop using the word ‘but’ and to replace it with the word ‘and’.

She said the word ‘but’ is often taken as a sign you disagree with someone or are not willing to hear their perspective, whereas using the word ‘and’ lets the other person know you value their views and input. 

“It can even be, ‘ok, I hear you and I’m still struggling with that, so can you tell me more about it’,” Susan said.

“That is an invitation that keeps things open and that also signals to anybody else who’s in the room or in the vicinity that ‘okay, he or she’s really asking (for our views), I’m going to dive in and share what I’m thinking’.”

Susan said it’s also important to elicit as much information as you can during a fierce conversation, which can be as simple as asking your team member or client, “what’s the most important thing for you and I to talk about today”?

“When that person comes up with it, then you say, ‘What’s going on, how long has it been going on? What results is it producing? How is it affecting the organisation, your work and your clients? How is it affecting you?’” she said.

“Then keep asking, ‘What else, what else, what else’?

“Because if we don’t get to emotions around a topic, then we haven’t given the lit match something to ignite.”

Susan said this method of asking a lot of questions with clients or potential clients could also help difficult conversations, such as a vendor’s home not being worth what price they want for it, go much smoother.

She said establishing rapport by asking questions such as why the vendor is selling, what they’re hoping for in moving, the meaning behind the art on their walls and how many dogs they have, would then give agents the opportunity to approach the price question in a warm, kind, but honest way.

“You can say, ‘I wish your home was a million-dollar home, that would make me so happy,” Susan said.

“‘I think there are probably some agents that are going to tell you what you want to hear, that you can get that (price), but I don’t think we can’ and then give reasons.

“‘Then say, ‘My goal is to actually sell your home for you as quickly as possible, for the highest price we can possibly get’.”

Chantell Collin – The power of togetherness

“If you look after your people, your people will look after your business.”

That’s a quote from business magnate Sir Richard Branson, but it’s also one Chantell Collin lives by as the head of property management at BresicWhitney.

Speaking at the AREC Property Management conference, Chantell said the BresicWhitney property management business had just experienced its best year of growth, with the last year variance up just over 20 per cent.

She said the secret to the agency’s success was its focus on “togetherness”.

According to the dictionary, “togetherness” means “ a state of being close to another person or people. 

But at BresicWhitney, she said it means something different.

“It’s really about the culture of sharing, learning, developing and achieving together,” Chantell said.

“It’s a unified approach on how we add value and, probably most importantly, it’s a community of belonging.”

Togetherness is one of a series of values, which also include humility, wise judgement, honesty, courage and excellence.

Chantell said every team member at BresicWhitney was aligned with these values and even during the interview and hiring process candidates were made aware of and asked about their ability to align with these values.

“Our goal is that, from the very first day they walk in the door, they know what they are, they know what they mean and they really have bought into them and want to be a part of that culture,” she said.

Chantell said BresicWhitney wanted to be trusted advisors to their clients and tenants as well as Sydney’s leading property group together.

She said one way they looked to achieve this was through ensuring every team member was in the right role according to their skills, what they were good at and what they enjoyed doing. 

A few years ago Chantell implemented personal growth plans for each of her team, which looks at their goals, what they want to achieve and what career path is mapped out for them.

It’s reviewed annually.

She said the one-on-one had not too long ago saved the BresicWhitney team from losing a valued team member. 

“I was able to uncover that he wasn’t really enjoying what he was doing at that point in time and was considering leaving,” Chantell said.

“If we hadn’t had that one-on-one  I might not have uncovered that.”

With that knowledge in hand, Chantell and the team were able to move the team member into a different role and they had excelled.

She attributes that success to BresicWhitney having a growth mindframe where team members can have open conversations with their leaders. 

And behind any growth, Chantell said, is a clear vision, purpose and value alignment.

“I really believe that you need to have those things before you can have growth,” she said.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.