Kathleen Black: “You need to know where you’re going”

You need to know where you’re going. 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. As a part of my […]

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You need to know where you’re going. 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.

As a part of my series about about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Black.

Kathleen Black is North America’s leading real estate team coach and trainer, 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 Top 50 Elite Women Driving the Future of Real Estate (REP), Top 20 Emerging Leaders (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.

Most recently, Kathleen was recognized as 45th on the Top 100 Industry Trail Blazers (The BUZZ). Awarded as Iconic Leader Creating a Better World for All Award (Women’s Economic Forum), based on experience, results, influence, and commitment to change the world for the better of all internationally.

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 love Nicholas, and her two free spirited, independent, and very loved children Ethan and Ella, and their cats Ethel and Willow.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Beginning my career as a RE/MAX Real Estate Agent and working my 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 me it was only the beginning.

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

With the launch of KBCC in 2015 and building upon my 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 my integrity, honesty and results driven leadership directly or through one of my 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 its 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 began leading your company?

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.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re always expanding. We’ve currently been expanding our resources to help people obviously during the COVID-19 pandemic, to suit their needs of moving remotely.

But COVID-19 has definitely given another reason for top producers to build systematic process driven businesses, where clients get a higher level of services and the team or brokerage have a more organized way to conduct more business and transactions, while also having a life.

Our focus is on making sure the teams and brokerages that we support have a quality of life, to enhance their lifestyles in order to sell more homes. Our systems are allowing them to hit two very important goals at once.

We’re also expanding our services globally, by building systematically, we’re offering teams 16% higher profit margins than a typical team model would. Having agents on the top teams using our models sell 10 to 20 times the average transactions on most of their local Real Estate boards. Additionally, we’re aiding them in converting at up to 7 times higher when they get to our advanced conversion systems.

We’re really committed to helping our agents build the most efficient, productive and profitable teams in the world. Why would agents follow another path and journey when we’ve already created this path with a predictable track record with our agents?

Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?

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.

Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?

An unhappy workforce with impact:

  1. Company productivity by causing distractions. Unproductive employees in the workplace cause distractions, and one distracted worker can easily impact all of the other employees around them. They may have a funny story to share or a funny email and, before you know it, no one is doing his job.

If this happens often enough throughout the course of a day, productivity can be severely impacted.

2. Company Profitability by lower sales. In the US, small businesses should expect to generate around 100,000 dollars per employee, per year, reports Staff Connect. So, there is a serious impact on the company’s bottom line if a worker is less productive than they could be.

If employees aren’t doing their jobs, chances are several daily tasks are falling through the cracks.

3. Employee health and wellbeing in several different areas. A compromised immune system, mental health issues, stress, loss of sleep, less confidence and self-worth, lower motivation and more.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?

  1. You need processes and systems that make it clear and easy to articulate your expectations. 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.
  2. You need to train on how to win with those expectations mentioned above. Take the time to train your team in order to make them successful, because otherwise, they won’t know how to break their own process down.
  3. The team leaders that I coach work 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.
  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. You need to know where you’re going. 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.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?

Big changes always start small. You can start a movement in changing a culture, by starting in your own work culture

Learn to lead by example and mentor your employees to nurture a positive environment and culture.

How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?

I find my team excels at coming together as a leadership team, with taking 100 % responsibility in the different areas of our business so we’re not inundated with little complications.

Most people get stuck in the mess of the current times and lose focus on building. No matter what, the world can be in uncertainty, or your business can be in uncertainty, you need to be building for where you’re going with confidence, data driven risk is essential for every entrepreneur.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I don’t think there has ever been one person. A lot of my opportunities actually came from overcoming challenges, so some of the people who gave me some of the opportunities I had are also people who presented massive challenges for me and my career.

At the end of the day, it’s relying on great mentorship, there’s not only one person I can name.

There were definitely brokers who gave me great advice and now we’ve built programs in place that we’ve created together, like Paul Baron from The #1 Century 21 Brokerage for the country, C21 Leading Edge in Canada.

I’m grateful for our team, I have an amazing group of people who support me and there’s no way I would be able to do what I do without them.

We have a collaborative leadership team who are very entrepreneurial, and who take ownership over what needs to happen. It’s very collaborative without a director style delegation, everyone owns their portion of the business. That is how we thrive.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

When I look at it the fact that our whole entire business is based on powering up people. It’s based on conscious living, it’s based on being advocates, advisors and consultants versus pushy sales people.

We help people 10 x and 20 x their businesses, but the most powerful thing we do is power up people to see their potential and they therefore do the same with their teams, their families and their communities.

The most important thing we do is mirror back to people how strong and capable they really are.

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

My favourite 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 favour 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.

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!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!

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