January 26, 2018 That Peter Brewer

Simon Sinek at Inman 2018 #icny Video and Full Transcript. Peter Brewer

As an Ambassador for Inman News for over 6 years now, I get to sit in on some wonderful strategy sessions, contribute to some exciting planning, and am granted front row access to some pretty cool interviews. On January 24 2018 I got to share a morning with Simon Sinek.

Welcome to the Simon Sinek Interview with Andrew Flachner from RealScout. I hope you enjoy learning from the rare public interview Simon shared with the Inman audience.

Announcer:                            Please welcome to the stage, Andrew Flachner, CEO of RealScout.

Andrew Flachner:               Good morning.

I am thrilled to introduce our next speaker, Simon Sinek. Simon is a visionary thinker. He is a New York Times best selling author. Many of you have read his books or seen his recent interview on Larry King. He has one of the top viewed Ted Talks of all time. Simon meets with and consults with countless leaders in various industries and today not only will he share his thoughts on leadership and starting with why and being fulfilled, but he will also weigh in on our industry. We’ll have an opportunity to bring a couple of brokers on stage so that they can share where we all know life gives us problems.

So please help me welcome the leadership and communications expert, Simon Sinek.

Alright Simon, great to have you here. I wanna dive right in. Here we are at the real estate tech conference and I know that you have some personal experience buying a home. So I’d love to hear about how that experience shaped your perception of our industry.

Simon Sinek:                         It’s amazing how one experience can shape your perception of the entire industry. Yeah I had … It was an okay experience until I looked … It was the first time I ever bought a property. The agent seemed charming and nice and helpful, but as the process went on I realised I would ask difficult questions about the property and I would get legally-accurate answers, like “to the best of my knowledge.” But they weren’t actually accurate, so when I actually bought the property I realised there were many things wrong that I had asked about that I should’ve … I was never told. In other words I should’ve got relieve on the price for those things.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And for me the worst part was this agent who was nice and charming, this was the seller’s agent, when we showed up to the closing, literally sat there with a blank look on his face, and I realised he wasn’t there to help me buy a home, he was there to collect a check.

Andrew Flachner:               Well so you talked about why … Do you think that this agent was operating with a strong sense of purpose?

Simon Sinek:                         No, I think he was operating with a strong sense of get money. And I think it’s … When you look at how people buy homes, few people buy many many homes over years. They’ll buy few numbers, whole number, and you probably won’t see another broker for years if ever again.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         It’s kinda like service in Las Vegas. Vegas service in restaurants tends not to be as good as wherever we’re from. It’s because they only see you once and they don’t care.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         But what they don’t understand, what I think is so important about any industry where there’s an interpersonal relationship, is that things live on. I mean, word of mouth matters. Recommending to friends matters. And then here I am, I guess he didn’t know who I was or what I did but here I am sitting on stage in front of the industry talking about my bad experience that he did. You don’t know what happens.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         Or I could sit here and say it was the most amazing thing ever.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And here’s how that is. Which is I have no desire to do any business with his brokerage ever again.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure. 

Simon Sinek:                         I don’t even wanna talk to the broker …

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Ever.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Which is [inaudible 00:03:29] agent as well.

Andrew Flachner:               I wanna taka a step back, and I think it’s important that everyone in the audience knows your core message, start with why. So what lead you to articulate this framework? Was there a particular inspiration or pain point you had?

Simon Sinek:                         Pain.

Andrew Flachner:               Buying a home?

Simon Sinek:                         No no no, this goes back about a decade. I fell out of love with my own business. I fell out of love with my own job. I lost my passion is what happened. I was a marketing consultant at the time, and I … There’s no better way to put it, I fell out of love.

And it was confusing and hard for me ’cause I was doing the same thing. And I was working with even better clients at a higher level than I’ve ever worked, and yet I didn’t want to wake up and do it again. And I used to have so much passion, and the passion completely ran out. And it caused concern and I sort of kept it to myself, and I spent all of my days pretending I was happier and more successful and more in control than I actually felt, which is not a good way to live. And it wasn’t until a dear friend of mine came to me and was concerned about me, that it gave me the courage to admit that I was struggling and not enjoying myself and that freed up the mental space for me to find a solution, and the solution I found was this thing that I call the why.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, so what is your why?

Simon Sinek:                      

   To inspire people to do the things that inspire them. So together each of us can change our world for the better.

Andrew Flachner:               So what are some companies out there that you think do a good job at defining their why, or maybe some companies that don’t?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s an easy rule of thumb. It’s generally the companies that people love that have this visceral connection to that are really good at communicating and internalising their why. So it’s the usual gang, it’s your Apples, it’s your Southwest Airlines, but there’s plenty of others out there as well. I think Air BNB is on a great track, they sound different, the way they talk about things. And there are some companies, unfortunately most companies are pretty bad at it. You can tell when companies are driven by quarterly results and care much more about themselves than they do about the outside world.

Andrew Flachner:               So how do you apply this framework, starting with why, to the real estate industry to help improve it?

Simon Sinek:                         Well I think it’s essential that every single person at every single company should have a sense of why they woke up in the morning. And it should have nothing to do with your industry. A why is not to help people find the home of their dreams. No, that’s just the job you do. That’s what you do, that should be table space, you know?

Your why is the thing that makes you who you are. It’s the reason your friends love you. It’s the reason your clients love you. It’s the reason your colleagues love you. And your ability to articulate that in clear and compelling terms is a thing that actually creates a real relationship, more efficiently, with a seller or a buyer, because you’ll say, “here’s why I got into this industry. Here’s what I love about this industry.” And you’re talking basically about who you are. And if somebody connects with that, they’re much more likely to trust you, and they’re much more likely to pass up somebody who may offer them a percent off commission. Because you want to do business with this person, not with this … It’s much bigger than a transaction.

Andrew Flachner:               Well I think in this industry too, it does have a particularly intimate or close relationship with our clients. Does that create any new opportunities, or different opportunities than what you’d find in other industries?

Simon Sinek:                         I mean yeah, we want to do business with people we like and here you are spending intimate time with people, I mean a home is a personal thing if it is a home, if that’s what they’re buying. Hopefully you’re getting to know each other and you’re getting to like each other. My recommendation to buyers is if you don’t like your broker, if you don’t like your agent, work with somebody else.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         You have to like them. But the same goes for the agents. If you don’t like the buyer, it’s gonna become work.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         If you like the buyer, you’ll enjoy it, working with them, or the seller, you know? You’ll feel more passionate about helping them. You’ll go out of your way. That’s where innovation happens.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         You’re actually looking to solve problems and help advance like that as opposed to just closing the transaction.

Andrew Flachner:               So that’s the human component. I wanna talk a little bit about the technology component, because we’re on stage talking about these new services and products that are going out.

Innovation is one of the key things that you work on and yet in my experience I feel like in our industry, we have a pretty spotty track record with innovation. Do you have any ideas as to why that might be?

Simon Sinek:                         The reason innovation happens in most organisations, in most industries, is there is the desire to vess a greater good, right? So Steve Jobs for example, his why, his cause, the reason he woke up every morning, was he believed in giving power to the individual to stand up to Big Brother, right? He was a rebel and everything he was doing was all about challenging the status quo, right? Giving power to the individual. And so he understood in the music industry, for example, that the music industry falsely believed that their customer was Tower Records or HMV, not the person that actually listens to and buys music. They falsely believed that their customer was the distributor, that the distributor was their customer.

And so he thought, no no no we have to put the power back in the consumer’s hands. And they invented iTunes.

It is an absolute travesty that the music industry, Sony Music or any of the others, didn’t invent iTunes.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

Just like it’s a travesty that the film industry didn’t invent Netflix, but it’s the same reason. It’s because they’re so preoccupied with selling their product that they’re actually ignoring the real wants, needs, demands and desires of the people who actually spend money on the product.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And I think … You see that in large industries where, as an industry there tends to be a monopoly. Maybe not a company, but the industry tends to be a monopoly and tend to have no sense of competitors out there.

Andrew Flachner:               Alright so with consumers driving so much of that activity, we’re seeing major shifts. We just heard Brad on stage talk about Amazon and their ability to deliver grocery within hours. Lyft will pick me up from this conference within minutes if not seconds. There are companies in our industry like Open Door or Offer Pad, they’re starting to drive some of the similar on-demand economy where you can see a home now without the help of a real estate agent. You can sell a home in a few days with a few clicks. In your recent book you talk about cooperation and how, when partners or people cooperate together they’re better off in the end.

So real estate is having a bit of a moment right now, where there are new entrants that are entering the industry and they kinda have an ambiguous stance towards the industry, and so in the face of innovation or in the face of destruction, how are incumbents supposed to play the game?

Simon Sinek:                         Understand that human beings are social animals, and relationships will always win, always, right? When the internet started and online shopping began … Everybody here is old enough to remember that, it’s not that long ago … They predicted the end of bricks and mortar, except Amazon was nothing but a store, right? Rent the Runway now has stores, right?

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         It didn’t happen, it never happened, right? You can now buy and sell cars online. But the cars dealers haven’t gone out of business. It’ll change an industry, and there’s definitely a segment of people that want just transaction, right? And those weren’t fun customers to work with anyway. Let ’em go. Those never felt like it’s worth the money. And so I think the more that people invest in understanding relationships, you’ll be fine.

The best example I think is the travel agent industry, which is … You look at the rise of all the travel websites and booking your own flights and all of that and your travel agencies are doing just fine, because there are people who, huge segment of people, industry-worthy in other words there’s an economy there, of people who want advice or help or just who are lazy or whatever the reason is. They want somebody else to plan, they just want somebody else to say, “I’ve been there” and that is great. Human recommendation … That’s why a star system and rankings and ratings are so important, because we actually want to read what other people think.

And to have the personal relationship. The greatest asset everybody in this audience has is the personal relationship. My broker’s my dad, my agent’s my dad, he’s sitting in the audience. You don’t get a better personal relationship than that.

Andrew Flachner:               So I wanna shift gears …

Simon Sinek:                         He’s not the original agent, but the way. My dad was the buyer’s agent, not the seller’s agent.

Andrew Flachner:               I do want to shift gears and talk a little bit about fulfilment and safety. These are topics that you write and speak a lot about. I think fulfilment could mean different things to different people, and so what does fulfilment mean to you?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s about going home every single day with the feeling that your work matters. That your life matters. That the hours you spend doing whatever it is you’re doing matter. And I think very often what poor leadership or poor leadership environments do, they don’t make us feel like we matter. We feel like cogs, we feel like numbers, we feel like they care more about money than us. They care more about themselves than us. Their career is more than our careers, and there’s a massive feeling of fulfilment when we contribute to the lives of those around us and to come home and feel like it was worth it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and you’d say that fulfilment is a right ?

Simon Sinek:                         Yeah, I do, I believe fulfilment is a right and not a privilege. It’s upsetting to me when you ask people, “Do you like your job” or “How’s your job?” Very few say, “I love it.” We go with our friends and somebody will say, “I love my job.” And everybody goes, “You’re so lucky.” That should be the exception rather than the … Should be the rule rather than the exception. I believe that the vast majority of people should feel like they love their work. The vast majority of people should wake up every single morning inspired, should feel safe at work and return home to feel at the end of the day it is our right it is not a privilege it is not a luxury for a chosen few.

Andrew Flachner:               And who’s responsible for that?

Simon Sinek:                         Leaders.

Andrew Flachner:               Leaders are responsible …

Simon Sinek:                        

Leaders are responsible for creating an environment in which we work. Leaders are responsible for deciding what to do and how to treat us, that we will feel a certain way. It has nothing to do with the number of hours we work, it has nothing to do with the amount of yoga we do.

All of this discussion about work life balance,

there’s no amount of yoga that you can do that will solve that problem.

Another vacation won’t fix it, it just delays it. Working really really hard for something we don’t believe in is called stress. Working really really hard for something we do believe in is called passion.

Andrew Flachner:               Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Simon Sinek:                         We’re still working exorbitant hours, we’re still making massive personal sacrifices, but in only one case does it feel worth it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and what are the things that leaders do to create that environment?

Simon Sinek:                         So you talked about one of them, that they have a sense of why. They offer people a sense of purpose or reason to come to work that’s bigger than what the company does or what the industry offers.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         A real sense of purpose. There’s many brokers out there that you may associate yourself with. Whoever founded those brokers, those companies, got into the industry for different reasons. You should know what that reason is, you should align yourself with a company that has similar values, similar philosophical perspective as you do, right? Hoping that they also only attract people, that you work with people, who believe in you to share your values, that’s really important.

And what good leaders do is create environment in which we feel safe amongst our own. Safe to say, “I need help.” Safe to say, “I made a mistake.” Safe to say, “I’m having trouble at home; it’s affecting my work.” And instead of humiliation or retribution, what you get is an outpouring of love and support and coaching.

Andrew Flachner:               Right, and when it comes to creating that safe environment … It was a pertinent question around, recent conversations for sexual misconduct, sexual harassment … What effect do you think, who thinks, time’s up? What are those movements going to do for the future of workplace safety?

Simon Sinek:                         Well I think the #metoo, #timesup movement is yet another symptom of the poor leadership environments that we have in too many organisations today. My opinion on the whole movement is that it is a sign of the abject failure of most human resources departments. That very few people who work in large companies view HR as someone or a place you can go, as something trustworthy. That if you suffered something that may have started as small and can be nipped in the bud immediately, the last people we want to go to or talk to is HR because we view HR as doing the bidding of the executives rather than representing us. HR to me should be the last line of defence between the people and the executives, but it hasn’t become that.

So I think it’s a huge shot across the bow that we need to reform human resources inside organisations. That they should be working tirelessly to protect us from the short terms of senior executives, of protecting people who, some of them are criminals. They just have to make good numbers. And until that happens, we won’t ever feel safe at work.

Andrew Flachner:               Right. Well on the topic of leadership, it’s something that you write a lot about. Your last book, or your second book, was Leaders Eat Last. That’s all about leadership. What is your definition of a good leader and what do you mean by leaders eat last?

Simon Sinek:                         So the title of the book came from a discussion I had with a general in the Marine Corps. I was studying the marines at the time when I was doing research for the book, and I asked him a very simple question, “What makes the Marines so good at what they do?” And he replies to me, “Officers eat last.” And if you visit any marine base anywhere in the world at chow time, you will see that they always line up in rank order. The most junior marines eat first, the most senior marine eats last. There are no orders given, it’s not written down anywhere. It’s the way they view leadership. They view leadership as a responsibility, not a rank.

It’s like being a parent. Sure, as a parent you’re in charge, but you understand that you have a responsibility for those in your care. Leadership is exactly the same. It’s not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge. Even though senior people have the right to go first, meaning because of their rank they’re afforded privilege. If the General went to the front of the line and took some food, no one would question it. Everyone would be absolutely fine with it, but they don’t. They sacrifice their privilege instead, and put their people before themselves.

Andrew Flachner:               So let’s bring it down to some tangible actionable items for the audience. For any aspiring leader out there, what is something they can do tomorrow to become a better leader?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s about empathy and it’s about concerning yourselves with the lives and careers of those around you, right? So if you ask somebody … That same three-star General, he said his test for a great leader is when you ask somebody “how are you doing” you actually care about the answer. So if you don’t care about the answer, don’t ask the question.

Being a leader means that when somebody’s struggling … I’ll give you a simple example, so here’s a normal scenario in a company. Your boss walks into your office and says, “Your number are down for a third quarter in a row. If you don’t pick up your numbers, I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” Leadership is about walking into someone’s office and saying, “Your numbers are down for a third quarter in a row. Are you okay?” So what we can all do tomorrow, is if somebody around us is struggling, instead of judging, instead of criticising, our first inclination should be,

“What’s wrong? Are they okay? Is there anything I can do to help?” And by the way, we help not because we want something back, we help because it’s a good thing to do, but the amazing thing about human beings, is the vast majority of people that we help will be there for us at a later date.


Andrew Flachner:               And does that style of communication change depending on our generation … We do a lot of talking at these conferences about millennials millennials millennials … I am one, but we have them in our companies, we have them as our clients, I think the question for you is, do we treat them any differently? Are we focusing too much on the nuances of each generation?

Simon Sinek:                         Human beings are human beings. I don’t care how old you are and where you grew up, or how much you like your social media, you’re still a human being.

Andrew Flachner:               Sure.

Simon Sinek:                         And all human beings, everywhere in the world since the dawn of time, since the dawn of mankind … Those volcanoes don’t count … Every single human being since homo sapiens first walked on the planet cares about feeling like they belong. We’re tribal animals, we want to have a sense that we’re a part of something. We put on jerseys when there’s sporting events just so we can feel like we’re a part of it.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         We wear the badges of the broker that we work for with pride hopefully, because we feel like we’re a part of a community. We move to neighbourhoods and people like us, because we want to feel like we’re a part of something. All human beings are the same.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And so when we’re treated with respect, dignity, we see crimes being committed because somebody disrespected somebody. There’s something … I work with the police, and cops have told me that if they just treat somebody with respect and dignity, there’s never a problem. They know they broke the law, they come along perfectly happy. It’s when they’re disrespected, when we don’t treat people with dignity, that violence ensues.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         So simply treating people with dignity all the time no matter who you are no matter what your position of rank or authority, profoundly changes the interactions we have with people.

Andrew Flachner:               So are there any nuances we should pay attention to when it comes to generational segments?

Simon Sinek:                         Of course. Of course there are. How we grow up affects who we are. Our grandparents for example grew up during the depression and World War II, are frugal and miserly, but there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s because of how they grew up.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         And every generation is affected by whatever major events happen in their coming of age. And so for your generation that so many people complain about, I think it’s a lack of empathy quite frankly. I think you just have to understand how a generation like yours grow, which is you’re a first generation to grow up with cell phones and social media being ubiquitous in your lives.

Andrew Flachner:               Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Simon Sinek:                         There’s no recollection of fax machines or telexes. Do you know what a telex is?

Andrew Flachner:               No.

Simon Sinek:                         Pay by the character. So people wrote in these weird contraptive forms.

Anyway, the point is, of course it’s gonna have an impact on how you grew up. And there’s some unintended consequences of all these technologies which I’ve written and spoke about a lot. They release a chemical in our bodies called dopamine, it’s a highly addictive chemical, and if left unbalanced, and this goes for all generations, we can become addicted to our technology. Which, for social animals, hurts our ability to interact, hurts our ability to make friends and feel like we belong, and if you’re a young person who’s in a formative stage, it can have life-long impact.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

That’s all you need to know. Just understand that there’s … Have a little empathy and understand how someone grew up and perhaps you’ll be a little more patient when interacting with somebody as opposed to frustrated.

Andrew Flachner:               So last question on generations, I know that Gen Z is right around the corner, and they’re graduating into the workplace they will soon be buying homes. Is that a contention on millennials? Do you view it as a different topic?

Simon Sinek:                         So for clarity of definition, a generation lasts about twenty years, about …

Andrew Flachner:               I’m 19 years old.

Simon Sinek:                         So yeah, Gen Z would be born in about 2004-ish. So they’re teenagers.

I had a question once in my audience, “What do I do about my Gen Z workforce?” I’m like, “Why are you employing 12 year olds?” Not quite there yet. I think that the impact of social media in the lives of Gen Z is worse than millennials, Gen Y, because millennials learn about the technology a little later whereas Gen Z is being given the technology as a four year old, a three year old, a two year old, and I’ll give you a horrible statistic. The biggest rate increase of a demographic for suicide in the United States is girls 10-14 years old. Suicide rates for girls 10-14 years old has tripled in the past fifteen years.

Andrew Flachner:               And why is that?

Simon Sinek:                         It’s not a cause relationship because, correlation that girls spend 40% more time on social media than boys. And so the humiliation that can happen on social media, the lack of coping skills that are not being developed by a young generation because when they’re depressed or down they turn to a device not a friend, the fact that they’re afraid to have interpersonal conversations. You ghost somebody if you wanna break up with somebody, you don’t actually just have a big screaming match and it’s over. Closure matters.

It has a powerful and pejorative impact on a young, formative mind. And until parents intervene, meaning don’t give the kid technology … I can’t help myself when I go for brunch or something, I see the six year old, seven year old … I went to a brunch actually, where the parents were all sitting around one table, and there were six kids sitting around another table, and all six kids were all on six separate devices for the entire brunch. And the parents did it because then they don’t have to deal with the kids. They’re not screaming, they’re not yelling, they’re not telling them to eat their eggs, and they’re not disturbing the parents. But I don’t think those parents recognise literally the massive, horrible impact … It’s like locking a kid in a room by themselves, and leaving them there for years and expecting that they’ll grow up to be just fine.

Andrew Flachner:               Right.

Simon Sinek:                         Sure it’s helpful now, but it really is bad parenting, and I think until we intervene … They’re children, they’re noisy and they’re annoying, but until we intervene, it’s … We have to intervene for it to get better.

Andrew Flachner:               In the interest of time I want to lighten the mood a bit. I’m gonna lighten the mood. I do wanna switch it up … Inman seeks a lot of feedback about speakers and I don’t know if you know this Simon, but there are a lot of people in the audience who advocated for you to have this event. And one of those people is Laurie Davis so I wanna bring Laurie Davis up to the stage.

Come on up, so …

Laurie Davis:                          Good to see you.

Andrew Flachner:               So Laurie is a broker in North Carolina. Why don’t you do a quick introduction … Laurie has a real-life business challenge that she’d love for you to weigh in on.

Simon Sinek:                         Sure.

Laurie Davis:                          Yeah, so I’ve followed your work a bit and I am a broker owner. So for me, my daily struggles tend to be around motivating and managing agents. And I know you speak a lot about creating that safe family environment in your company, but we don’t fire our children. But when is it okay to put them up for adoption?

Simon Sinek:                        

I once had a question from an audience that said, “What happens if you really do have an idiot on your team?” And the answer was, “You hired them.”

So there’s a couple words, if I may, tweak. How do I motivate and manage? No one wakes up in the morning with a desire to be managed. We wake up in the morning with a desire to be lead. So you can manage a process, but you can’t manage people, right? And you don’t want to motivate people either, people are either motivated or they’re not motivated. The only thing we can do is inspire them. If we don’t inspire them, the motivated ones will go look for another job, right? So you want to inspire them and you want to lead them, as opposed to motivate or manage. That’s not what we do.

And if somebody is an under-performer, again, you hired them, right? So they either lied to you or you saw something that maybe was there that hasn’t been fostered. Or maybe you didn’t see something, or you missed something. So the immediate response is to coach. The main reason I think it’s okay to fire somebody quickly is if they’re un-coachable. If they’re not interested in feedback, they’re not interested in growing, they’re not interested in your help, then absolutely put them up for adoption, right?

But if somebody’s open to being coached, is open to growing, understands that you have difficult conversations with them, you know? “I see that you’re struggling. Can we help?” The hard thing for the leader is sometimes that process isn’t as quick as you want it to be. People who are under-performing we want them to fix their problems or get out, right? Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, which is … If we create an environment in which everybody feels like they matter, then we have to take the time to coach them, and after repeated attempts if they’re un-coachable, then yes.

And if you really did make a mistake, if you made a bad hire, and you realise it, you have to take responsibility. Sit down and say, “I know that you’re struggling here because we’re struggling with you and I know you’re not having fun.” I’ve seen other companies do this, which is, “I want you to be happy. I want you to work somewhere else where you’ll enjoy your work.” We can fire people with dignity. Usually what we do is we demean them on the way out. “You can’t do anything right. You’re an under-performer. You don’t listen.” And they literally leave with their confidence in tatters.

We can say,

“Look, I think we both made a bad choice. I know you’re not having fun here. I want you to grow. You’re smart. When I met you I thought you were fun and smart, and I just think that you’ll find more joy in another culture. How can I help you grow? Let me help you.”

And I’ve seen leaders do that. What they did is they gave their, they say, “Look, instead of working, use my computer system, why don’t you look for a job, I’ll keep you on salary.” So instead of giving them two weeks to get out the door, “Use the resources, I’ll give you a recommendation.” And they leave on a high. You built their confidence.

We had this happen, where somebody just was … her skill set just didn’t match the job that we needed, it just didn’t work, I didn’t have another job for her. I sat down with her, I told her I adore her but it’s just not working out. She knew it. It’s rarely news, you know?

Laurie Davis:                          Right.

Simon Sinek:                        

She knew it, and we did it this way. We helped her find another job. And to this day she’s one of our biggest champions. She got fired! She’s one of our biggest champions, because we let her go with dignity.

Andrew Flachner:               Alright thank you Simon. Laurie, stick around, I want to make sure we have enough time for one more question from the audience so, we have Sam DeBord, come on up.

So Sam DeBord is the key of strategic growth at Coldwell Banker in the Seattle area, so Sam come on up. Alright so Sam, shoot off your question.

Sam DeBord:                         Sure, so Simon, I know a lot of folks in the audience who we love the philosophy, the big why and focusing on that, but as brokers we have independent contractors. We have folks we like to influence how they work, but they’re eventually the boss with their own business at the end of the day. So when we go home, how do we structurally put something in place where we can say whether it’s annual business planning, quarterly, how to get them focused back on that in a very concrete way to make sure that throughout the year, even though we don’t actually tell them what to do in their business, we can bring them back to that focus throughout the year.

Simon Sinek:                        

The formality of it is irrelevant, right? You can still set out to help the people who choose to join your brokerage. You want to make them feel like they matter, and being with you they’re growing as human beings and growing as salesman. So offering all clients opportunities for growth. And I don’t mean sending them a PDF of how to do something. I mean offering them coursework, investing in communications courses, or conflict resolution, of how to have an effective confrontation.

Anything that … The things that you read about, Google and places like that, that they’re doing things for people … The companies that you admire. Every reason that you can do those things. Are those investments? Of course. Are you going to be investing in your people even though they’re not your people? Of course. But the point is you want these people to be passionate about your company rather than dispassionate about it, which means it’ll hurt your brand, or all the best people go somewhere else.

I’ll give you one simple example. In New York City, if you’re in New York, I think you’re using Uber or Lyft. And for New Yorkers we know there’s another company which is only in New York City called Juno, right? So it’s the same thing, they don’t actually work for the company. Go talk to a Juno driver and ask them, “Do you like Juno? What is it like versus Uber?” They hate Uber. They shit all over Uber, and they’ll say, they’ll tell you. So for example, if they’re having a problem, Uber gives them an email and if they’re lucky they’ll get a reply 48 hours later that usually blames them. Juno gives them a phone number that if they call, someone answers immediately 24 hours a day, and Juno very often sides with the driver. They pay them better, they take 10% versus 30%. They all can’t say enough good about Juno, and I tend, as a customer, to have a better experience with Juno and they can tell me that the Juno customers are better.

So there’s this whole company that’s growing, simply because they’re investing in things like call centres, 24 hour phone banks, and actually giving the benefit of the doubt to the driver, and they have a higher quality driver, which makes me want to use Juno. We should only use Juno. So you will have a higher-quality agent when they feel like they matter to you, and you invest them as if they were full-time employees.

Andrew Flachner:               Thanks. I do wanna … Stick around Sam, I do wanna wrap up the interview by talking about … You started with why being more than a best-selling book, more than a Ted Talk. I really see it as a movement, so my question is, what is your vision for the future of work when you realise your mission, and when companies and leaders are operating with a strong why, and a strong sense of purpose?

Simon Sinek:                        

It’s a simple vision and I’ve said it before. Imagine a world, a world that does not exist right now, a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired, go to work and feel safe while they’re there, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day.

I’ve completely devoted my work, my life to advancing that world, figuring out the tools that we need to get there and sharing those tools. Preaching the vision … It’s the first thing you do when you do a jigsaw puzzle is you lean the box against the wall so you can see the picture. I’m the guy that points at the box, and I’m looking for people with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. The companies and the leaders who say, “I can build a company like that.” So we put those pieces in place and profoundly change the course of business in America if not the world.

Andrew Flachner:               Great, well thank you for sharing your insights. Please join me in giving Simon a big round of applause.

I hope to see you in San Francisco for #ICSF.  Let me know if you’d like my personal Ambassador code to save you over $500.00 USD, or call me on +61417630962 if you’d like to join in on our US Real Estate Study Tour.

Tara Christianson Jay Luebke Peter Brewer, and Brad Inman

About the Author

That Peter Brewer Peter Brewer is a speaker, educator, digital footprint strategist on a mission (some say crusade) to ensure that smart small businesses and smart business people treat the new digital world with the respect it deserves. Peter is a former real estate agent of 30 years and now speaks across Australia, New Zealand and in the USA on technology and digital media in the real estate industry. You'll find more about Peter at thatpeterbrewer.com

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That Peter Brewer

Peter Brewer is one of the few specialists who can think outside his generation