Monday, September 28, 2009


This week’s reflection is about a topic that is taking up a significant amount of my time lately.  I will try to make it generic enough to have a wider application, but no guarantees.  As with all of my blogs, the goal is to have you ask yourself how is this relevant in my life or in my business?

As you know Keller Williams Coastal Properties (“KWCP”) is currently recreating its Company model.  A new vision with several service platforms intended to improve the experience of all customers, including agents, buyers, sellers, employees, service providers and contractors. 

The question is how can you provide a level of services for your employees, partners and independent contractors so that you create a ‘raving fan’ outside the walls of the Company?  Within the independent contractor model this is challenging due to the relationship between agent and broker.  One of the drivers in the new vision for KWCP is the creation of ‘agent pods’.  The genesis behind this idea came indirectly from the book ‘Open Book Management’ by John Case read over twelve years ago.

The KWCP agent pod model is where the agents are organized into teams of 9-10 agents per pod with a total of 28 pods.  The pods will meet weekly for no longer than 90 minutes at a time.  The meetings will be structured to start with themes proposed for the first ten or so until rapport and understanding of the value and goals is clear with each member of the group.  Also, initial pod leaders will be trained as to the vision and goals prior to the first meeting.  There are three critical features to this pod model, we call them the KWCP 3Cs – coaching, collaboration and communication.  The pods are not intended to replace the agent business model, but to augment what the agent is doing and to bring a level of support and services not readily available within the traditional brokerage model. 

So what will these pods look like at Keller Williams or for that matter your organization?  Once each pod overcomes the inherent distrust within the ‘old’ economic model through the sharing of stories there will be several potential benefits for the agent participants.  The first is peer-to-peer coaching (mentoring).  The goal here is to enable vested relationships to form that provide support, experiential guidance, peer mentoring, opportunities for role play, practicing of scripts, mastermind opportunities, and brainstorming about business development, sales and marketing.  Keller Williams does a great job providing formal classroom training and training materials from Keller Williams International.  But for several reasons this training becomes diluted at the field level – timing, relevancy, apathy, schedules, lack of quality teachers, etc.  What is that saying … “experience is the best teacher” … well multiple that by nine and you now have a unique out of class room opportunity for growth and learning. 

This peer-to-peer coaching also has several ancillary benefits.  For example, a few agents drain the Company’s resources dealing with reoccurring questions and issues that come up throughout the marketing and sales transaction that could easily and quickly be disposed of at the pod level.  This will free up the Company resources to concentrate on other revenue generating and support functions.  This will also reduce the disenfranchised feel within the organization – a few agents feel left out because they don’t get the attention, recognition and assistance they require to move forward in their business.  Either they find another source for help or they end up dissatisfied, and eventually leave the Company.  Unfortunately, they don’t typically leave with a good experience and create a negative energy surrounding the Company – the opposite of a ‘raving fan’.

The second feature of the 3Cs is collaboration – the golden egg that has the most significant upside potential (it can also be a train wreck if not managed properly).  Agents typically are ‘lone wolfs’ that are highly territorial with their piece of the pie (agents believe they own or have ‘cornered’ certain market information or contact data).  This mindset gets in the way of true collaboration.  The goal is to have people come together within the pods and look for ways to joint market, collaborate in certain niche markets or micro-markets, share networking opportunities, etc.  By working together agents can reduce their expenses while potentially gaining access to markets they may not have under normal conditions.  Yes, at some level a ‘sharing of the revenue’ is appropriate and the questions involved with that boil down to ‘how do I know the effort extended by each person will be equal?’  The easy answer is you don’t … but the potential of exponential growth is worth the trial.  At the very least this collaboration model will enable a sharing of ideas and market information that will allow each participant to be a better realtor.

The third feature inherent within this pod model is communication.  The broker will be able to efficiently communicate ideas, policies, market trends and training ideas through the pod leaders.  The pods will be able to discuss information disseminated, as well as other information and data collected by the people ‘in the trenches’ everyday.  New ideas or repackaged ‘old’ concepts will bubble to the surface and fed back to the executive team and broker for consideration.  This feedback loop is healthy, nay critical, in any profitable organization.  Throughout this process the Company can determine its ‘holes’ or ‘blind spots’; and then fix them quickly by adapting to evolving markets and customer demands.  Beyond this sales and marketing information can be collected that has financial applications within the Company – i.e., unlike most traditional businesses bean counters can predict cash flow streams due to revenue projections of its sales staff; but in a brokerage model that practice is unreliable because there is no short, medium and long term look into the pipeline because the broker (if they are lucky) only sees or tracks what is in escrow.  There are a few software applications beginning to track more data points within the transaction pipeline from first contact, through list, to sales contract and closing (see KnewVantage).

I encourage you to look at your business model for potential applications.  These agent pods can be adapted to your business model whether it operates within your company or morphs outside involving a group of industry peers.

I hope you enjoyed the reflection, and let me know how you embrace change even through its uncertainty.  Most of all I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!!  If you wish to read all the other Monday Morning Mojos written for you, then visit:  Or if you or a friend is looking to buy or sell real estate anytime soon, please look us up at 

As always, I welcome your feedback and your reflections (please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me).  If I can be of service to you or your friends, please let me know.  And, thank you for your continued support and inspiration … each of you are a cherished gift that enriches my life in ways you will never understand … Thank you!!  Jim Peys

Sunday, September 20, 2009


When does the ‘agent of change’ exceed the ‘fear of change’ so that change is possible?  Change can be a scary proposition, and most of us delude ourselves into believing that we can control change, or that change is only necessary to avoid or recover from a catastrophic event.  Whether change involves a personal relationship, a job or in how we see ourselves; we seem to be driven not by what will bring us fulfillment, but avoidance of fear.  That seems to defy all logic – but then again does it?

Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ proposes an order of physiological needs that must be meet to bring about action.  Maslow’s model states fundamental, lower-order needs have to be satisfied in order to pursue higher-level motivators such as self-fulfillment.  However, we all have experienced a time when the uncertainty or fear of change prevented us or caused us to pause when action might be our best course.  At this point you might be asking yourself “who cares”?

Recently, Keller Williams Coastal Properties’ (“KWCP”) management and leadership counsel gathered for an all day business planning retreat.  The day was spent considering such topics as a mind-shift from a competitive model to a collaborative model (foreign concept for most real estate sales organizations); creating a raving-fan experience with all of our customers (defining who the customers are becomes a significant discussion within the realtor world); and finally a comprehensive vision that fundamentally alters the typical brokerage model.  A vision that will require the help of every agent, employee and service provider in order to accomplish – bringing a real estate company into Web 2.0 as a business model is difficult due to several inherent resistant points both within KWCP and the brokerage model.  Several technology pundits have stated that the realtor world is at least ten years behind other businesses as it relates to technology, innovation and business modeling.

But at the end of the day, the broker brought it home in a concise sentence – tomorrow how are we going to accomplish the Keller Williams International agent recruitment challenge of 24/8/4 (team leader in charge of agent recruitment is responsible for 24 new agent appointments, 8 new agent hires, with 4 agents leaving the company PER MONTH).  The vision discussed growing KWCP from 246 agents to over a 1,000 full time agents within two years.  Doing the math you will quickly conclude that the Keller Williams recruiting model is irrelevant in light of the new goal.  Here is the other rub – most brokerage companies look for the ‘low hanging fruit’ when recruiting (meaning hiring agents from other companies that are looking to move because they are unhappy with their current broker).  So picking up three or four new agents a month (or finding 48 per year) that are looking to move is difficult, but not impossible.  But finding approximately 42 new agents a month for the next 24 months (1,008 total agent hires, and then you need to allow for agent losses) is a whole different proposition!  This means Keller Williams will need to attract agents who right now have no desire to move or have not even thought about changing brokerage companies.

So this begs the question, will creating a ‘value proposition’ so overwhelming be sufficient to overcome the innate ‘fear of change’ to motivate those that maybe happy where they are to make a change anyways?  Logic would suggest that if the value of the brokerage services is so much better than their present reality, then of course … but most people typically don’t act solely out of logic (Logic vs Emotion).  When does the value of action or the ‘agent for change’ become so compelling as to overwhelm our fear of change or our ‘avoidance of pain’ (notion that people make decisions either to gain pleasure or avoid pain – which most often people choose to avoid pain rather than gain pleasure)?  To be honest, I’m not sure of the answer to these questions.  But the process will result in creating a company that is truly special because it will deliver a better customer experience in the end (admittedly a few other hurdles exist, i.e., under the present KW model how is one person going to identify, interview and hire 42 new agents per month?).

What do you think?  In any sales environment, we all come across people who understand the value of your product or service, and how it will significantly contribute to their life or business experience; but they don’t buy because of that ‘fear of change.’  How have you motivated these people to move beyond the fear?  How have you systemized your value proposition?

I encourage you to look at your personal situation and consider your business model.  Look at how a shift in your reality can significantly make a difference in yourself or in your business; and thus open doors to abundant opportunities.

I hope you enjoyed the reflection, and let me know how you embrace change even through the fear.  Most of all I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!!  If you wish to read all the other Monday Morning Mojos written for you, then visit:  Or if you or a friend is looking to buy or sell real estate anytime soon, please look us up at 

As always, I welcome your feedback and your reflections (please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me).  If I can be of service to you or your friends, please let me know.  And, thank you for your continued support and inspiration … each of you are a cherished gift that enriches my life in ways you will never understand … Thank you!!  Jim Peys

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Several years ago a friend commented that “life is lived between the notes.”  The context of the statement was that ‘wisdom’ is experienced in the intervals between the notes.  Reflecting on that statement, I would add that the depth, clarity and understanding of those notes are realized in the transition between multiple notes or ‘stimuli.’  Thomas Aquinas stated that “wisdom differs from mere science in looking at things from a greater height.  Wisdom is not in the details, it’s in the space between them – the interstices.  Wisdom is not in the fabric, it’s in the holes.  It’s what is going on between the events.”  Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead added “knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows: for details are swallowed up in principles.”  Just a couple of days ago was the anniversary date of September 11th.  Our experience of that day has evolved from a related series of tragic events that morning to our individual and collective responses or the ‘interstices between the notes’ heard since – the transition between outside stimulus (the initial act itself) experienced to our ongoing response or actions.

Personally, I see a series of ‘transition points’ being played in every phase of my life.  In light of ‘notes played’, how will I create the next phase of my life … what is my next ‘note’?  I wonder….  My real estate company (Keller Williams Coastal Properties) has asked me to reflect on a vision for the Company moving into the ‘new economy.’  Do we just remain ‘status quo’ or do we re-create the Company with a new vision and a new direction?  In my business, I find myself transitioning with a different mindset into other ‘micro-markets’ due to changing market forces.  Not really sure where that will lead – changing the paradigm from a realtor driven business plan to a service platform defined by the customer who represents a ‘mass of niches’.  All of my personal relationships are in transition - moving out, my kids completing school and being on their own, to new personal and professional relationships.  Ah, the uncertainty of change that leaves me wondering what will the transition look like down the road?  How do I let go of the ego, remain open to what is, see the value in the question and not the answer, and view all that will be from a place of abundance and not scarcity?  What is my lesson in all of these ‘transition points’ in my life? 

The enduring lessons I know is that a body in motion stays in motion (the need to have the courage to keep moving forward – one step at a time); mindset and the doing (action step) are equally important; the only permanence in life is impermanence; the power of affirmation is a forgotten gift we share with those around us AND just as important for ourselves; that lasting success, growth, change and empowerment is manifested through other people; what I passionately feel and think is my reality; and that perseverance is a strength greater than talent or endowment.  These simple truths are my transition points between the notes and continue to define the quality, clarity and depth of my life.  Ok, so I may know a few other life lessons that are both relevant and important along the way.  But those seem to bubble up to the forefront. 

How do you experience your life between the notes?  What are your ‘transition points’?  What are the life lessons you are learning through your transitional moments?  In light of the anniversary of 9/11, how do our individual ‘transition points’ overlay together creating a more enlightened experience for our children, loved ones, community, country and world?

I hope you enjoyed the reflection and take the time to remember the loss of the past, consider how your ‘transition points’ present significant growth opportunities, and your wisdom accumulated in the intervals between the notes.  As always, I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!!  If you wish to read all the other Monday Morning Mojos written for you, then visit:  My deepest desire is that we engage in a conversation; consequently, I welcome and encourage your feedback and your reflections (please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me).  If I can be of service to you or your friends, please let me know or find me on the web at  And, thank you for your continued support and inspiration … each of you are a cherished gift that enriches my life in ways you will never understand … Thank you!!  Jim Peys

Monday, September 7, 2009


I was invited to give a vision presentation this month for the real estate brokerage company where I hang my broker’s license – Keller Williams Coastal Properties. Each year the management committee, ‘ALC’, gathers to develop the business plan for the upcoming year. The process is probably no different than every other corporation, enterprise, partnership or entrepreneur (or at least it should be) as they go through their annual planning right of passage. I thought it might be interesting to open up the process so these ideas are not discussed in a bubble – especially my bubble.

As a realtor presenting a Corporate vision to business owners seems counterintuitive to me. I believe our journeys are shaped not by the conclusions we draw, but the questions we ask that define our thought process and impact how we act. So standing in front of peers suggesting trends and opportunities in our marketplace seems a little odd. Oh well we’ll give it a go, consequently, I have been thinking about several questions that business professionals (regardless of the business, profession or its size) should ask within their organization. My other premise is that the development of vision and goals are an ongoing, living, dynamic process. Business planning is an evolving process that morphs as markets develop or evaporate, customer needs change, economic realities force new realties, and technology creates new platforms (or in some cases eliminates certain market opportunities).

My hope is that you will share your own questions and thoughts with me. I want your feedback because these thoughts are based only on my experiences, conversations with other professionals and consumers, and admittedly my own myopic research. Regardless of whether you are a consultant, sales person, entrepreneur, middle manager or executive in a large corporation the process of thinking through several of these questions will be worthwhile. So please join me in this process …

A Few Warm Up Questions & Considerations:

· What business are you in? In some cases the answer seems simple – realtors (I’m using realtors as my primary example because I am a realtor – sorry) are in the business of representing the needs of buyers and sellers in the acquisition or sales of real property. Is that it … or is our service more expansive than that? Case in point, some contend that if AOL (concluded they were a media company controlling content) asked and answered this question differently they could have been the equivalent of Facebook ten years ago. Or if Yahoo answered this question differently, then they would be the Google of today (instead they are struggling to survive). So what business are realtors in … the phase that keeps creeping into my consciousness is ‘a concierge platform providing a la carte real estate services and information.’ Operating in an open system the realtor can co-create the scope of services that is ultimately defined by the customer. Realtors are more than just order takers, negotiators, sales people, transaction coordinators, knowledge based companies; instead we can be a human ‘aggregator’ of services and connections that potentially eliminate the personal, business and legal bottlenecks that are inherent in the process and enable each touch point to be more fluid in delivering the desired results. Although a few individuals may currently view their role in this capacity; I would challenge this belief because they still demonstrate a degree of ‘fear based’ languaging tricks to motivate or control their clients and/or the process. The majority of realtors and brokers come from the competitive business model which is based upon fear and scarcity – listen to the ‘fine print’ in a listing presentation and you will instantly get the point.

· Who is your ‘customer’? Ah, this is where I will depart from traditional brokers’ assumptions. The typical broker views their clients as being the individual realtors (agents and associate brokers). This is a very limited view of the reality of the new economy. I define our ‘customer’ as every person that touches the entire transaction – agents/brokers, buyers, sellers, contractors, employees, independent contractors, assistants, service providers, transaction coordinators, escrow, title companies, lenders, etc. Each person that touches the transaction has the ability to drive the ultimate experience of the buyer and seller, and has the ability to drive future opportunities. If our view of ‘customer’ is expanded than we open ourselves up to creating ‘raving fans’ (see Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans) with every person along the way capable of fundamentally altering our business. Every time we take for granted a person involved in a transaction we potentially miss an opportunity to grow our business, develop another relationship, and enter into another ‘conversation’ that may lead to new opportunities through people.

· Where is your revenue? Traditionally for a real estate company or realtor revenue comes in the form of commissions. Consider for a moment if you were forced to assume a ‘zero-based budgeting’ model in your business; then how would you create revenue opportunities. A few business pundits use this term when Companies’ generate revenue through the ‘side-doors.’ For example, Google collects zero revenue (they actually give this service away for free) in its primary business – web based searches. Instead Google collects revenue primarily through advertising. Why should other ‘old line’ or established businesses consider ‘zero-based budgeting’ or assume collecting no revenue for a primary service or product (think newspapers, book publishing, travel agents, and the list continues to grow every day) – because the expansion of the Internet and the ‘new economy’ may threaten their ability to charge a fee or as large a fee as the business model evolves or matures.

So where does that leave realtors – one brokerage company in Seattle collects revenue as a ‘fee for services rendered’ similar to an attorney or CPA (hourly charge for time). I don’t think this model has legs over the long term. How about offering an a la carte menu for clients to pick from and pay a sum negotiated for each service selected. The realtor and broker could offer a comprehensive menu of services that is completely customer driven with fees associated with each menu item. For example, a seller could choose to list their property utilizing the full service option (the preferred option for all ‘full service’ realtors because the typical fee collected is between 2-6% of the transaction value), or they could choose to utilize only the MLS listing feature and the transaction coordination option. In a different situation maybe the client only wants to utilize the escrow services of the broker.

This paradigm shift offers several interesting twists to the traditional model. First, the client creates the level of service he/she wants from the ‘service platform’ – they in effect ‘co-create’ the service provided by the brokerage company. Secondly, this provides the client with real choices – the very essence of a menu. Next, the client gets to control, to a degree, the costs of a transaction (typically the sales costs of a transaction ranges between 7-9% of the sales price) depending upon the service items selected. Next the realtor has a competitive advantage over other brokerage companies or sales models – regardless of whether the client is considering a full brokerage company, discount broker or even the ‘For Sale By Owner’ option. In large part, this menu option will over the short term take ‘price’ off the table and shift the conversation to what level of service the client can expect from the broker/agent. Lastly, this menu approach offers an opportunity for greater ‘collaboration’ between realtor and client – which in the future may be how many realtors prosper (collaboration with everyone who touches the transaction – not just between realtor and client).

In addition, the realtor could provide a ‘cloud’ of services (term borrowed from the concept of ‘cloud computing’ – see the model) that is scalable and configurable to the various market niches (notion of ‘mass of niches’ as detailed by Mark Penn in Micro Trends book) based on customer needs. As the realtor creates greater market penetration from its ‘platform of services’ into the various communities and vertical markets this access portal becomes a valuable resource for other service providers (title companies, marketing companies, insurance agents, contractors, financial planners, etc.). Through this service platform other companies will be able to collaborate with the realtor and pay for access to the community or database (either in the form of referral fees, advertising, joint marketing partnerships, etc.). This is just one idea for revenue opportunities from ‘side doors’ in the new economy.

So being Labor Day, I challenge you to examine your business’ vision/model. Thinking outside the box for a moment, the obvious answer to these questions may not insure that your model will succeed in the ‘new economy.’ So take these questions for a test drive, and see how you might add value to your customer’s experience, and how you can create ‘raving fans’ within your platform of services. Also, please remember that this blog is really an invitation for an ongoing conversation between us!

I hope you enjoyed the reflection, and take the time to consider how these questions present significant opportunity for each of us in the ‘new economy.’ Most of all I hope you make it a GREAT day and week!! If you wish to read all the other Monday Morning Mojos written for you, then visit: As always, I welcome and encourage your feedback and your reflections (please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me). If I can be of service to you or your friends, please let me know. And, thank you for your continued support and inspiration … each of you are a cherished gift that enriches my life in ways you will never understand … Thank you!! Jim Peys

Other Questions To Consider:

There are several other questions that I have been bantering around in my head and with a few other friends; however, their detailed consideration, albeit important, deserves another forum. So for the sake of brevity, I only list the questions below to spur ongoing conversations with you. The following questions are in no way intended to be exhaustive for the purposes of your planning process; but they may be a starting point …

1. What is our business model? Are we a business model/corporation that is based upon competition (scarcity); or a model based upon the heart of collaboration/service (abundance – beyond the marketing or customer service rhetoric)?

2. How can we create a model that encourages and enables an on-going dialogue with all of our customers to co-create a ‘service platform’ that truly delivers real value to the customers and communities we serve?

3. Where is our ‘value proposition’ (some would ask “what is our value proposition”)? How is our ‘value proposition’ unique and add value to our customers?

4. What is our current Company culture? What do we want our Company culture to be?

5. How do we create ‘elegant organizations’?

6. How can we enable ‘elegant organization’ for each of our ‘customers’?

7. How do we enable on-going conversations with and between all of our customers so that we remove all informational bottlenecks and make all touch points more fluid?

8. What is our ‘platform of services’ that we offer so as to create value for all of our customers?

9. Where are the collaboration opportunities in every ‘service platform’ offered so that we may leverage all of our resources, talents and opportunities?

10. How can we cultivate the culture of collaboration and abundance across all business segments within and outside of the Company?

11. How can we collaborate with all of our ‘customers’ to co-create a more comprehensive ‘value proposition’ that truly serves the needs and desires of our customers and communities that we serve?

12. Where are our customers; what do they want; when do they want it; and how do they want it?

13. How do we really LISTEN to our customers?

14. What is our customers’ experience of the services we provide?

15. How can we create ‘raving fans’ across all business segments and with every ‘customer’ of the business?

16. How do we create and sustain total ‘transparency’ with all of our customers in every service platform in our business?

17. What communities do our customers participate in?

18. What communities and micro-markets do we serve?

19. How will we serve the needs of our customers and communities we serve in the ‘new economic’ model of today and beyond?

20. In the communities we serve do we, and if so how do we, enable them to talk; enable them to share what they know and need to know; enable them to support each other; enable them to do business together; and even enable them to socialize? (A friend once shared that true relationships develop when people have the courage to pray together, share a meal together, and laugh together – simple yet profound insight)

21. Are we being ‘authentic’ in all of our services and interactions with our customers? If not, why not?

22. How do we enable innovation within our Company and the business model?

23. What is the ‘legacy’ that we are creating for the Company and our customers?

24. How do we get ahead and stay ahead of the technology curve so that we truly serve our customers where they are at now and where they are headed in the future?

25. How does the technology that we utilize support the vision and direction of our customer driven service platform model? How can we create a seamless, synergistic technology platform that is user friendly, economical, functional and creates tangible value for all of our customers?