What’s in Your Bucket?

“I’m like a fighter before the fight in the dressing room. I try to go to sleep early on a Sunday night because I can’t wait for Monday, because I get to put my jersey on.” Is that how you think about your work come Monday? Gary Vaynerchuk, a Belarusian American entrepreneur and internet guru thinks this way. His speech presented at a local entrepreneurial event was almost evangelical to his audience, seemingly hanging on his every word. He’s also known as taking his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million. One of his passions is to communicate the message that the Internet continues to present enormous opportunity for everyone, as long as you are willing to work hard, really hard.

You might consider how you and your firm fit within what I call the 3 Bucket Project. In the first yellow bucket, are all the things in your business that need to be addressed immediately. These are the things that are truly broken, costing you money, clients and reputation. These are the things that irritate you, keep you up at night.

The second bucket is where most of our business issues lie, things that could be done better. For commercial appraisers this might include comp management, report writing automation and workflow management. If Gary walked into your appraisal firm, what would he say? The following Mr. Vaynerchuk quotes might be an indication.

  1. “Stop focusing on dumb &$#@.”
  2. “Ideas are worthless without the execution; execution is pointless without the ideas.”
  3. “You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.”
  4. “Skills are cheap, passion is priceless.”
  5. “Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do every day for the rest of my life…do that.”

Many appraisers probably live in the yellow and green buckets, feeling that there has to be a better way than plowing through old Word reports looking for comps, manually typing comps into their Excel adjustment grids and managing their firm without software. It’s interesting to note that our biggest competitor is actually Microsoft, commercial appraisers using Word and Excel as their “appraisal system” and Outlook for “managing.”

That brings us to the third and most important blue bucket, new ideas – innovation. If you do a good job in the yellow and green buckets, I guarantee it will generate new ideas to fill up the blue bucket. Innovation comes in different packages, many are small procedural improvements that when taken collectively, can result in a substantial increase in office productivity. A quick bucket performance test is to calculate your hourly wage from the trainee to the MAI. Be honest in your math as to the true number of hours you work.

The real mojo is the office-wide implementation of your blue bucket solutions. To benefit from the 3 Bucket Project you need to keep your eye on Mr. Vaynerchuk’s above quote about execution. These are your buckets to improve. Little secret; these three buckets will be with you the rest of your career. Also, you might want to consider using them personally since relationships would likely share some of the same concepts.

Mr. Vaynerchuk cites that new emerging technology and online platforms put pressure on established sectors to remain relevant. He suggests instead of fighting these changes treat them as opportunities for innovation and growth. Your skills as a commercial appraiser still matter. Entire industries rarely die off due to tech disruption. Rather technology allows the A-player to win the game because they can deliver and communicate their skill set to more people than ever before. What’s in your buckets?