1989 was a year of consolidation and growth in NSW. it was also the year when I was being invited to take a broader interest in the Queensland and Victorian operations. I was delighted to be asked to do this, as it meant there was recognition for what we had achieved in NSW.
The year started with a trip to the USA for the ERA conference and developed into a frenzy of activity.
My diary for this year, shows me crisscrossing the eastern States, almost weekly with management training, zone meetings, conferences and new office development.
The NSW conference in Canberra late in the first half of the year, was probably the first time I realized we were now approaching any level of business maturity in this state.
It was a year of triumphs and milestones; we had two major exclusive property Auctions at the Regent Hotel in Sydney. These were designed to place us as a major brand at the top end of the market and thanks to the drive and spirit of Tony, they went a long way towards achieving this goal.
Later in the year, I led a major delegation of over 30 offices from all states, to a property seminar in Hong Kong. This was a great exercise in the brand working together and using our combined strength. Results were hard to calculate but as a team building exercise it was a huge success.
Ian was responsible for sales training and new office development, Tony, was of course, leading our push as an Auction powerhouse and I was continuing to do a lot of Management training, in addition to my multiple roles as General Manager in NSW.
I came to look forward to your time in Sydney and the time we spent together at conferences in Victoria and Queensland. We were working well together and your support and encouragement when we encountered the inevitable setback was gratefully received.
Later in 1989, we achieved the milestone of 100 offices in the state of NSW and the average performance per office was continuing to grow.
It was sobering and joyful at the same time, to look back at what he had achieved in two short years.
Office numbers had more than trebled and total turnover per month was reflecting the growing maturity of many of the fledgling offices, now; growing market share within their individual marketplaces.
Hopefully, I had been able to not let the end of my marriage, affect the work I was doing. In fact I think I used a heightened workload to take my mind off things.
That Sas and I had managed to achieve this breakup with a maximum of goodwill, obviously also helped in this situation. I was happier than I had been for many years, the relationship with the kids was wonderful, Sas seemed to be happy, was starting to get on with her new life, and; my work was giving me enormous satisfaction.
Towards the end of the year you invited me to a Board meeting in Brisbane, the conversation inevitably turned to the progress in Victoria and what we could do to assist Myf.
Victoria had always been resistant to outside franchises and Myf was finding it hard to expand our base in that state.
Myffy was immensely important to me, she never refused an invitation to come to NSW to help us with our training and growth, she was the perfect person to add humanity to any business discussion and she had been a great support for me personally.
My objective in this discussion was twofold, we could not afford to let our presence fail in this State. That would make it virtually impossible to reestablish in the future.
Secondly, we had to find a way to move Myf back into the support and training role she did so well without making her feel her time in Victoria had been wasted. Her time in this State had certainly not been in vain, she had kept the ERA group together in Victoria through the turbulent changeover period and she had, had some success with office growth despite the perilous economic headwinds in Victoria at the time.
If we simply replaced Myf and moved her out of the state, that would be demoralizing for her and would possibly fracture the tenuous hold we had on this State.
“I will go to Victoria and work alongside Myf for a period, she can transition into a National Training role, with a move back to Queensland in her own time”
“Affy can take over as General manager in NSW but I will be available to support him in this role, as and when, I am needed. I will still want to be in NSW on a very regular basis for the kids”
Brian, I will never forget your words after I had spoken
“I have always thought you were mad, but now; you have just proven it!”
“Why would you give up what you have created in NSW to do this?”
I reiterated what I saw as the logic behind my thinking and after much discussion, I think we all agreed it made sense. Over the first few months of 1990 the wheels would be put in motion to make it happen.
I flew back to Sydney that evening, happy in my decision and determined to enjoy the new challenge I had just bequeathed myself.
Brian, your support for my mad suggestion meant the world to me, I was not to know it at the time, but this would prove to be a major turning point in our relationship.