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Why agencies must empower their agents

By Sebastian Holloman
14 June 2024 | 12 minute read
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A people-centric culture of continuous learning and development can serve as the ultimate foundation for future success.

In an episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, John Cunningham, the managing director of Cunninghams Real Estate, delved into his network’s unique approach to management, discussing how investing into the growth and development of personnel is integral for achieving success.

With Cunninghams now numbering more than 75 staff members across three locations in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the managing director attributed his network’s prosperity to their policy of only hiring “good people”.


“We’ve done growth for growth’s sake and it just hasn’t worked for us. Wrong people, reputational damage, all kinds of stuff.”

“We say good people get great results. That’s the reality,” said Cunningham, who then detailed how this people-centric mentality influenced his decision to implement a number of training systems aimed at fostering the development of their personnel.

“We have things like learning lunches where we bring people in to talk; it could be about breathing, it could be about finances, it could be about legislation, it could be about anything.”

“And then we have our Tuesday training, and it’s very much about what the team needs. We review that constantly,” Cunningham shared.

And beyond these seminars, the business has also sought to provide its agents with the resources and strategies they need in developing their personalised skill sets.

“If they build a great toolkit, they can dip in and pull out those tools whenever they need them.”

“It’s really important that you have great structure around that, because people want to build a great toolkit,” Cunningham said.

Through this approach, the managing director stated that Cunninghams has greatly benefitted from this understanding of their agents’ individual specialities.

“We’ve got some guys whose number one source of business is open homes, other people whose number one source of new business is database mining.”

“Once you understand those areas of expertise, you can build (on) that,” the managing director noted.

Initiatives such as these have been instrumental in enabling the group to become what Cunningham calls, a “learning organisation”.

“The people have a huge impact on the culture of the business, the culture has a huge impact on the performance of the business, (and) that performance has a huge impact on our clients.”

Ultimately, Cunninghams’ operational mindset serves as an important reminder of how much networks stand to gain from investing into their personnel.

“The number one thing that we want to make sure of is that when they walk in the door, we can give them the best possible experience at work. So they walk home no worse off than when they came in.”

“We want people to actually enjoy coming to work,” the managing director concluded.

Listen to the full conversation with John Cunningham and Grace Ormsby here.

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