Back to the Basics


I recently had lunch with a friend who has enjoyed a highly successful career in residential real estate. It’s no secret that Michigan’s deep recession hit the housing industry particularly hard, which has resulted in a large exodus of salespeople and companies from the real estate business.

My friend, like others who have toughed it out the past few years, has worked harder than ever, selling more lower priced houses, which usually mean more work for less commission. I asked my friend what has been the key to her success in pulling through the tough times, which now finds her well-positioned for success going forward.

“I went back to the basics of what made me successful in the first place,” she said. “A lot of people don’t want to do that. Life gets easier and returning to those basics is often tough medicine for many to swallow.”

There is a valuable lesson in my friend’s intentional return to those nitty gritty fundamentals that led to her initial success, and has helped her survive when others gave up. Now may be a good time for you to consider a few steps that could add some renewed energy and success in your career.

Retreat and reflect. It is good for all of us to periodically set aside time to conduct a thorough review of our career. Consider a half-day planning session or a weekend retreat where you can seriously look at where you are and where you’re headed without interruption.

Are you true to your mission? Review your mission/vision statement. Are you living it? Does it need to be revised or are some of your daily activities contrary to your mission? What changes need to be made?

What made you successful? Consider those core values and characteristics that have contributed to your success. Have you wandered from them? Is there a need to get back to the basics in your own career?

Commit to the x’s and o’s. Consistently executing the fundamentals is essential to success. Sometimes the basics aren’t as glamorous as other parts of the job. It’s easy to take their execution for granted. That’s when slippage occurs. That can be a cancer on your career, growing unnoticed until it is out of control. Blocking and tackling wins games. Commit (or recommit) to it!