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Best ways to retain great talent and stop people screwing you over

People often perceive people screwing them over in the wrong way especially when people become competitors. If you hold people back from becoming your competitor then you’re never going to be able to train other people to run your business so you can scale up. In this episode Rob explains 7 things you can do to retain people and reduce the number of people who will screw you over.

I’ve 7 things that I think will help you. But I think that they will be very useful, if you want to build partnerships, if you want to scale, if you want to leverage, if you want to grow without working harder, and longer, and getting more stressed out.

People, I believe, perceive people screwing them over, maybe in the wrong way. Let’s be honest. You’ve probably set up in competition against someone in the past, even though maybe, you’re defensive about them setting up in competition with you. Also, if you hold people back for fear of them screwing you over, then you’ll never train people to take over your operations, or even your strategy. You’ll never build leaders so that you can step back. You’ll never have growth in new markets. You won’t have collaborations, partnerships, et cetera. So, you kind of have to let go to grow.

But get it, letting go is hard, because you worried about people screwing you over. You worried about people making mistakes in your business, representing your brand badly. You worried that your customers and clients won’t want to deal with anyone else other than you. These are all the most common fears that entrepreneurs have. There isn’t an entrepreneur I’ve ever met that hasn’t had them.

I’m going to cover the 7 things. Then hopefully, they’ll help you grow, leverage, make more money, be more collaborative, stop having that massive fear of being screwed over, which will probably stop people screwing you over.

Before I do that, the reality, is, if you train enough trainers, some will leave. I’ve had many leave and set up Progressing Property. I’ve also had even more that have stayed. Last weekend, we did £600,000 in sales. And I wasn’t running any of the events. That’s not a bad weekend. That wouldn’t able to happen, no matter how well I’ve done my event.

I mean, I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people to get to that kind of level of revenue. Because 5 years ago, I was committed to training trainers, and doing weekly calls, and monthly trainings, and loads of follow-up on WhatsApp, and spending a decent amount of my time building systems, processes, content, trainers, an ascension plan, a vision, and helping them one-to-one, and one-to-group.

If you don’t train your staff to be the best, they’ll never be the best. And a lot of people fear training them to be the best, in case they leave. But do you want staff who don’t leave, but are no good, or staff who are great, but there’s a small risk that they may leave? In my experience, people who will leave and would have left, will probably leave, anyway.

You might as well have a really great affair with them. You might as well get 2, 3, or 5 years’ worth of making a load of money, and doing great things together, and then being proud that you helped springboard their career, and then letting them go and staying friends. And maybe, even becoming a partner or working together later down the line than supressed them like, keeping your hand on their head in the swimming pool so that they never really deliver or perform. I’ve  probably 4-5 trainers who are now competing directly with us. But I’ve made millions of pounds with them. Regardless of how it’s finished, I’m obviously very grateful for that.

1.  Understanding individual values

If you want to retain great talent it’s important to understand their values.  I used to think ah well, I can pay that staff member a commission, that will motivate them. Or, I could give them a day off, and that will motivative them. But in reality, each member of your team… Again, let me just reiterate. Is it staff? Is it affiliates? Is it promoters? Is it clients? It could be your business partner. It could be pretty much anyone you’re building in your team.

Each member of your team will have a different set of values. Some will be motivated by money. Some will be motivated by progression. Some will be motivated by recognition. Some will be motivated by time off. Some will be motivated by a life-blend of maybe, they want to pick up their kids and drop their kids off, and coming to work a little bit later, and leave a little bit earlier. Maybe, they value a Friday off, because seeing their family, or maybe they have long weekends.

When you understand the individual values, and what motivates an individual, then you can package together some kind of offer to them. For example, the staff benefits our team have, is a menu of 8. They choose the ones they want, rather than just giving people things that we perceive that they want, but they don’t necessarily like. Not everyone wants dental, but some do.

You kind of create a more unique plan for each member of your team. Then you understand their values. So, you know what motivates them. So, you do need to motivate them. You need to maybe, get behind them and get the most out of them. You have some tools to do that. The way you understand someone’s values, is pretty simple. You just ask them, what’s most important to you in your life?

2. Meet individual employment needs, and benefits, and quirks and isms

No. 2  is meeting their individual employment or partnership needs. Some people want exposure and brand. Some people are really focussed on money. Some people want to learn, while they earn. I know a lot of people who do joint-ventures in commercial property. They want to work with someone, and they want to learn as they do an investment into a development.

We assume individual employment needs or partner needs are what we would want, but they’re not. They want what they would want. It’s your job to find out what that is.

3. Have a very strong compelling vision

No. 3 then, is, a strong vision. Now, a strong vision will keep people motivated. They’ll be like this magnetic force moving towards something. So, people don’t really know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and where you’re going. As soon as it gets hard, or maybe, some of their individual needs aren’t getting met, they go, why they’re doing this. You’d probably said that to yourself, when you have a job, or you’ve got a bit lost in your life. Why am I doing this? When we know why we’re doing it, we can keep moving towards it, even when it’s hard.

You have to share that vision. My vision is to help as many people across the planet get better financial education. They’ll be able to start and scale their enterprises, and to learn more about money and financial management. And that’s a never-ending vision, because I’ve never going to reach 7 billion people probably, in my lifetime even though I’m going to keep on trying. There’s growth. There’s progression. And there’s clarity around that. My company, Progressive Property is helping as many people on the planet invest for freedom, choice, and profit. That’s very clear.

Having a strong vision, showing the future, and what it looks like, making it unique, compelling, magnetic, charismatic, having something special and different for you to all feel like a community, and even creating like a movement, a revolution to move towards, that is going to help you keep people for longer, and in harder times.

4. Progression, recognition, autonomy will keep people with you the longest

No. 4 then and there’s been a lot of research on this. I’ve talked to a lot of people who really know a lot about recruitment. People like James Caan, worth a lot of money. It’s pretty well recognised in the recruitment world, that the 3 things that will probably motivate and keep your staff, and your team, and your partners the most. It’s worth something like an extra 12 to 15 percent on money, i.e., you can get away with paying them a bit less, if you have all of these in place, are, PRA. That’s PRA, which is, progression, recognition, autonomy.

Progression, is, what’s the next step. Can I move sideways into a new role? Can I get promoted? Can I become partner/shareholder? Can I become Ops Manager, MD, CEO, Chairman, et cetera? Can I always grow? Can I learn? Have I got a training and development plan, a personal development plan?

That’s easy when you’re a massive corporation, that you kind of have to do that to retain staff, and you have the budget to do that. But when you’re a one-man band, which apparently about 70 percent of the UK businesses are one-man bands. Or, when you’ve not got that many staff, there’s no organisational chart, hierarchy and career progression plan for the next 25 years. You’ve to create that. You’ve to help them move into a new role, create new roles, when they outgrow their existing roles, and keep sharing the vision.

If you do this, your career can go to there. If you hit these targets, you can get commission. If you hit these targets, you can get profit share. If you hit these targets, you can maybe even get small shareholding. You can have maybe non-voting partnership rights. Then in the long, long run, maybe you can even become a partner or be a shareholder.

Recognition, that is, actually easy to do, but not easy to do, because it seems no matter how much you recognise people, they still need more recognition. When you recognise someone over there, someone over here gets forgotten and feels unloved.

But essentially, management by walking around, and complimenting people, and recognising things that people do, not in a gimmicky way, but genuinely picking things out that they do, or recognising them publicly and privately, because some people don’t like being recognised publicly. And some people, if you recognised them publicly, other people would be upset that they weren’t recognised publicly. But recognition goes a long way. We all like to feel important and significant.

Then autonomy, this is also huge. No one likes to be micromanaged. A couple of wise people said essentially this, and there’s a lot of wisdom in this very short 3-step saying, and that is:

  • Find great people
  • Give them slightly too much to do
  • And get out of the way. Let them do it

And most people are finding not so great people, either not giving them enough to do, or giving them way too much to do. Then they’re getting in their way all the time, or micromanage them. Why have a dog and bark yourself?

Autonomy, is, find great people. Do everything you can to keep them. Give them just too much to do, because very productive, smart, intelligent, genius type people they like a bit too much to do. They don’t have enough to do, they’re going to cause chaos. Deadlines, targets, and then get out their way. Let them do it.

5. Have a very good contract

No. 5  is a little bit more technical, but it’s important. Have a bloody good contract. Now, if you have a good consultancy agreement, speaker agreement, partner agreement, heads of terms, memorandum of understanding, employment contract, et cetera, where all the bases are covered, all the eventualities, all the things that could go wrong, all the penalty clauses, all the pawns.

If you have a really good contract, it’s going to be hard for you to break the rules, and them to break the rules. There’s going to be no lack of clarity. Everyone is going to understand what happens and when. If these people do leave, maybe you’ve got a nice long compete or maybe you’ve got some IP protection, you’ve got some of the brand ambassadorial boxes ticked so that you kind of covered, if things do go really wrong. You’d probably want a really good commercial lawyer for that.

6. You’ll lose some. So, don’t suppress them

No. 6  is not the easiest thing for people. But the paradox shift phases that you have to train people so well, that they could leave. And if you don’t train them so well, that they could leave, they’ll never be that great for you. But then when you train them so well, that they could leave, some of them leave.

I’ve changed my tune on this. Because in the early days, it used to piss me off. Let’s just be honest. I can sit here, and be all hippie, and positive, and have the grander view, and the moral high ground of training people, and them going, and I’m being so grateful that I’ve trained half the competition. Hey, look, I’ve launched people’s career. And I’m so grateful to have been part of their journey. That is true. I’ve tried to work on that in my mindset. But every now and again, it does piss you off, when you put time, resource, energy and money into someone, and they have buggered off.

But the reality, is, that’s going to happen. So, accept it. If you do everything you can to keep them, you’ve done everything you can to keep them. If you know that, then that’s nothing more that you could have done. There’s a very much zen-like quality in knowing that. But it’s also good to own the competition.

I mean, in the property training space, a lot of the speakers and trainers have been trained by us. We have that kind of ownership, if you like. It’s like the Yoda to the Luke Skywalker. And you’re always going to have that credibility.  I’d rather be involved in the competition, train the competition to a certain degree, be a mentor to the competition than someone else do that.

7. Make sure that they enjoy their time with you

No. 7 is really important. I don’t think it’s talked about that much. Just help them enjoy what they do. Do they like coming to work? Do they like being a partner of yours? Do you have a bit of a laugh? Is it fun what you’re doing, even when it’s hard? Is there good energy? Are you feeling like you’re doing something special together? Or, is it always a bit of a bind? Is it messy? Is it difficult? Is it always like a bit of a hard negotiation? I’m a big believer that people enjoyed being around you, coming to work for you, being a partner with you. If they enjoy that, then they’re going to do it more, and for longer.

People always say, don’t they, as soon as the funds stop, stop. I can see why they say that. So, keep it fun. Keep it interesting. Myself and Mark, my business partner, we do try and have a bit of banter in our meetings that we have with people. We try and get sort of relatively social, but not too social with some of our partners, and just hopefully, make it a bit of a fun journey for them.

And if you do all of that, you’ll retain great talent. But you’ll still lose a few. That’s always meant to be.


  • Understand the values of your team and give them things that will motivate them using your knowledge of their values. E.g. allowing them to leave early to pick up their kids. Find this out by simply asking them what is most important to them in their life.
  • Meet their individual employment/partnership needs, everyone’s will be different. E.g. some people want to learn as they earn. Find out what each member of your teams is and help them to get that.
  • Have a strong vision so people stay motivated and everyone has an end goal. It also gives people a reason to do what they’re doing, giving them a why. This can help to make your team feel like they are all well connected.
  • PROGRESSION, RECOGNITION and AUTOMANY. What’s the next step for your team members? Give them the recognition publically and privately for their achievements. No one wants to be micromanaged so let them do what they need to do in their own way.
  • Find great people, give them slightly too much to do then get out of their way to go do it.
  • Have a good contract so all bases are covered and there is no lack of clarity.
  • Train your team to the best as you can and if they do choose to leave and become competition, don’t stay angry at them even though it can be very annoying. Don’t burn your bridges with them as you could then have the credibility that you trained them.
  • Help your team enjoy what they do. If people enjoy being around you, being part of your team and coming into work then they’re going to stay for longer. They do say that when the fun stops, stop. So don’t stop the fun.


‘You have to let go to grow’

‘If you don’t train your staff to be the best, your business will never be the best.’

‘Recognition goes a long way.’

‘Why have a dog and bark yourself?’


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