How do we learn?

If my first experience eating a seafood platter is anything to go by, I can tell you for certain I learn by watching those around me.

I learned my phone technique from the fabulous people I saw around me every day when I worked on my first real estate reception at age 15 (thanks Nat and Janelle).

I learned basic web design from watching my first business partner (thanks Andrew).

I still learn every day how to be a better property manager by watching and working with three of the greatest (thank you Megan, Bella and Laurel).

My point… there’s no point telling your team to work one way if you’re going to demonstrate another in front of them. You will not have your new staff following systems correctly if your senior staff don’t set the example, you will not have fearless sales people when it comes to cold calling if the culture in your office says that it’s terrifying to pick up the phone and call a stranger and you will not have happy staff if you’re an unhappy leader.

And  along with observation comes the verbal side of it – coaching after the fact to correct and refine.

Oh – and back to the seafood platter. I hadn’t eaten one before the age of about 19 and I really had no idea what I was doing. So rather than dig in I sat back for a few minutes and watched everyone else at the table. I saw how to handle a mussel, what to do with lobster and how to deal with fish bones.

I learned by watching.

However, being inexperienced in the world of seafood, I didn’t get it exactly right just from observation, as was proven to me when I was politely told that the bowl I was dipping everything into was the finger bowl!

But after a little verbal coaching I was back on track and have never looked back.


Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books (her latest release is ‘Retired at 27, If I Can do it Anyone Can’) and a passionate entrepreneur who started at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21. Currently Kirsty heads up the premium online copywriting site for real estate agents and is a co-director of Elephant Property in Launceston,Tasmania’s only boutique real estate agency purely for investment property owners. Kirsty’s other ventures are outlined at her website where you can also sign up for her newsletter.


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