How should people in commercial real estate be investing their time?

Apr 23, 2021

Sometimes you need to invest time to make time, even (or especially) when you don't have time.

One of the things that I hear from people when I'm talking about the opportunities for coaching and training is that there's no time.

"We're too busy", is an objection I've heard.

An owner of a medium-sized firm told me enthusiastically: "We're on fire right now. We can't possibly find the time for professional development".

To be clear, I am modest enough to realise that these answers may just be a nice way for people to say that they're not interested in working with me.

But, even if they're politely declining my services, I know that quite often people do feel that they're just too busy to be able to invest the time in themselves (and their teams).

So here are a few ideas about why, when you're busy, it's actually a great time to also find the time to invest in learning and growth

One point is that if you wait until you're not busy, it's too late.

What I mean by that is, often, when you're not busy, there are financial pressures, which also mean that it's more difficult to find the other resource that's required for investing in yourself and your team's development: the resource of money.

Moreover, the pressure to find more revenue in lean times can lead to learning and growth becoming even less of a focus.

Also, if you really are "too busy", I think there are questions that could be asked about your current processes and efficiencies (or lack thereof). To be frank, if you're too busy dealing with what's in front of you, how are you possibly going to be capable of handling any future growth?

Another related question is: how are you making sure that opportunities that are available are not going to pass you by because you're too consumed with what's going on in front of you?

So if you're feeling that you're too busy for professional development, for learning and growth, for coaching and training, maybe have another think about whether when you are busy is actually exactly the right time to be investing in yourself.

What if you "don't need help"?

Don't worry, top performer, I haven't forgotten about you...

I know a lot of people who don't "need" to find the time. They don't need to invest in their learning and growth. They're doing just fine...often better than fine, in fact.

If you think you're already at the top of your game, ask yourself this: would a top-seed tennis player say they don't have the time to train because they're too busy winning? Or they don't need to do it?

Of course they wouldn't. They would invest in upskilling their performance to ensure they keep improving and create as much distance between themselves and their nearest competitor.

So even if you "don't need it", you do need it.

And about the whole 'time' thing...

One of the modules inside the CRE Success curriculum is all about time management. I know how busy commercial real estate professionals are. I also know that most people in our industry are not as efficient as they could be.

Then there is the desire to be busy. Busy is good, right? Too many people wear "I'm super busy" as a badge of honour. 

Here's the thing, though: hard work - or working harder than everyone else - doesn't guarantee success. Success often follows hard work, however you can also find success by just doing what matters and doing that well.

As I progressed in my career, I found that being focused and productive while I was working, and doing the activities where my efforts would produce the most impactful results, meant I didn't have to work long hours.

That philosophy didn't stop me from being a top performer or a senior leader. What made the difference for me was knowing what matters and focusing on that, while also (partly through trial and error) figuring out how to do things faster, at scale, and getting what needed to be done, but couldn't be scaled, quicker...that meant I didn't have to be the hardest worker in the office, or the market, in order to be at the top of them.

Doesn't that sound better than working so much that you're neglecting other aspects of your life? 

You see, if your success strategy is to outwork everyone, you're going to run out of hours in the day. Your competition will keep innovating and working smarter, while you're just working yourself into the ground.

And just to be crystal clear: I'm not saying I had the balance right the whole time. And I am a hard worker. However, in my 20 years in the business, I never had to work long hours and give up the other priorities in my life. If anything, I overindulged in some of those other pursuits whilst still being successful, but that's another story...

So, where do we go from here?

If you'd like to find out more about professional development for yourself, or your team, let's talk. Our modules cover topics like Time Management and Personal Branding (to help you expand your reach efficiently), as well as the fundamentals of prospecting, pitching to win and client experience (including retention and referrals), to name a few.

CRE Success also offers coaching to high performers and leaders in the industry, and time management - including the balancing of competing priorities - is an area where we can help you excel. 

Send an email to [email protected] to find out more.


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