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Growth, technology and culture Harcourts' focus

Growth, technology and culture Harcourts' focus

13 February 2008: Growth, technology and a new "one team" culture will be the keys to Harcourts future success according to Harcourts International Ltd Managing Director Mike Green.

Opening the company's annual three day Business Development Workshop (BDW) for its Business Owners and Managers on the Gold Coast yesterday, Mr Green said that a continued focus on growth and new technology were imperative for the future success of Harcourts, along with the establishment of a new "one team" culture to underpin efforts to recruit and retain great people.

Already the largest real estate group in New Zealand and the fastest growing in Australia, Mr Green said Harcourts had achieved significant growth in the past 12 months and has ambitious plans to continue that trend.

"We now have 463 offices across seven countries, with more than 3500 sales consultants and a growing market share," he said. "In addition for the first time we've recorded more than $19.4 million in written sales within a 12 month period.

"This growth is a reflection of the quality of our organisation, the quality of our people, our systems and our culture," he said, going on to outline aggressive targets for further growth in the number of offices and sales consultants within Australasia and further afield.

Mr Green said the second key area of focus required for Harcourts future success was to continue to be at the leading-edge with technology.

"Harcourts is an industry leader in terms of our use of technology and we must continue to be at the forefront in order to provide our people and our clients with the best systems available.

"We're already planning enhancements to our websites in order to offer additional web 2.0 functionality to our clients, while for the benefit of our team we have a major technology development underway. These technology projects and others that follow are critical to ensuring we have a competitive advantage."

The third key area of focus for Harcourts involved an internal shift in the culture that would ensure Harcourts delivered exception service to its clients and recruited and retained great people, Mr Green said.

"I think we're all really proud of the Harcourts culture we've built to date, but in the current job market it's a huge challenge to recruit and retain great people, who in turn will deliver great results.

"So we need to ensure Harcourts is an incredible place to work and a key part of that is by working better together as 'one team' - Team Harcourts - from senior management and the corporate team right through to the staff who answer the phones in a Harcourts office."

Achieving this culture was key to achieving continued success and could not be left to chance, rather it would require "design", Mr Green said.

In closing, Mr Green said that while the United States economy appears to be going into a recession, driven in part by the sub-prime market crisis, and international sharemarkets are volatile, the "resources boom" in Australia and low unemployment rates on both sides of the Tasman should provide some "counter pressure".

"With such low unemployment comes rising wages and salaries along with an improvement in people's perceptions of their job security, which gives property buyers additional income and increased confidence respectively. Therefore I believe 2008, while unlikely to be as strong as previous years, will still be a solid year for real estate in our key markets."

Conference keynote speakers included: Nicholas Assef (an attorney turned investment banker, Nicholas is an international consultant currently working as Executive Chairman of Lincoln Crowne & Company); Peter Rollings (a veteran UK real estate professional currently Managing Director of Marsh & Parsons); Brigadier Barry Vryenhoek (former Deputy Chief of the New Zealand Army, now their General Manager of Corporate Services, the Army's most senior civilian role).


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