Are you Agile?

“Collaborative productivity.” It’s the most important two words for your business success, but rarely discussed in the commercial real estate appraisal vertical. Its antonym, “isolation idleness” is a business failure recipe. It’s critical to create a collaborative office culture to change the way your valuation product is sold, developed and distributed. Create organizational purpose, even in an office of a few people. Move away from limiting thoughts like, “We just make appraisals, what else can we do?”

Agile, often associated with software development, can be applied to every aspect of your business. It’s a way of providing employees maximum flexibility, but perhaps more importantly, removes constraints. A flat organizational chart where employees start to understand each other, building trust. Determining what encourages, motivates or discourages. It provides a welcoming environment to participate, generating new ideas to satisfy the customer. It’s like therapy for your office.

Just like exercising, agile business is an ongoing office culture. It’s not a one and done concept. Its impact will be significant, but takes a lot of baby steps along the way. It presents itself as new processes, product development with the singular focus on the customer. Improved internal communication along with leveraging technology enables “best in class” customer service.

Agile concepts include being open to change, create new ideas frequently, work together, have face-to-face meetings, measure your progress, create organized teams and meet regularly. Be frank with one another. Discuss if your meetings are being effective and if they’re not, talk about how to make them better. Keep it simple.

For commercial appraisers, how do we satisfy the customer? Questions. Lots of questions. Understand what your particular client really wants. It’s best to do it face-to-face, grab a cup of coffee or lunch. Appraisal price and delivery timeframe are important but not the only deciding factor. Create a relationship to go beyond a superficial, two dimensional understanding of your client.

I’m happy that our employees are all “A” players. That said, when we first started implementing agile, our first meetings were initially met with, “I’m too busy to meet, what are we talking about, why?” Slowly, ever so slowly, new ideas were generated about how to satisfy the customer. It was amazing to experience ideation from open discussions about our bank appraisal workflow platform YouConnect and our commercial report writing and workflow applications DataComp, Edge and Manager.

Breaking down the silos of individual knowledge facilitated communication, idea generation and solutions. It’s fun to be agile. Do you think agile methodology would work at your appraisal firm? (The answer is always yes). Agile office culture is a journey not a destination. It’s a long-term attitude. Are you in it to win it? Be productive. Be successful. Be agile. Are you?

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