President & Downtown managing broker, Darlene Brown was recently featured in the Annual business issue of cityscope magazine in an article titled "Embracing the Curve."
Tell us about an unforeseen circumstance you’ve had to navigate as a leader.
After 40 years, the real estate industry has taught me to expect the unexpected. Even the sometimes-turbulent circumstances of recessions, brand mergers, or partnership changes can be overcome if you lead your team to think, plan, and respond with a long-term mindset. Short-term thinking can be devastating to a person or business. Real Estate Partners Chattanooga experienced a 92% increase in the number of REALTORS® at our company over three and a half years. Inevitably, it has introduced new challenges for our team to overcome.
What challenges did you have to overcome, and what did they teach you?
Some examples include increased workload on employees, changing needs in office space, and new technology and systems to benefit our agents and their clients in an ever-changing industry.
First, we hired to our weaknesses and added to our team. This both alleviated some workload from current staff and brought specialized, new skills needed for this season. We learned that hiring people who value teamwork was important in a company like ours and that you must be intentional to keep a growing staff connected across multiple office locations. We also expanded and renovated all three of our office locations over three years. We added more individual offices, group workspaces, and large training areas. We learned that allowing room for future growth is important as you expand.
Lastly, we invested heavily in our technology toolkit and many of our internal operating systems to respond to our agents’ and clients’ changing needs. However, change can be uncomfortable. We learned that introducing change over time is best, if possible, and that our industry requires providing diverse options because every agent’s business needs are different.
How do you mitigate stress for your team in challenging times?
Keep people first. Communicate clearly and often with your team so they feel a part of the growth and changes. Look for opportunities for team members to contribute in ways that progress them toward their personal goals. Be intentional about taking time to connect as a team, even when you’re busier than ever. Give your team a reprieve when they need to recharge and recognize and reward their contributions to the company’s long-term success. Expect the next unexpected thing, and welcome it with a positive, calm response.
To read the full article and access the digital magazine, click here.