On Your Bus and In Your Business

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The Lones Group, Inc.

On Your Bus and In Your Business

Whether you run your own real estate business, work for a company, or are part of a real estate team, there are people who you rely on day to day to help the business run smoothly. These are the people I call "on your bus". In an ideal world, the bus runs smoothly. This means that the right people are on board, in the right seats, and the bus continues to move forward towards its destination.

But what happens when you have the wrong people on the bus? Have you ever worked somewhere and there was that person who was obviously not good for the team? Perhaps that person oozed negativity, gossiped, never took responsibility, didn't get tasks finished, didn't communicate well, or just did not produce? When the wrong person is on the bus, the bus cannot move efficiently towards its destination.

Having the wrong person on the bus doesn't just affect that particular person's job. Having the wrong person can impact everyone on the bus. Imagine a bus with ten people on it. Nine of them are doing their job, are positive and productive, but the tenth person is negative, shows up late, leaves early, and misses deadlines about 20% of the time. If that 10th person is allowed to continue their bad behavior, what do you think that is going to do to the other nine people on the bus? Do you think their attitudes will sour and they will be less assured that the bus is going where they collectively want to go and begin to look for another bus? Do you think they will lose confidence that the bus driver as their leader is going to get them to their destination? Absolutely. It happens all the time.

Sometimes you have a situation in which the right person was on the bus, but something happened. It could be something personal. It could be that person was passed up for some recognition. It could be an idea or two were not implemented and that has caused some workplace angst. Whatever the reason, if someone was definitely the right person for most of their journey but all of a sudden they weren't, what do you do? Or if you have the wrong person, what do you do?

If you are that person's manager or supervisor, or if you are working with them in a vendor relationship, honesty is usually the best policy. However, I recommend approaching the situation in a conflict-resolution style manner (to recap, that means sticking with the facts, keeping emotion out of the discussion, asking questions, and  stating your truth). For example:

"Jim, I want to talk with you about something that has me concerned." (If you start with, "I want to talk to you about your job performance," that could put up the defenses which is what you don't want). "It seems that you haven't been happy here the last few months." (Fact). "Your co-workers have noticed and are concerned." (Fact). "Obviously we would like to be working as a harmonious team so can you talk about what is going on?" (Question).

By setting up the conversation this way and by not beginning by berating them with their lousy job performance, you might actually get to the crux of the problem because you have set this up as a problem-solving conversation. You might be surprised at what you find out!

In fact, this leads me to another bus challenge. Sometimes you have the right person on your bus but they are sitting in the wrong seat! You might have someone answering phones, but they are bored and have the talent to be a transaction coordinator with some training. Perhaps you have someone on your team who is working as a buyer's agent who should be sending out marketing materials to your database and farm each month instead of draining their energy by expecting them to interact with people. Don't lose the right person just because they are in the wrong seat. Don't be afraid to move people into the right seats!

However, sometimes even with all your efforts, it is time to let someone off the bus whether that be an employee, team member, or a vendor. If that is the case, do it graciously via the conflict resolution formula I have outlined above by stating the facts and your truth in a positive manner. They usually know it is coming and they know it is no longer a fit.  And that is the fact of the matter – it is not a fit. The way you want to do business is not a match for how they want to do business. They need to join another bus going in another direction and both parties will be better off as a result.

I encourage you to think about your bus. Can you count on everyone who is in those seats? Are they all doing what they need to keep the bus moving forward to its destination? Are they in the right seats? If you are the bus driver, those people in the seats are relying on you to get them to their destination. There may be flat tires and engine problems along the way, but if you have the right people, they will all hop out and help get it fixed. If you think about the bus in these terms and know that there will be someone who stays on the bus, complaining about the heat and the lack of maintenance instead of hopping out and helping get the bus back on track, there's your sign that it may be time to make a change.


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

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Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Denise Lones , a "busload" often just happens and, you are right, needs to be reevaluated as you go along for that long ride. I'm in the process of deciding who is going to be on my bus. It helps greatly to get the right people in the right seats from the get-go, but we all know adjustments have to be made along the way. Never easy.

Jun 24, 2016 10:12 AM #1
Jackie Mazurowski
CENTURY 21 Myers Realty - Auburndale, FL
Polk County Gold Realtors

Get on the Bus!

Jun 24, 2016 10:46 AM #2
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

A very good blolg and it gives us a lot to think about.

Jun 24, 2016 12:36 PM #3
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

A realtor was showing a buyer on the freeway, taxing her client around. The client made an insulting remark the bus driver got so upset slammed on the brakes asking the client to get out of the car now. On a bus with 10 steps there is always one person showing up late or have no show last moment. All vectors are going in one direction, one headed no where or going the opposite direction slowing the overall progress.

Jun 24, 2016 01:26 PM #4
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Anyone on my bus who doesn't perform to expected standards is dropped very quickly. I'm not big on a lot of second chances when it's impacting my service to my clients.

Jun 24, 2016 09:07 PM #5
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

'On your bus" I like that - anyone not on my "bus" will find themselves out of work, very quickly! Thanks for sharing

Jun 24, 2016 09:39 PM #6
Susan Laxson CRS
HomeSmart Professionals - La Quinta, CA
Local Knowledge & Global Network

Good morning Denise and I enjoyed reading your post and love the idea of "on the bus"! Those who are meant to be on the bus will definitely make it run more efficiently and those not meant for the ride, should get off it and take another one.

Jun 24, 2016 09:56 PM #7
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

You may ride the bus but leave the driving to us...hands on professionals

Jun 24, 2016 10:51 PM #8
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I have built my entire network like a bus. I am the driver of this bus and people follow me.

Jun 24, 2016 11:32 PM #9
Julie Bryan
KeySouth Real Estate Group - Thomasville, GA
Thomasville GA Real Estate

Great post...makes sense!

Jun 25, 2016 03:05 AM #10
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great analogy!!!

Are they all doing what they need to keep the bus moving forward to its destination? Are they in the right seats? If you are the bus driver, those people in the seats are relying on you to get them to their destination

Jun 25, 2016 03:40 AM #11
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

And the wheels on the bus go round round round...  round round round...  round round round...

The wheels on the bus go round round round....   All 'round the town,



Jun 25, 2016 04:06 AM #12
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I feel like I've had enough similar similar enough situations just like this one, at least in part. Love and light!

Jun 25, 2016 05:18 AM #13
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Brian just took my brain all the way back to nursing school with the wheels on the bus call back lol! Brian L. Sirota, Esq.

Jun 25, 2016 05:20 AM #14
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Denise Lones this type of Q&A - and assessment is very necessary.

In fact I was the driver of a bus where people on bus with me had different vision - and yes, Lessons Learned!

Great post - and great learning, too.

Jun 26, 2016 03:33 PM #15
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