TRIBE OF EX­PERTS Emma Slape, Ashley Fell, Ben Foster and Bradley Fraser

ARPM is back for its 16th year to be held on 19 and 20 Au­gust. Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Tim Fer­riss' Tribe of Men­tors, we asked this year's ex­pert speak­ers how they make things hap­pen in their own busi­nesses and what they've learned along the way.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - BRADLEY FRASER NEW CLIENT CON­SUL­TANT, MCGRATH LOWER NORTH SHORE

EMMA SLAPE CEO, TURNER REAL ES­TATE What is the most im­por­tant thing you are work­ing on and how are you mak­ing that hap­pen?

Shap­ing our busi­ness to be as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble, whilst not los­ing the per­sonal con­tact. Real es­tate is a peo­ple busi­ness, so we must utilise tech­nol­ogy but also re­mem­ber that peo­ple chose us for our ex­pe­ri­ence, skills and abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively. Our team con­stantly re­views what we do and why we do things in a cer­tain way.

Where do great ideas in your busi­ness come from?

There are so many in­spi­ra­tional peo­ple in real es­tate. Lach­lan Turner and I find great value in seek­ing out the best minds and shar­ing busi­ness ideas. We love be­ing part of na­tional con­fer­ences, work­ing with lead­ers such as Lee Wood­ward, Deniz Yusuf and Dar­ren Hunter, and meet­ing other busi­ness lead­ers who share sim­i­lar val­ues and goals.

Who are your lead­er­ship men­tors and what do they do to in­spire you?

I have men­tors in­side and out­side real es­tate to keep a broad per­spec­tive in busi­ness. I re­late to peo­ple who have a ser­vice-fo­cused back­ground and strive for con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

How has a fail­ure, or ap­par­ent fail­ure, set you up for later suc­cess?

A com­mon phrase of mine is, ‘If it’s a com­plete disas­ter, we’ll change the plan’. I guess it’s al­ways about mon­i­tor­ing what’s go­ing on and mak­ing con­tin­ual tweaks when things aren’t per­fect. My team al­ways know that if some­thing doesn’t look right we need to change, not com­plain about why it’s wrong.

What is one of the best or most worth­while in­vest­ments you’ve ever made?

In­vest­ing time in our team and peo­ple is al­ways im­por­tant, to know what’s val­ued by them and how to en­gage and mo­ti­vate them. Hav­ing a di­verse team gives us agility and depth, and know­ing where those strengths lie in the team is a key to suc­cess.

In the last five years what new be­lief, be­hav­iour, or habit has most im­proved your life?

Learn­ing a lan­guage is re­ally in­ter­est­ing and chal­lenges your think­ing. I play Span­ish pod­casts in the car; it im­me­di­ately takes you out of your cur­rent busy work life and forces a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing. It can be quite a cir­cuit-breaker af­ter or dur­ing a busy day.

What com­monly given ad­vice do you think peo­ple should ig­nore?

That tech­nol­ogy is the an­swer to ev­ery­thing. Tech­nol­ogy is cru­cial, ab­so­lutely, but look at what you need to change and how it works with your busi­ness and sys­tems.

What is the most im­por­tant thing you are work­ing on and how are you mak­ing that hap­pen?

At present we are im­ple­ment­ing a new short-term let­ting part­ner­ship with a cou­ple of busi­nesses that of­fer in­no­va­tive and con­sumer-ori­ented so­lu­tions to hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion. We are ac­tively list­ing homes and apart­ments for this, and my role is fo­cused on train­ing and bring­ing new clients into the fold.

Where do great ideas in your busi­ness come from?

Most of the bet­ter ideas I’ve had have been or­ganic and de­rived from on-the­job ac­tiv­i­ties. Sim­ple things like pri­vate in­spec­tions six days a week to set me aside from the com­pe­ti­tion is a good ex­am­ple. Things don’t need to be rev­o­lu­tion­ary to make a ma­te­rial dif­fer­ence.

“IF SOME­THING DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT WE NEED TO CHANGE, NOT COM­PLAIN ABOUT WHY IT'S WRONG.”

Who are your lead­er­ship men­tors and what do they do to in­spire you?

Elon Musk works ev­ery day, leads by ex­am­ple, is mak­ing the world a bet­ter place and has de­voted his own re­sources to each ven­ture, putting his own fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity on the line.

How has a fail­ure, or ap­par­ent fail­ure, set you up for later suc­cess?

Early on in my ca­reer, I had nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions where I thought I was do­ing the right thing by a client and found I was do­ing the op­po­site – mostly in pric­ing homes, try­ing to please my clients. It came to a head af­ter I lost a few list­ings as I hadn’t achieved the ex­pected re­sult; I fi­nally de­cided I would take a stronger line and stick to my guns ir­re­spec­tive of what my client wanted.

Then, the next list­ing I lost to a com­peti­tor with the client feel­ing I had 'un­der­priced' it. Four weeks later, the client came back and gave me the list­ing; they hadn’t had any luck at the higher price and their agent had asked for three price re­duc­tions in four weeks. Al­ways stick to what you be­lieve in – if you try and ap­pease peo­ple by ig­nor­ing your own be­liefs, you are do­ing both your­self and them a dis­ser­vice.

What is one of the best or most worth­while in­vest­ments you’ve ever made?

Putting to­gether a team. In my role it’s un­usual to be any­thing but a sole op­er­a­tor; since I took some­one on (I now have two team mem­bers) my busi­ness has grown and time spent work­ing on build­ing my busi­ness has in­creased. I can’t em­pha­sise enough how im­por­tant it is to be con­cen­trat­ing on tasks that are util­is­ing your tal­ents, not wast­ing time on tasks you’re not suited to.

In the last five years, what new be­lief be­hav­iour or habit has most im­proved your life?

Hard con­ver­sa­tions – have them, don’t dis­sem­ble or avoid; they’re of­ten the only con­ver­sa­tion that mat­ters.

What com­monly given ad­vice do you think peo­ple should ig­nore?

‘Per­fect week’. It works for some, it doesn’t for oth­ers. Don’t feel judged by those it does work for and make sure you have clear ac­count­abil­ity that suits you.

BEN FOSTER HEAD OF PROP­ERTY MAN­AGE­MENT, CAMERON What is the most im­por­tant thing you are work­ing on and how are you mak­ing that hap­pen?

We have been tran­si­tion­ing to a new soft­ware plat­form called Re-Leased, mov­ing from a server-based to a cloud-based pro­gram. This has re­ally been the fo­cus of fu­ture-proof­ing our busi­ness and pro­vid­ing a more nim­ble so­lu­tion to our clients.

Where do great ideas in your busi­ness come from?

Great ideas within our busi­ness come from our staff. I think one of the great­est as­sets we've got is the abil­ity for them to speak freely and make sug­ges­tions for im­prove­ments to our team and how we op­er­ate.

Fol­low­ing one sug­ges­tion we've im­ple­mented the 'Cameron Chron­i­cle’, an in­ter­nal monthly dig­i­tal news­let­ter touch­ing on what ev­ery­one's do­ing; birth­days, an­niver­saries or mile­stones, sales and leas­ing trans­ac­tions, new man­age­ments on­boarded, up­dates from our man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and staff in­ter­views.

Who are your lead­er­ship men­tors and what do they do to in­spire you?

Our man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Ben Cooper, is very in­no­va­tive and a mar­ket leader in our space. I'm of­ten in awe of some of the ideas he im­ple­ments. I also look to es­tab­lished peo­ple who started the com­pany, such as David Cooper and John Cooper, and peo­ple like Tom Ferry; I know he's very sales-driven and mo­ti­vated, as is Tom Panos, but some of their ideals fil­ter through to what­ever in­dus­try you're in.

How has a fail­ure, or ap­par­ent fail­ure, set you up for later suc­cess?

I don't look at them as fail­ures but more as 'learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences'. I've made some mis­takes along the way that have af­fected the op­er­a­tions of the busi­ness, the di­rec­tion we've gone or staff re­ten­tion. I think all of them, suc­cesses and fail­ures, help us grow and im­prove. If you re­peat that mis­take, you're a slow learner and prob­a­bly need to look at your­self more than the fail­ure.

What is one of the best or most worth­while in­vest­ments you’ve ever made? Could be an in­vest­ment of money, time, en­ergy, etc.

I'm very con­scious of mak­ing time for my fam­ily out­side of work. Early on, I made the mis­take – I think most real es­tate agents do this – to ded­i­cate a lot of my time to real es­tate. Now I drop my boys to school two days a week and I get to soc­cer train­ing; they're non­nego­tiables in my diary.

In ad­di­tion, I en­cour­age my staff [to in­vest in] pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment. At­tend­ing cour­ses, sem­i­nars at the REIV run, things like ARPM or AREC. Pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ments are im­por­tant to any­one look­ing to grow their per­sonal wealth through salary in­creases and pro­fes­sional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

In the last five years, what new be­lief, be­hav­iour or habit has most im­proved your life?

Hav­ing an open-door pol­icy has given me re­ally good rap­port with all lev­els of my team, but the down­side is they can come to rely on it too much. That's one of the strong­est habits I'm try­ing to ob­tain; to be a good sound­ing­board and men­tor, but not do the job for them. Giv­ing them the rope to go and do it them­selves and have the con­fi­dence that I'll back them if it doesn't work out.

What com­monly given ad­vice do you think peo­ple should ig­nore?

‘You can't do it.’ Just give it a go. What's the worst that can hap­pen? I en­cour­age my kids that it doesn't mat­ter if they don't kick a goal, but if they don't step onto the soc­cer pitch, they're not even go­ing to get a chance of kick­ing a goal.

“JUST GIVE IT A GO. WHAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAP­PEN?”

ASHLEY FELL HEAD OF COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS, MCCRINDLE What is the most im­por­tant thing you are work­ing on and how are you mak­ing that hap­pen?

I have a few in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences com­ing up, so de­vel­op­ing new con­tent for these is a pri­or­ity at the mo­ment, us­ing re­search to up­date and in­di­vid­u­alise the con­tent.

Where do great ideas in your busi­ness come from?

The great ideas in our or­gan­i­sa­tion come from col­lab­o­ra­tion, whether that’s within our team or with our clients, to cre­ate and de­sign so­lu­tions. As re­searchers we also use re­search and in­sights to help drive strat­egy and idea cre­ation, us­ing the tools at our dis­posal to iden­tify the trends im­pact­ing our in­dus­try and how to be re­spon­sive to them.

Who are your lead­er­ship men­tors and what do they do to in­spire you?

Lisa McInnes-Smith is some­one I have drawn in­spi­ra­tion from for a num­ber of years. She is a phe­nom­e­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tor with a pow­er­ful mes­sage. I also have the priv­i­lege of work­ing along­side Mark McCrindle, whose lead­er­ship, gen­eros­ity, hu­mil­ity and abil­ity to in­spire peo­ple I re­ally ad­mire.

How has a fail­ure, or ap­par­ent fail­ure, set you up for later suc­cess?

Early in my ca­reer, I learned a valu­able les­son when I un­der-com­mu­ni­cated with a jour­nal­ist who was run­ning a story we were sup­ply­ing data for. When I re­alised, I went to the jour­nal­ist and ex­plained the miss­ing de­tails and why I had over­looked them. I learned through this the value of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, even the tough or neg­a­tive in­for­ma­tion, and why it’s im­por­tant to es­tab­lish­ing trust.

What is one of the best or most worth­while in­vest­ments you’ve ever made?

De­liv­er­ing my TEDx talk last year was such a great ex­pe­ri­ence and, al­though a lit­tle stress­ful, was so worth the time and en­ergy I in­vested into it. While I was a bit ner­vous in the lead-up, when I was de­liv­er­ing it I loved ev­ery minute.

In the last five years, what new be­lief, be­hav­iour or habit has most im­proved your life?

With the rise of dig­i­tal de­vices and their pres­ence in our lives, I’ve tried to re­duce how much I use my mo­bile phone when spend­ing qual­ity time with peo­ple, or when try­ing to ac­com­plish a task. Re­search sug­gests that even the sound of a mes­sage can dis­tract and dis­rupt, so I’m try­ing to be more present by lim­it­ing my mo­bile use, which I’ve found re­ally help­ful.

What com­monly given ad­vice do you think peo­ple should ig­nore?

‘Love it or leave it’. Whether it be in ref­er­ence to a ca­reer or some­thing else, I think there is merit in per­se­ver­ing through the times when we may not be ‘lov­ing’ some­thing, and see­ing it through (for a time) to see if this sen­ti­ment changes.

“I THINK THERE IS MERIT IN PER­SE­VER­ING THROUGH THE TIMES WHEN WE MAY NOT BE ‘LOV­ING' SOME­THING, AND SEE­ING IT THROUGH”

Emma Slape

Bradley Fraser

Ben Foster

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