You were appointed to head up the newly merged Ray White and ERA groups. You came into this role with a strong background of success in the RW group and very firm ideas as to what constituted a good agency business.
Your disdain for what ERA had achieved was palpable and your understanding of battling businesses, struggling for cash flow without the advantages of a strong market presence, was unsympathetic.
On top of this, your dislike and antipathy towards Bob was obvious. All of these factors combined to make your introduction to the group less smooth than it may have been.
What you failed to grasp was the depth of culture and mutual support adversity had built, a full frontal attack on everything we liked about the group, was bound to create animosities and arguments.
As chairman of the southern NSW group and as a co-owner of the leading country business I was asked to intervene.
I arranged a meeting with you for a Sunday morning in Sydney, I left Wagga after work on Saturday for the long drive to Sydney, we met and you were inflexible to the point of arrogance.
The five-hour drive back to Wagga on Sunday afternoon was eventful, if only for the fact, that in my rage, I managed to pick up three speeding tickets!
When Affy and I spoke on Monday, we seriously considered leaving the group. We didn’t do this, because our departure at that stage would have precipitated the demise of the network and we felt a sense of responsibility to stay and fight.
Over the next six months you and I were to have many fights, my dislike for you softened to a grudging respect and we worked together much better that I would have first anticipated.
Because of our isolation, the changes were easy to ignore if we did not like them, while the affiliation with the strength of the Ray White network in Queensland; added another weapon to our marketing armory.
It would be wrong to say you and I grew close over these months but we managed to walk our respective lines and our differences became more civil.
Affy and I continued to build our business and unbeknownst to almost everyone, Sas and I were working on saving our marriage.
The end of 1984 saw our business in good shape, we had three salespeople working with us and the future was looking brighter.
These were good times, we had good friends, there were unresolved issues in my marriage but at least there was honesty and, the partnership between Affy and I was healthy and strong.
I did learn from you Michael and I do thank you for many of those lessons, it was through you I gained the courage to find my voice.
Your commitment to brutal honesty rubbed off on me in ways you would not know.
There was one other thing I learnt Michael, I learnt that doggedness must be tempered with humanity.