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What do Google, Ray White and Harvard have in common?

By Nazih Abbouchi

Ray White is providing a world-class education to its franchisees by offering a global perspective on leadership skills and best practice.

After a successful launch last year with the real estate group’s corporate staff, Ray White last week welcomed its franchisees from around the country to the Ray White Leadership Academy at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park.

For the second year running, the workshop was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg. Ray White ran the workshop over three consecutive days.

The opportunity for Ray White franchisees to receive training from a Harvard professor came about after the White family had spent some years travelling to Boston, USA each winter, to spend a week learning from Mr Groysberg at Harvard Business School.

Speaking to Real Estate Business, Mr Groysberg said the biggest gift you can give in the 21st century is teaching best practice and skills.

“This is not only for real estate, but it’s true for academia, and banking, and many others,” Mr Groysberg said.

“You have people who are great producers, and then they become managers and leaders, and we don’t necessarily invest in that transition.

“Many of them continue to behave like producers, and that does not make them great managers, because now they are responsible for motivating others, keeping people engaged, and running a complete business from A to Z.”

Asked what makes a great leader, Mr Groysberg said that is the fundamental question that is asked even by multinational corporations such as Google.

“At Google, it’s Project Oxygen. When you work for a great manager, it’s like breathing oxygen, but when you work for someone who is not a good manager, it is suffocating,” he said.

“What [Google] comes up with on the management side is eight attributes. That’s what they use nowadays to train 5,000 of their managers. Their issue is – how do you take engineers and make them into managers?

“But a lot of this can be taught, and a lot of this has behaviours and practices associated with it. There are clearly some people who are better than others, but we can all become better at this. And that’s what their data shows as they implement these strategies. It has had a tremendous amount of results.”

Ray White director Dan White said his family have been students of Harvard Business School for six to 10 years collectively.

“It’s a wonderful way for us to observe the best practices around the globe in terms of leadership and management, and be able to bring that back to our company, and keep our company young, and changing, and growing.

“That’s what it gives us, an eternal source of energy and ideas and invigoration for us as a family and a group.

“We’re blessed with many fantastic leaders who want to continue learning and continue growing, and wanting to provide better opportunities for their people.

What better way to do that than to bring who we think is the best person in the world on this subject here to Sydney? It’s a pretty remarkable opportunity for our people.”


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