What is the secret to achieving maximum impact in your life and business? Chris Arnold and his team explain that having the right team is your most important asset if you have a real estate business. A weak support system does nothing but slows down your business!
Join this Team-Building Series Part 2 to hear inspiring stories on how Chris and his team decided to lean on each other through vulnerable situations. It’s through tough times that trust grows. And when trust grows, your business grows! Tune in!
Team Building Masterclass – The Secret To Achieving Maximum Impact In Your Life And Business – Part 2 Of 3
As always I’m very excited that you are with us. If you’re tuning in, you are stepping into a three-part series. We are doing part two, so go back and check out part one. As I mentioned in the previous episode, one of the things that makes me extremely proud particularly as a leader is when people are always complimenting the team that we have, “Chris, you have such an amazing staff. Where did you find your staff and how in the world did you get all of these great talented people to work together for so long?” We wanted to do a three-part series on how has a remote real estate team like ourselves survived for the last decade.
We’ve hit on a few things to retouch but definitely go back and read that episode again. This entire series has been created by my team because I asked them to answer this question, not myself. I took down the notes of, “Why they felt that we, as a team, have as deep of a culture that we have and as tight-knit as we are?” Last time, we talked about the importance of promise-keeping, caring about each other, and the totality of each other’s lives and being radically transparent. In the last series, we are breaking down stories that represent these things.
Team building is everything. I believe that teams, not individuals, change the world. I believe that if you’re building a team and you have massive turnover, it’s going to slow down the growth of your organization tremendously because you’re going to be constantly hiring and firing. I don’t think you’ll ever get the freedom that you’re looking for if you don’t have a team. I know a lot of people ask, “Chris, how is it that you’re able to live down and to loom and to get that lifestyle business that we’re all working for?” That’s an easy question for me to answer because it comes down to how incredible the team is that we have.
We need to care about each other and be transparent towards one another.
Without a team, you missed out on the joy of the journey of doing it together. You might be brand new to real estate, never done a deal, don’t have anyone, you might be a two or three-person team or you might be a large team but I can tell you, what we’re talking about is going to be something that is going to be applicable to you.
What we want to do is to create a series of talks from the heart. Not textbook at all like how in the world have we survived together for this long going through what we’ve gone through. Let’s pick back up the conversation on part two with three more things that we felt like have kept us together for this long.
The next one is about trust. Trust in the sense of trusting each other’s opinions. Trusting each other in the decision-making that we’re making together. As a leader, how far do you trust your team? I can tell you the moment in which you will know how far you trust your team, and that’s when you go through a downturn.
I’ve been in business for many years. I started in 2005, which means I went through the downturn of 2008. Our industry is wholesaling, it depends on how long you’ve been in the game or not. We went through quite a bit of a downturn starting in around 2018. That was a year when a lot of people were representing the fact that revenues had potentially dropped by 50% for a myriad of reasons. That was a tough year.
I want to kick this off to you on the story and this concept of trusting each other’s decision-making. How strong is a team, how strong is a leader, how much do you know whether or not a leader trusts their team is when shit hits the fan. Do you want to talk a little bit about more downturns and what that looks like for us?
We’ve been doing this for a long time but we’ve had periods where we’ve had to make some quick decisions. We’ve had to make a very hurtful decision but we had to do it together. This goes both ways. You asked, “At what point, how do we show that a leader trusts his team?” We represent that very well by going through a downturn. I know you and I had a conversation where you told me, “We need to make some hard decisions. Do you think that you guys could take this and see what you can cut?” You trusted us to make those choices because one thing I’m very much not great at is cutting to cut. I need to know that there is not going to have a massive effect on multiple things. I cannot just cut things to cut things. There’s a lot of talking it out.
At that point in time, the most recent time that we had, you were handling multipliers. You were intuitive. You were doing a million things and trying to launch something else. I needed to rally our core team of leaders together. We needed to do this together. That moment where you told me you had complete faith that we could make these decisions, it’s your company and you trusted us to make those cuts. That was big for me.
Another part of that is how we showed that we were loyal to that process because it’s very easy to cut technology. It’s easy to cut random things. What’s not easy is to cut people, especially people who are talented and doing everything right. That’s very difficult. This isn’t a case where you have to cut people because they’re doing poorly. If you have to cut people that are talented and excelling, it’s a whole another decision.
When I brought this to our core team and I said, “We need to make some cuts or we’re not going to be able to come out of it properly. We need to do this.” Not one person on that call had dictated when it came down to their paycheck. They didn’t want to leave. That wasn’t the situation. It wasn’t, “You can fire me.” It was, “How about this. How about you cut my pay to half-pay until we’re out of it.” It was a volunteered thing. This was them coming to me with this. I remember one team member said it and every single person on that call was, “Yes, absolutely.” That was totally unexpected to not even have to ask.
They were all willing to jump in and take that temporary cut. There were others that, “Take my whole paycheck,” but I’m not leaving. I’m going to support the company. It’s a twofold thing. It was you giving us the trust. You’re trusting us enough to make these decisions and knowing that we were going to do that. We were going to cut what we had to cut because we wanted to survive, we stood behind what the mission is.
The other side of that was people and team members were volunteering their paycheck because they knew that there was more to it that they wanted to be a part of. The ones that did, they continued to work as hard as if their pay was at full without any type of plaque. There was none of it. They kept pushing. That shows on both sides how we mutually respect each other as a team and we want to do this together.
You have to run your business like an aquarium.
It’s a great story because there are a few things that come out of that, particularly from a leadership perspective. As a leader, what I find is when things get difficult at the top, let’s say you’re an individual or maybe you have a business partner, what leadership usually does is all of a sudden, a lot of the meetings start happening behind closed doors. There are a lot of closed doors. There are a lot of quiet conversations. What I learned is that the more difficult things get in your organization, the more wide open you need to keep that door so that everybody can hear the conversation of what’s going on.
There’s an old principle that I love. It says, “You’ve got to run your business like an aquarium.” If you want to know whether you trust your team or not, what I always ask people is, “How much have you opened up your books to the people in your organization?” That doesn’t mean you open all your books to every single people in your organization but there are those that are there as your key people, as your directors, and as the leaders in your organization that cannot help you navigate difficult times if they don’t know what’s going on.
What I find a lot of leaders do is hide during that time. They try to pretend that everything is okay. I love what my CFO has always told us here, “You got to go open kimono. You got to show it all. You can’t hide the numbers from your team, particularly in difficult times,” because what that means is that you’re putting all of that pressure on yourself to try to figure out how to navigate this.
Cierra, as you knew within that particular circumstance, I knew that I was not going to be able to navigate all of that as well as the other businesses and things that we had going on at the same time. What I thought was amazing was that I could take something as difficult as, “I don’t know that we’re going to make payroll. I don’t even know where to begin to solve this problem, but I’m going to trust you guys if you get together around the table that you are going to be able to figure out what needs to happen.”
I want you to imagine that if you’re reading. In a lot of situations, a leader would come in and say, “You’re fired. There’s an X amount of cut across the board,” and it’s more of a dictatorship type of decision because of the way that we run our team. This is what this show is about why we have stuck together. As I said, there’s no way that I can make that decision. I can’t make that decision for them. That’s their livelihood, as well as mine. We took that challenging circumstance. We put the leadership team together, and the leadership team came through with solutions that enabled us to navigate that very difficult time.
As you guys have said it and I’ve taken notes on this process, if you want to last for ten years, the question comes down to, “How much do you trust the decision-making of your team?” If everything feels like it’s about to fall apart and the potential end is near, do you hoard all the decision-making yourself at that point and go, “I trust them but when it gets this difficult, I’m going to take the ball away from them.” Do you have the approach and the mindset of, “It is difficult now. I have to lean into trusting my team more than anything else?”
As a leader, that’s not fun. That’s super vulnerable. No leader likes to come in and open up books when things are challenging. When things are going well, it’s great to show off your books, “Look how much we made this month. Let’s celebrate that.” That’s easy to do but when you’re losing the game, that’s a little bit more difficult. I’ll tell you the thing that I took away from that was I realized that the team that we had was showing up so much more than for the business. They were showing up for the mission. At that point, as a leader, I felt that they were also showing up because they trusted me. They believed in me that I would figure out how in the world to get us out of that particular difficult situation. That’s a great story, Cierra, of what bonded us together.
Let’s go to the second one. It overlaps a little bit. We began to touch on it. I remember reading one time that there are two types of employees. There are those that show up for a paycheck and there are those that show up for the mission. I can tell you that if you look at your organization and put people into 1 of those 2 buckets, you will realize that those are two completely different team members. Those that show up for the paycheck, when things get hard, they’re out. They’re there for the paycheck.
If you have people that show up because they deeply believe in the vision that you have and the mission that you have, at times when things go up and down, and regardless of whatever is coming down, they’re going to stick around a lot longer because they’re there for the mission. I know for me and this has been my perspective, I’ve had some arguments in the past with some previous people about this, I always realized that the most important thing that we ever built was never the business itself. It wasn’t even the model. It was the chassis. The reason why is because every model, every stabilizer, everything that you build will eventually die.
Companies don’t last forever. As much as we want to believe that wholesaling will last forever, it probably won’t. Look at real estate brokerage now. That’s been around for a long time, but that’s on the cusp of going away. Look at the taxi industry, iTunes and everything that happened there with the music industry. Everything that you will eventually step into industry-wise and as a model, all have a certain length of time in which they’ll run but at some point, those things will be disrupted.
I’ve always had a deep belief that the thing that was always going to stay intact, the thing that I would always have that mattered most that would transcend industry, time, and disruption would be the strength of the team that we built. I believe that we’ve lasted as long as we’ve had because I have valued the team above any business that we were ever doing.
Krista, you and I have talked a little bit about this but your mindset has always been, “I know you, Chris, 3 years, 10 years from now, we won’t be doing what we’re doing, but the one thing that will always remain consistent is the fact that we’ve built such a great team. It doesn’t matter what we decide to tackle. We can go build any business together.” Do you want to touch on that a little bit because I know you understand that philosophy and believe it?
That’s what I truly believe. We happen to be in wholesaling. We happen to have these other businesses now. In ten years, we may not have them. We may be raising puppies. It doesn’t matter because we have a strong team that everybody has a role. People grow into roles as we roll through businesses. I have served many different roles, but the core people, we can run any business. I tell people all the time that I work for Chris Arnold. I don’t work for just the business. I work for you. Whatever we’re doing, that’s what we’re doing. If we’re doing something else next week, that’s what we’re doing because it’ll still be this great group of people and we’ll still be working together. We may be selling hot dogs. Who knows?
The strength of the team you build transcends time and industries.
With that mentality, if you believe the most important asset you have is your team and you deeply believe that, I believe that you will treat, lead and love that team much differently than if you don’t believe that the most important asset you have is the team itself. I don’t see a lot of people that have that belief system. I’ve gotten into some heated debates where it’s like, “Fire everybody on the team and let’s focus on the model.” My mindset is like, “The model doesn’t matter. What is going to stay consistent forever is how difficult and how hard it was to assemble the team that we have.”
If you wanted to rip my soul out, that would be tearing apart the team itself. If wholesaling or any of the other companies we run in those industries fall apart, that’s tough. You have to pivot but it wouldn’t affect me as much because I know that the family is going to stay intact and we can go run any business together. That’s what great teams do. That’s an important piece.
Let’s go down to the last one. This has been interesting what I’ve learned over time. There was a time early on where I felt like I was responsible for maintaining the standard and firing people. There’s a point where if you build a talented enough team, they’ll weed each other out. I don’t fire people anymore. There are times when I say fire, I’m not the one that brings it up. Usually, it’s brought to me and this person is fundamentally being voted off the island by the rest of the people because over time, what begins to transcend is a standard. If somebody doesn’t meet that standard within the organization, then everybody else looks at that person and says, “They don’t make the cut anymore.”
Scarlet, do you want to talk a little bit about our experience? It comes out to the fact of what has kept us together so long is that we’ve had the willingness to have some necessary endings. Also, to weed people out quickly that either didn’t meet our core values or didn’t meet the level at which we expect each other to function within the organization.
This has been hard for a team like ours because we’re all so close. Everyone on our team has a different personality. They come from different backgrounds but we all have the same core values and work towards the same goals. It ends up forming like this team ecosystem almost. Every so often, we have that one person that disrupts that. Sometimes they are toxic. One that sticks out was one of our top producers, but he enjoyed the chaos he created. He would make the other sales team members miserable with his negativity and lies. He would stir up stuff for his own entertainment. He was producing but no one wanted to work with him. He created a bad atmosphere. That’s the point where I would raise my concerns to Cierra and we sat down and figured out what the next steps were. It was guys like that that ultimately, we did have to weed out for the good of the team.
If you’re reading and maybe you have that person in your team now that you’re wondering, whether they should stay or they should go, I remember sitting around an EO table one time. I was a part of the entrepreneur organization and this guy said, “This is the only question you’ll ever need to answer on whether you should fire someone or not.” I said, “What’s that question?” He said, “If you know everything about that person that you know now, and you are all the way back at the very beginning and they were sitting across the table from you, would you offer them the job knowing everything that you know about them now?”
It’s interesting because that cuts through a lot of BS. Either you’re going to get a hell yes or a no from that answer. We’ve utilized that question quite a bit to determine whether or not somebody should stay within the organization. As I say, you can’t save a plant by over-watering it. At some point, you’ve got to prune that rose bush and you have to let it go.
The three points with this particular talk that we want to lay down are. Number one, the thing that’s kept us together or what Krista, Cierra, Grace and Scarlet have helped me understand is, “Chris, you’ve trusted us to make some of the most difficult decisions rather than hiding off in some dark cave by yourself to make those. Because you did that, we felt empowered. We felt like we have a voice. We felt like we have control around the destiny of the organization and particularly our future because we’ve agreed to follow you.”
The second thing is the fact we are mission-oriented. We are not showing up for a paycheck but we are showing up because we believe that over time, this team will impact the world more. I won’t get into a lot of that but for those of you that do know me, we’re definitely not in this because of real estate. We view it as a vehicle to be able to impact the world. It’s a great vehicle.
It’s a vehicle that gives freedom of time and freedom of resources to go out and solve some of the bigger problems that exist in the world. We believe that you can’t rely on the government to solve most of the problems that are out there. Most of the problems that exist will be solved via the private sector, being small and large businesses that take the funds that they create to go out and solve those.
The last thing I hope that you heard is you’ve got to be willing to weed people out. You’ve got to be able to create a culture that not only you have a standard, but everyone in the organization is on the same page on that standard. When someone doesn’t need that, it’s not you pointing the finger. It’s people coming and knocking on your door, which I’ve had before. They’ve seen it before I have and say, “Chris, I don’t know that you’re seeing it as quickly as we do but this person has to go.”
They’re not meeting the standard that we have. I believe that because we have maintained a certain standard within our organization as a whole. We’ve not allowed any bad apples to come in and ruin the overall culture. I know anyone reading understands that it only takes one person to come in that’s a virus that will literally come through and disrupt the entire organization and the entire culture as well.
Those are a few things for us that have been essential that we felt like have kept us together for the last few years as well. This is the end of part two. We have one more series coming talking about how we’ve stayed together for many years. As always, we would love to help you. If you’re interested in setting up your radio, it’s something that we’re passionate about. Something that we’ve been doing for many years ourselves. We’ve been doing, Cierra, the radio for as long as we’ve been working together. I put those 2 and 2 together. That’s pretty crazy. I never connected those two dots.
If you’re interested in radio and setting up a marketing channel that creates inbound calls for you that we know is what would be considered low maintenance and creates that local celebrity status. I, as well as the ladies that are here in this call, are a part of that as well. We’d love to be able to help you set that up, and get that up and going. As always, you can check us out by booking a call. You can go to WholesalingInc.com/reiradio. Book a call and see if your market is open. To the rest of you guys, we will catch you soon when we add more value. I’ll talk to you later.
- previous episode – episode 731: Team Building Masterclass – The Secret to Achieving Maximum Impact in Your Life and Business – Part 1
- Cierra Ford – LinkedIn
About Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold is a 15 year Real Estate veteran who has closed over 2500 single family real estate transactions in the DFW metroplex. Chris is the founder of multiple companies that are managed by a US virtual team, which allows Chris to run his organizations while living in Tulum, Mexico full time. His passion for leaders has led to the creation of Multipliers brotherhood which serves the top 5% of real estate entrepreneurs out of the US. Most recently Chris has launched his REI Radio coaching program. This program is designed to teach real estate investors the marketing stream that everyone knows about but NO ONE is doing!