The One Holding the Gavel

Holding the Gavel

My son, Collin, is going through a phase right now. Not all that unusual for a kid his age. His sister went through it too. And though it’s somewhat predictable, it’s no less frustrating. They often say it’s the “terrible twos” but trust me when I tell you that, the twos have nothing on the three-and-a-halfs. Whoa boy!

Everything is a debate. A clash of wills.

Simple requests and hints of instruction are often met with fierce opposition, as he wrestles for control. Ask him to turn off the movie and grab his shoes … ask him to let you help with something … eat his breakfast … come inside or slide down the slide just one more time … And his response is predictably irrational.

He’ll crease his brow. He’ll fold his arms across his chest. He may stomp the other direction. Maybe find a corner to hide in. He’ll likely proclaim,

“THIS …. IS …. NOT …. FAIR.” 

The kid is not a fan of being told when or how to do things. His idea is always the better one. On one hand you have to respect his desire for independence — something we do not want to “parent” out of him. On the other, you wish he’d appreciate that Kristin and I are only trying to set standards of harmony for the family.

But it’s a phase and we all go through them. Someday his ornery three year old will repay the favor. Life always seems to play itself out with ironic clarity.

Life always seems to play itself out with ironic clarity.

In fact, I experienced one such moment this week.

I’m currently exploring the opportunity of bringing a brand new agent onto my team at Three Pillars Realty. I’ve talked about “growing” for a while but haven’t felt pressed to make any big moves just yet. I emphasize “pressed” because this particular opportunity was one that came knocking on my door, versus one that I went looking for.

Often it takes a nudge just like that, to push us off of the fence and get us moving in one direction or another.

He and I sat down about six weeks ago. I lined out a process that I asked him to walk through, before we’d meet again. Unlike some real estate brokerages, whose business models are predicated on amassing the largest volume of licensees, I want to ensure that I am growing with the right people. And in the right direction.

He emailed last Friday to inform me that he’d “finished reading the book,” the last of my initial requests. We set a meeting for this morning, which signified it was my turn to step up to the plate again and lay out the next round of “agreements.”

I had a momentary flashback to a little over a year and a half ago, when I left Coldwell Banker to explore a partnership with another broker.

I’ve written about it before and won’t stir up all of the details. At the time, one of the things that irked me was his insistence that I read through and agree to his stringent “Policies Manual.” A packet of paperwork and disclosures that ran about 50 pages deep.

I remember thinking to myself, “Really … this is part of the reason why I left the other place …” You couldn’t sneeze without filling out some kind of germs disclosure. [I kid, I kid. But it felt like that some times.]

He and I went back and forth for weeks, working on different arrangements. Him trying to maintain “control” of the standards he’d constructed for his business and me trying to wrestle back my newly-found “independence.”

What can I say, much like Collin, I don’t particularly care for being told how to do things, especially when I have my own ideas.

Flash forward, here I am, now sitting on the other side of the table. I can’t help but appreciate the thought that must have gone into a 50-page document of standard operating procedures. In hindsight, I recognize it wasn’t so much about being “parented,” as much as it was about protecting an asset, a brand and a reputation.

In fact, that manual was the first place I turned this week, looking for some guidance. A place to start. I suppose like the inevitable graduation from childhood to adulthood and then parenthood, it’s a cycle every business owner must go through.

And it was a prescient reminder to be careful what you deem “unfair” because one day you could very well be the one holding the gavel. 

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Ryan France

Ryan France is a native of Austin Texas, father of two, super-early riser, avid reader, admitted podcast junkie & bulletproof coffee addict. In a past life, France was an aspiring professional baseball player. Today, Ryan is an entrepreneur, author and relentless innovator of the real estate industry. Read more on the "Who is Ryan?" page.