When it comes to strategic business initiatives like rebranding, the very best approach is the one that can be executed from the ground up. Singing from the mountain top is great, but change truly happens in the hills and valleys.
For that very reason, focusing on the street-view and identifying the building blocks necessary to effect change allows sky-scraper strategies to be seamlessly executed by those with their feet on the street.
At ERA Real Estate, we are in the midst of a landmark reimaging campaign for the brand, and have focused on making sure our brokers and agents on the front lines are ready for the “new ERA.” It’s something we feel passionate about at a strategic level, and we want to ensure that is reflected in all areas of our organization – from the corporate office to the front desk of each and every ERA office across the country.
As we embarked upon this journey, I remembered some lessons from the classic book “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” that remain relevant today. Here are a few key takeaways that really resonated with me.
Lead with a hands-on approach. Leaders should be involved throughout the entire strategic planning process – all the way from idea inception to activation. Though it may be easier to come up with the idea and then step back from it, leaders who help break the idea down into actionable pieces for their managers to run with see the best results. It’s paying attention to the “how” of the idea, not just the “why” or “what.”
A visionary in this hands-on approach is former GE CEO Jack Welch. Having heard about a development in the manufacturing efficiency field that GE could utilize back in the mid-90s, Welch took it upon himself to learn the new approach inside and out, instead of delegating to his team. By understanding the tactics, Welch was able to easily build out the next steps and roll them out internally.
At ERA Real Estate, we’re setting our brokers up for success by providing them with real-life tools they can use within their markets, such as Broker Activation Checklists, Special Event Guides and Messaging Toolkits. We are also providing hands-on support through our servicing team and marketing staff, working hand in hand with our customers to support their local efforts of this important initiative.
Take the time to think it out. Though it can be tempting to hit the ground running on a new initiative, don’t forget to think it through first. Encourage feedback from all areas of your company. Ask the tough questions to make sure you’re on the right track, before hitting “go.”
In the infamous Dell vs. Compaq race for PC supremacy that played out in the late-90s, Compaq’s CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer may have had the ingenious “Wintel” idea first, but he moved at such a rapid pace with mergers and acquisitions, that the company was unable to effectively execute. It was Dell’s measured approach that ultimately pushed them ahead.
For our reimaging initiative, we involved our National Advisory Council of brokers and explored many options over the course of a year to ensure we came up with the best end result.
One size doesn’t fit all. Don’t be afraid to recognize that one approach doesn’t work for all markets, targets and segments of business. Understand that and modify ideas accordingly. For ERA Real Estate, we employ a broker-first mindset and know that each independently owned firm has its own needs based on its structure and market, so we’ve empowered our brokers to access on-demand assets for what they need most.
Segmenting out key targets is also important – Cross Pens for example has done a great job at mapping out its targets and marketing to them each differently – whether that be an individual buying a pen for a special person or a corporate purchasing manager buying boxes of pens for a tradeshow. Cross Pens understands this and handles each segment separately.
When executing strategic business initiatives such as rebranding, companies need to remember the details and think about the “how” of when it all comes together. Whether it be by leading with a hands-on approach, taking your time or targeting your customers, these are all key to keeping the execution in mind. By critically thinking about implementation, you’ll set yourself up for success.