Feature Interview: Ewan Morton and Nick Papas with Claudio Encina
In our latest feature interview from the AREC2017 Elite Agent Studio, Claudio Encina talks to Ewan Morton and Nick Papas about success in leadership; managing your team, having the right conversations and educating consistently.
Claudio: Welcome back to AREC 2017 at the Elite Agent magazine stand, and I’ve got the pleasure of interviewing two sensational leaders who are going to be joining us. We’ve got Ewan Morton from Morton, and we’ve got Nick Papas from Century 21 in Maroubra.
We’re going to talk about the Leadership issue that’s just recently been released. So leadership’s on the table right now, perhaps just give us a quick bio about how many people are in your office. How many offices do you have, Ewan?
Ewan: We have seven offices, three businesses, and across that is approximately 100 people.
Claudio: Fantastic. Nick, for you?
Nick: I’ve got a much smaller scale. So I’ve got an office of eight. Four in our sales staff, and four in our property management staff.
Claudio: Ewan, can I just ask you…You are (RERN 2017) Principal of the Year. What does it take to be Principal of the Year, exactly?
Ewan: Leadership is a critical part of how you run a business. If I looked at what’s our secret thing that we talk a lot about, it’s all about leadership. We train on it, we talk it, we have language of it. We work on all our people to improve their leadership, which starts with leadership itself. So you’ve got to lead yourself before you can influence others.
Claudio: Managing 100 people, do you have one-on-ones with all your sales staff, or PM management teams? What do you do in that respect?
Ewan: That actually is a leadership conversation. It started off where I was assessing performance and seeing how we were going, but then our conversation has evolved. We’re like, “Yep, yep, yep, yep. Fine, fine, fine. Tick, tick, tick, tick.” We might have a discussion around profit, that’s one of the things we talk to our sales guys about. About profit.
A principal is incented by profit, a sales person is incented by revenue. It’s conflicted. The thing is, where you get the conflict between principal and sales people, it’s because they’re black, white. Do the deal, money. It’s very simple.
Nick: They don’t know what’s happening in the back end.
Ewan: Yeah, and also you got cash flow, you gotta pay bills. A principal just want consistency from everybody.
Different people have different things, so I might run a leadership day where people will come, and we will have a course.
I might have people who are at stages of leadership. So maybe they’ve started to manage people. People will request one-on-one, and I might do that monthly or quarterly.
But one of the things I’ve started doing is there’s gotta be an outcome to that. What are we trying to improve? Where are we trying to go? And what leadership are we applying to that for them to move to whatever they need to do?
The people who directly report to me, I actually don’t one on one with them. But I’m talking to them all the time.
Nick: You’re communicating one way or the other.
Ewan: Yeah, all the time.
Claudio: Nick, obviously you’re in a much smaller office compared to Ewan’s, what does your leadership or management look like with your staff?
Nick: For me, it’s probably a little bit more personal. I’ve got my own little team as you know. There’s Cass, Monique, and Michael now, and then myself. So every morning we meet for a quick 15-20 minutes. Just so we can go through what we’re all doing that day, and then we talk through our Whatsapp app. So we know what everyone’s doing, what’s going on, if there’s any issues. And for me, that’s the leadership that we take upon each other. We all have that mutual respect, and we can guide each other.
A big thing about leadership is people understanding their role. ‘Cause if they don’t understand their role, as a principal I can’t expect them to just read my mind. And if I say that they’re lacking, I always have that conversation and say, “Do you understand what you’re doing? Or what you need to do?”
Property management I don’t get too involved in, my business partner does. But I still talk to them every morning for like 5 or 10 minutes. I walk around to everybody, and just say, “Is everything okay? Is everyone all right? Are there any problems? Everyone’s well?” And they can voice what they’re thinking.
Claudio: How do you keep good agents and sustain business, and not be tempted to go and work for someone else who could be offering much higher splits or commission?
Ewan: I think it actually all comes down to leadership.
Ewan: So if you can show people the right culture, leadership, care and value. Just because somebody’s getting paid 85%, and you’re paying someone 50%, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the one getting 85% is getting any value.
If you have a higher fee split, what that means is, you actually don’t get the support. Because the firm can’t afford to give it to you. So what happens is, you find people are left more on their own to do their own thing, and they actually don’t have the leadership of self to be able to handle that. Some can, the superstars of our industry can, but they actually are unusual. They’re unusual.
Nick: And there’s only a very small amount.
Ewan: Selling real estate is a career. You start, and then you build and build up to it. So you need to have guidance, and mentoring, and coaching, and all of those things, and marketing. So I think a lot of people when they say, “Pay for your own training.” We pay for people’s training.
Nick: So do I. And Claudio knows.
Ewan: Marketing. my agents, I’m like, “You must do marketing”, right? “And do not stop.” And you’ll spend $1,000 a month, or I don’t really care, as long as you are consistent.
Nick: You’re doing something. You’re being proactive.
Ewan: YAnd then you bring it back to profit so you can see ‘did it work?’ You know, those conversations you’ve been part of where we’re like, “We’ve spent all this money. What happened?” And you have a really good conversation. People get the recognition and understanding that their success is a combination of lots of things, marketplace, them, the leadership. The brand.
So I think a lot of agents understand that. If they’ve got a successful formula happening, they actually don’t want to muck that up. And to just necessarily go somewhere for a higher split into another culture. It doesn’t always work.
Claudio: So can you talk us a bit about the values of your business and what you stand for?
Ewan: Empowered leadership is one of ours. Unlimited opportunity. Passion for excellence.
We’ve actually gotten as far as we’ve set behaviours up for this, and everybody’s got a little card and they– I use the words all the time when I’m talking. The empowered leadership one, I say that all the time.
Claudio: Perfect. Nick, for you?
Nick: Look, for me, our company motto is all about the customer. So it’s all about the experience they get with us. So our company motto as you know is, “Always here to help”, you know?
And just making people understand that we’re not just here to do business, but if you need some advice or help, we’re here. And if that becomes business, that’s great. And I think we do that within the office as well, so the team feel like we’re always there to help each other as well.
Claudio: Guys, we thank you so much. Congratulations again, Ewan, for Principal of the Year. And Nick, congratulations to you for the success that you’ve had in your first two years at Century 21 in Maroubra.