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Kathleen Black: 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team

Have systems and protocols that work so that you’re not micromanaging, but power up your people. Allow them to take responsibility and lean into what their gifts are. You need to support them with personal and business goals, so they can learn more about themselves in order to benefit your team.The more someone grows as […]

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Have systems and protocols that work so that you’re not micromanaging, but power up your people. Allow them to take responsibility and lean into what their gifts are. You need to support them with personal and business goals, so they can learn more about themselves in order to benefit your team.

The more someone grows as a person, the bigger their capacity is for excellence in business. Sometimes we’re scared of powering up our people but the reality is that growing businesses are going to have opportunities as you move up for people to grow into.


As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Black. She is one of North America’s leading real estate coaches and trainers, delivering her proven success techniques to agents and teams around the world. That growth is worth billions in additional sales volume annually across her client network with 80% of her clients being national top 1% producers. Kathleen, the best selling author of “The Top 1% Life”, will help you to expand your business, at a fraction of the time and cost, using the tried, tested, and true “KBCC Ultimate Expansion Strategy” that has powered her client growth.

The success of KBCC centers around integrity, honesty, and results-driven measures, the very things that represent Kathleen. Kathleen has been named twice as one of the Top 100 Elite Women Driving the Future of Real Estate by REP Magazine and as one of Top 20 Emerging Leaders by T3 Sixty’s 2018 Swanepoel Report. She was recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in the Toronto Real Estate Board, has ten plus years of agent development experience, and hundreds of teams attribute their growth and success to Kathleen’s leadership.

Kathleen is also the driving force behind the Ultimate Team Summit, the largest team-specific Real Estate summit in North America and the Ultimate Mastermind Series of events, including the 100 Deal + Ultimate Mastermind.

Kathleen lives in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada with her two free-spirited, independent, and very loved children Ethan and Ella, and their cat Ethel.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Beginning her career as a ReMax Real Estate Agent and working her way to being recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in both the Durham Region and on the Toronto Real Estate Board, many would agree that this level of success is the pinnacle achievement amongst their peers; but for Kathleen, it was only the beginning.

Identifying the need, Kathleen set out to work on further developing the systems and platform of educational programs and coaching methods to which she attributed her own professional and personal success.

With the launch of KBCC in 2015, and building upon her 10+ years of Team and Agent development and guidance, hundreds of teams (80% of which are top 1% producers) have attributed their growth and success to Kathleen’s integrity, honesty and results-driven leadership directly or through one of her coaching programs.

I was selling real estate as a busy single mom of two children and I had done a lot of content and systems development with a look to creating better work-life balance. The team I worked with was creating a coaching company and I had a background in psychology so it just seemed like a natural fit to try to become involved. That coaching company found itself in some challenging territory in the early days and there were differing opinions within the ownership as to how it should be resolved. This ultimately resulted in the departure of the director of coaching and I was given the opportunity to step into that role within 18 months of the company going live. I had been a coach for just under one year at that point. It was really a chain of complicated events that led to a great opportunity for me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Every single time someone has tried to harm my career or damage my business, it has always led us into better opportunities.

When I thought I was going to lose my first coaching business, it actually led to working with higher caliber people, which further expanded the business.

The interesting thing in my journey has been that at the beginning of my career as a coach, I never had the support of the ‘big’ Real Estate boards or conferences and ironically, it drove me to create and hold my own events without relying on other people.

In the end, it actually gave me an edge, because I didn’t have to rely on the support that other people were getting. Even though it was more difficult to get there, it made me and my company stronger in the end.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

An example that I give often is I used to mentor, coach and train while I was relatively new to selling, so I often had someone shadowing me.

I ended up realizing a couple of years into it when I left a buyer presentation, which I would sign 98 percent of, with one of my mentees when she told me that she had seen me present my buyer consultations many times and that she had learned so much, but the logo on the PowerPoint said ‘Your Team Name Here”.

I didn’t even realize that for two years I had been using my coaching company’s version of my buyer consultation and it didn’t even have our team logo on it, and yet I was still signing 98 percent of all consultations I sat down in front of and attended.

When building a business it’s really easy to say you need the perfect brand, but in reality, what you need are the clients.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to retain great talent today?

We lack processes and systems that make it clear and easy to articulate our expectations, which means we also lack training on how to win with those expectations.

You may quit on your manager, but some people also quit on good managers because they do have clear expectations and they know that they’ll never choose to fulfill them. This is not a bad “quit” for a team.

On the other hand, some people quit on a manager because they manage with no processes, others quit on a team leader because they can’t win due to expectations always being a moving target. The manager hasn’t taken the time to train their team in order to make them successful because they don’t know how to break their own process down.

Having a systemic, process-driven business isn’t optional for a team, it’s necessary to retain and support talented people and get great results.

How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?

For most top producers turned Team Leaders, the people management is often the most difficult aspect. When you are growing, you need to manage and leverage to create a performance environment for everyone.

If you want a big team, there may come a time when people management moves into a “Neutral,” “Includes Others,” “Unconscious Incompetence,” or “Stop” task on your GENIUS Model. We use this model to guide a leader’s highest and best use within a company.

This does not mean you will stop motivating and leading the team. It means that you move some of the management portions of leadership to another team member who thrives in that area. Most high drivers are self-starters and struggle with others who do not self-start to their level.

When training, shadowing is generally the path taken when showing someone the ropes, but the mistake here is that every person does it differently every single time. This inconsistency doesn’t work to effectively prepare an agent for success when that agent is on his own.

The team leaders that I coachwork on the idea of mastery — everyone follows the same steps, so everyone knows what it takes to be successful. At that point, the agents approach the situations with their own personalities and interpretations, but they have been empowered with a set system to be successful.

When it comes to enforcing the training, anyone who has talked to me about it knows this will be my answer: “Know it so well you can’t forget it,” so learning it all with intensive training and weeks dedicated to the art, ultimately, pays off more than any other implementation of the systems. Working with the KBCC model, you move beyond learning and memorization to become part of who you are.

Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)

1 . Vision, you need to know where you’re going. What is that top 1 percent life, what is that top 1 percent team, what do those look like to you?

That’s going to give you depth. The number one stressor for team leaders is people management. If you have a vision of the business you want to have in the coming years, you can step into the reality that the key players might change, you need to make decisions based on where you’re going not based on where you’re at.

2. Efficiency. We believe in having an approach that works before we invest a ton of money into lead generation or marketing. If an agent were to join your team, and they were converting at the same percentages you were for a step in the client process, would you recruit them?

Would it be enough for you to invest money into that agent if they were performing the same as you are.

This is an important awareness to have because when you have team members come on, you want them to have the exact same eyes. These are our minimum standards and the guidelines to how you’ll be efficient.

3. Opportunities: Lead Generation and Marketing. We need to be in tune with the opportunities that are coming into the business, the source of business, what our top sources are and whether we need to expand them.

We need to be aware of checking in on the things we’re testing, to ensure that they’re working properly, and to not be afraid to cut things, but make sure you’re getting insight into how long you need before you know something is working or not.

4. Leverage. Do I know what I’m great at, and do I know the right profiles and the right expertise that I need in the other areas of my business?

Am I always aware of the next steps for my business, and how I’m going to get there?

Who’s the next hire you’ll have and are you adjusting your systems and processes to include them in it?

Leverage is very important because if you can take some things off of your plate, it is very valuable to the business overall.

5. Data. This includes tracking to target training, it includes multipliers, to know which business is coming from where and how much it’s costing you to create an appointment or deal.

What are your budgets, profits and losses? This allows you to be more agile and adaptable quickly.

You need to track in order to know how to spend your money and stay up to date on how your business is getting and doing business.

All of these different steps rely on strong systems and the protocols that support them.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Have systems and protocols that work so that you’re not micromanaging, but power up your people. Allow them to take responsibility and lean into what their gifts are. You need to support them with personal and business goals, so they can learn more about themselves in order to benefit your team.

The more someone grows as a person, the bigger their capacity is for excellence in business. Sometimes we’re scared of powering up our people but the reality is that growing businesses are going to have opportunities as you move up for people to grow into.

We build our leaders and we build our performance environments, which will always trump talent. The environment always wins, creating a performance environment that will encourage people to win and grow, while implementing the systems and processes your team needs to succeed.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Conscious living. I think people who are conscious about who they are, their values, and what they’re bringing to the world are typically better parents, better team members, better community supporters, better people.

I find the ability to ‘do good’ is just more naturally present for people with a conscious mindset. If I can help people raise their consciousness and see their abilities and power, they will ultimately serve the world through their greater purpose with ease. If KBCC can have any influence on people leading themselves versus looking at others, that’s a win!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is something that I’ve heard in my head since I was very young and that’s “You’re built to win”, and when you believe that, when things get hard, you’re going to lean in and really win or learn, so either way you win overall.

Some of my most devastating losses in life and in business catapulted me forward ten times more than I could have ever gotten without them.

‘I was built to win”, allows me to see things in my favor as I’m working in a place of abundance and I’m trying to see myself in the world.

I’ll always try to be better because I want to do good here and I want to have the resources in order to be and do good.

I need a strong business in order to make the changes and impact I want to make for myself and in order to contribute and have a positive impact with as many people as possible.

Thank you for these great insights!

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