One agonising question – that was the secret to a Queensland firm building an award-winning property management team.
Coral Sea Property Management has credited its passionate staff after being named Small Property Management Company of the Year at the Leading Property Managers of Australia conference.
However, principal Shaun Podbury told Residential Property Manager the Townsville agency first had to make tough decisions to put together such a successful and motivated team.
Mr Podbury said the key was asking himself one tough question – and that if all principals did the same, “half the people on their team” would be shown the door.
“My business coach gave it to me and I sat on a plane to Japan, and for eight hours I felt sick because I knew what I had to do,” he said.
“The question was, ‘knowing what you know now, would you enthusiastically hire every member of your team?’.”
The business has a staffing problem if the answer is no, according to Mr Podbury.
He said the agency must then do two things: remove the underperforming staff; and make sure it is disciplined in its future recruiting.
“Do not bring someone in who doesn’t fit with your culture – we recruit for culture, then we train for skills.
“We didn’t always get it right and one of the hard things is you have to hire based on values.”
Mr Podbury said principals sometimes make the mistake of looking for, say, six values in a new recruit, then decide to hire someone who only ticks four of the boxes.
“Because they interviewed so well we give them those two for free, and it disappoints you 12 months down the track when they do something that doesn’t fit with your values and you wonder, ‘how did that happen?’,” he said.
Mr Podbury said principals have an obligation to provide staff with a clear set of goals and must accept that a failure by staff is actually a failure of their leadership.
“You don’t ever motivate staff,” he said. "Staff motivate themselves, motivation is internal. What you have to do is inspire."
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