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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Caroline Akt - Dishonest, Disloyal, or just Savvy Business?

 I'm a thinker, I like to toss things around, look at it from several angles, learn, teach, etc...  I think the ability to put the shoe on the other foot accurately gives me a real advantage.  I don't always wear that shoe in order to empathize or accomodate.  Many times the ability allows me find common ground.  Many times the ability allows me to navigate the path I've set more effectively.  But truly, there are few situations anymore where I can't at least predict accurately one of the several paths the other person may take to my actions.

To do so takes several skills - 1, you really do have to self-acknowledge that not all your actions are beneficent and altruistic - some actions as a businessperson, perhaps most, are selfish.  You have to be selfish, for yourself, your clients, your employees, your vendors, etc...  2, you have to acknowledge that priorities among the players of any situation have competing interests, so the ability to navigate your own self-interest while toeing a line of ethical consistency, is important, at least to me. 

Which, hilariously, brings us to Caroline Akt's confusion at my irritation at her actions.   She seems to be of the opposite ilk, having no ability to see her actions from my perspective.  For instance, let's look at her actions, over the last 12 months.

  • Her goal is to be her own broker as soon as possible - 
    • Which means - 
      • She has to be an agent under a broker for an absolute minimum of 2 years.
      • She has to achieve 4000 transaction points, defined by the State, of successfully completing xxx amount of transactions
      • She has to take her broker's class
      • She has to pass her broker's exam
      • She needs her federal tax ID
      • And she needs a building/space of some sort.
So, it's easy to see, from my perspective, how completing each of these tasks took an immense amount of work and concentration, and since we talked nearly every day, it also took a lot of deception, not to mention the all-consuming exercise and goals inherent therein.

I mean, basically, in order to stay with my agency, get her 4000 points, leverage my wide-ranging marketing programs to build her book of business, get her points, get her 2 years in, she was operating like a spy, where every action had an ulterior motive, not for a week, or month, but possibly for 2 years.  And I considered ourselves friends.

But let's take it one step further.  Her proposal, with a straight face, was that she would represent both her new business clients, as well as mine, divining some new alchemist way of figuring out whose marketing brought which client in the door.  It was, at that point, a real eye-opener for me, that I took this person and turned her into a real estate starlet in 2 years.  She might have fucked me in the end, but that in no way diminishes the skill of taking her from point A to point B successfully, quickly.  My thought, under my daily guidance, is she is one of the best agents in SuCo.  I don't believe its as true when she is out there on her own, making judgment calls about clients, marketing, and deals.

I've done it a lot.  Here in Sullivan County.  Land of the uninspired labor force.  Scouted, hired, managed, grew, cultivated, harvested many seeds of talent into fully viable crops of production, helping to build my business, and helping them have a real life, with savings, and retirement, and vacation, and stability.  It's no small feat, and I fail at it more than I succeed, but when I win with a hire, it's worth 100 fails.

Now, lets be straight here, I'm no marshmellow - I get it, and wish anyone in business well, since it's not easy, but my point here, of this post, is to demonstrate a blind spot that threatens a lot of businesspeople's chances of success - this won't be the last time she has to see a situation from another's perspective to navigate a situation, and judging from this and many others in her past, it's a bridge too far.

Basically, my takeaway, and it's nothing new, is you have to be able to clearly see the other viewpoint, if for no other reason, so you can successfully navigate your course with the current, around it, over it, through it.  Misguided navigation is the real threat here, more so than the actual issue resolution.

When you get right down to it, Lazy Meadows Realty is not a great source of my yearly income.  It's like an annuity - pays regularly.  I'm always amazed at how hard it actually is to make real money as a real estate salesperson/broker.  And the business makes perfect sense for me because so many people come to Catskill Farms through its marketing that we can't service because it's not a great fit, so we flip them to an agency that can be more wide-ranging with its services instead of just turning them away.

But like all issues that come across my desk (or more accurately, slap me across my face in case I wasn't paying attention), it needs to be solved.  One way to solve it, since we are so busy, is to just let Lazy Meadows lay dormant until I have more bandwidth.  It is still a great tool for me to market my properties and allows me to participate in the MLS.  But no, that's not our plan.  I pivoted, in the midst of the chaos, and was lucky to lasso Sir Richard Dalton into the mix as our new agent du jour.  What's fun about that is Richard and his wife Angie were my very first new home clients back in 2003, a home they still own and now reside in full time I believe.  So I discard from my life an excavator's wife of unsound moral bearings and weird world views and replace it with a sophisticated relationship of 15 years.  That's progress, and what I meant by yesterday's post about finding a new lane in the fog of chaos.

As a small business person, my life has lacked clarity, certainty, for 20 years, so I'm comfortable with unsound ground and hopping across the rocks of a swiftly moving current.  I forget most times that most people are not at all comfortable with uncertainly many times less.  I think of all the insight I have into things, this fundamental daily existence variance, where I underestimate just how stable and clear and well-planned most people's lives are, is probably my biggest blind spot, since I've never had it, and now that I'm getting it, it almost feels like I'm cheating.

So '"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."  

(I dont know why when i post from web it acts all funny with highlighted text blocks, etc...)

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