To be happy, fulfilled, and to reach our potential, each of us as individuals has certain needs that must be met. Of course, your agency/brokerage is simply a collection of individuals. So, in order for your company to reach its potential, those same six basic needs and opportunities have to be addressed.

In an earlier post (How Cultured is Your Agency), I discussed how critical culture is in our ability to achieve results. As I pointed out, there are two critical elements, environment and discipline, we must consciously build in order for the right culture to develop and flourish. I believe that by ensuring we provide for the needs of our team members to be met, we will create the right environment.

The needs are as follows:

Certainty

There needs to be a level of certainty so that we can feel safe and not waste time and energy worrying. In our work life:

  • We need to know the agency is financially and operationally sound. We need this to feel secure about our future employment.
  • We all need to be certain about how things work. We need to know that the processes/procedures we are asked to follow will deliver the results we are responsible for creating.
  • We need to be certain about how others behave (especially the leaders), so that we can predict what will happen and feel safe. When we are certain about how others behave, we can trust that their intentions are pure.

Questions to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. Are you regularly holding a State of the Agency meeting and being honest, open, and transparent about what is working and what isn't?
    2. Are processes and procedures reviewed and updated on a regular basis?
    3. Is there open communication, cohesive leadership, and a consistency of protocol? Is there trust in all directions?

Variety

As much as we need that certainty and consistency, we also get bored quickly. To help satisfy our need for variety, there must be a vision of what the agency will become. It's not enough for leadership to create this vision; there must be a plan of how they will make that a reality in a controlled manner and at a reasonably comfortable pace.

Questions to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. Do you have a clear Vision of where the agency/brokerage will be in 3 years?
    2. Have you built a Plan of how to make that Vision a reality?
    3. Does every team member understand how they will be impacted?
    4. Has that been communicated? Repeatedly?

Significance

We all need meaning in our lives and want our lives to have purpose and direction. We have to make sure every team member has this in their work life; that they feel important to the overall success of the company.

Questions to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. Has it been made extremely clear how every role will contribute to the organization's success?
    2. Have you set expectations about delivering on those contributions?
    3. Are there consequences when the contributions aren't made?

As much as you might think people want to be left alone, if leadership doesn't take the time to identify contribution/expectations/consequences for individual roles, then the people filling those roles will question how significant they truly are.

Connection

We all want to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

This is a struggle in our industry. We tend to operate in silos or as lone wolves. We have to break down the silos. We have to create the opportunity and expectation for collaboration (selling/reselling as a team). If we don't compete as a team, we can't win as a team. If we don't win as a team, we can't celebrate as a team. And nothing creates greater connections than the opportunity to celebrate a common victory.

Question to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. Are the critical activities in your agency (sales, retention, development, etc.) collaborative efforts, or are they individual endeavors?
    2. Are you celebrating all wins – small steps toward the goals, as well as new business?

Every business must have some level of these first four needs met just to survive. And to be truly successful, you have to provide for each need to be met at progressively higher levels. To thrive, there are two additional needs you must provide the opportunity to be met for your team.

Growth

Some individuals and organizations can get by with very little growth. But you can't afford to be one of those organizations, and you don't want those individuals on your team.

Growth goes well beyond revenue growth (that's a result of the real growth we are looking for). This growth is much more about intellectual and emotional growth. It's about growing in the behaviors that will drive our results; it's an expansion of abilities, capability, learning, and understanding.

Questions to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. Do you have a personal development plan in place for everyone on your team?
    2. Does that plan push them to the edge of their current comfort zone?

Contribute

Our greatest sense of accomplishment almost always results from bringing great value to others, in helping them be more successful.

We feel great at Q4i when we bring a new member into our network, but that doesn't come close to comparing to the feeling we have when we get an email or phone call from one of our members sharing their success story; a success they partially credit to what we have done for them.

Our business models have to be built in such a way that our successes are defined by the MEANINGFUL/SIGNIFICANT success of others.

Questions to determine if you are allowing this need to be met

    1. If you walked through the office and asked your team members the definition of agency success, what would you hear?
    2. Are you regularly collecting client success stories, sharing them with the team, and then celebrating together?

If you want a healthy organization, you have to create the right environment. It's your job to ensure that the opportunity exists for all of the needs of your team to be met. If you do this, the agency will flourish. If you fail, your best people will seek out another environment where their needs will be met.