7 Tips for Success
by Cassie Walker Johnson
After nearly nine years in the property management field I am thrilled to announce that I will continue my 12-year real estate career with Windermere now as the new Branch Manager for the Queen Anne Sales office under the Wall Street Group. I am beyond excited to take on this new role that will allow me to further grow my expertise in real estate, marketing, business development and recruitment.
Making a change after working in the same environment for nearly a decade has been both challenging and eye opening. As I trail blaze through the transition process, I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned along the way.
1) DEFINE YOUR SUCCESS CULTURE: Prior to accepting an opportunity based on income potential, make sure you assess the full picture of your new environment. Do you need a work atmosphere that fosters water cooler chat and kickball tournaments, or just a desk to drop your stapler and visit once a week? Are you seeking a manager or a mentor? In Seattle, of course we have to ask, what brand of coffee is served? While the financials are important, it is the environment and organizational culture that could make or break your happiness and success.
2) MEASURE YOUR MISGIVINGS: This is your opportunity to perfect your tool chest. When I first started in property management I lacked confidence in accounting and found a firm that had strong support. With my new position at the Wall Street Group, I am thrilled to see their cutting edge marketing tools offered complimentary to their brokers. The Live Love Own program is an innovative, full service broker support system including reporting, social media, marketing and so much more. Perhaps this is a good time to assess your tool chest. What do you need to further your success? How sharp are your marketing pieces? Are you getting the assistance you require to achieve your goals?
3) PERFECT YOUR MESSAGE: Explaining transition to colleagues and clients alike is not easy. I strongly recommend you develop a 30 second elevator speech. For example, when people have asked me the reason for my departure I have replied “My career in property management is complete.” I have heard others make reference to the “closing” of that career path or chapter. My point is, make sure it’s a message that motivates you and is easily understood by others.
4) TECHNOLOGY RESET: This was hands down the hardest thing for me to do. After 9 demanding years of being glued to my phone and email, I now have the opportunity to break the bad habits and set forth a new level of expectation for my colleagues, my family and most importantly, myself. The first step was to set my internal technology schedule. This started with physically removing the phone from my bedroom. Next was adjusting email settings so no messages are pushed to my inbox between 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM – helping to break the habit of constantly checking email. Lastly – I have begun asking people to call me when they need help. This encourages everyone to conduct a self-check on the timing of their communication. So often we are not aware, myself included, of timing when we send a less than urgent text. Sure it’s 11:00 PM, yes, I want to know if there is a keybox on the door, but could it wait until the morning? Transition allows for new opportunities to set boundaries and decide what your technology limits will be in advance.
5) HIDE YOUR SUPER POWERS: Not forever, but perhaps just for the first 6 months. My colleague refers to it as “Crawl, Walk, Run.” My life coach advises me to “Delay Your Super Powers.” However you want to call it, make sure you don’t show all of your talents on the first day. Not only does it help build a steady foundation to learn the culture of your new organization, but it also helps set expectations for a realistic work-life balance. If you are reading email at 11pm every night, your colleagues and clients will come to expect this from you. Give yourself time to get acquainted with your new environment, set new expectations for your clients, colleagues and most importantly, yourself.
6) MIND YOUR PATH: How much notice will you give? I gave 90 days, and honestly it was too long. I was trying to do what I thought was best for my team, but at huge cost to me. 90 days was too far ahead to begin the transition work and yet my mind was already in the new office. The positive aspect of this three-month transition was it allowed me to reflect on the results of my work. The most humbling part of this experience was when a colleague approached me to say that they were sad to lose their “mentor.” Wait . . who me? A mentor? In all of my efforts of continually looking ahead for advancement and success, I neglected to watch the trail I was leaving behind. As I reminded them, I firmly believe mentorship does not end with a job. What kind of path will you leave?
7) BOOK A SABBATICAL: As most of my self-employed colleagues will admit, we never allow ourselves time off. Make sure to schedule a sabbatical (even if it’s just a week) between your transition to allow your brain to open itself up and completely empty out. While you are at it, make it a big vacation, the kind where you can leave your phone at home and focus 100% on yourself and your family. You deserve it!
Hopefully these tips will help as you begin thinking about new opportunities!