A Collaborative Approach to your Practice
The Real Estate market is becoming more complex as we work our way through the pandemic. The overall demand has declined but there are still pockets of growth, such as rental demand, persons of the diaspora and professionals seeking to ensure that they have an island home in case of negative developments in North America. However, costs of operations are increasing, especially marketing. We can no longer afford to compete with a duplication of efforts and associated costs. We believe we need to adopt a collaborative approach to our practice and this can be done by leveraging the benefits of belonging to a professional association such as AREA.
Collaboration can be defined as the identification and union of efforts for the sake of growing the practice. Collaboration is not an end but a vehicle to grow your practice while containing costs. There are four levels of collaboration that you can attain:
Level one – Co-existence
Level two – Communication
Level three -Cooperation
Level four – Collaboration
The first level co-existence is the recognition that we are all real estate agents or real estate brokerages. However, the individuals and companies exist separately and independently of each other. There are no mutual expectations or accountability. This may be even among two agents within the same brokerage.
The second level, communication, occurs when there is an explicit decision to enter some mutual interaction and dialogue. This increased communication involves more interaction among agents and sharing of information. This can take place in meetings leading to discussing matters of common and mutual interest. This sharing of information can lead to sharing of ideas to mutual benefit.
The third level is cooperation, it is associated with a growing awareness that individuals and companies do not exist in isolation but have an impact on each other. This dynamic is a movement toward interdependence. There is a realization that we are not fighting for a piece of a finite pie but working together to grow the common pie.
When interdependence becomes the reality there is a readiness, and often an ardent desire to move towards the fourth level, collaboration. The individuals and companies acknowledge, articulate and experience ownership of a common mission. There is a desire to work towards a common goal. The desire to collaborate rather than compete becomes the driving force. Individuals and companies acknowledge the strengths they bring to the common mission and can affirm the strengths that others bring.
The practical step for achieving collaboration is to focus on the four Cs of collaboration:
Clarification – be willing to spend time discussing what strengths each person and company bring to the bigger group and how these strengths can be joined together to accomplish the mission.
Conviction – be willing to address the demons of anger, conflict, and confrontation. To persevere in the collaborative approach despite setbacks.
Commitment – to commit oneself or company to allocate the time and resources to make collaboration work.
Capacity and Capability – be willing to develop the skills and processes to make collaboration work. Some of the skills that would be needed will include – conflict management, leadership, and communication. The processes would include the structure and schedule of meetings. We believe collaboration would enable us as industry professionals to rebuild the real estate market that has been severely tested during the last year and a half of the pandemic. And AREA continues to facilitate this approach as we move forward.