How James Shaw Turned COVID Uncertainty into a Welcoming Virtual Community

March 31, 2021

James Shaw

March 2021 marked a full year since COVID changed everyone’s world. In those first few dizzying days, James Shaw was traveling the world teaching SHIFT. As he made his way home from Mexico before travel was banned, he pondered his next move. How was he going to reach people and help them, as he’d done over his 16-year career as an in-person trainer and team leader with Keller Williams? 

Related reading: One Year After Lockdown, 10 Associates Reflect on the Most Valuable Lessons They’ve Learned

If he was nervous and anxious about what was ahead, he realized other people were likely in the same boat. Shaw has long lived by the motto that you don’t have to be smart, but you must be resourceful. So, he started dusting off Gary Keller’s books – which he returned to time and time again for sage real estate (and life) advice. “I knew our people were going to need help,” Shaw shares. “Quite frankly, I know the SHIFT book so well because I’ve taught it so much. So I made a plan to do a call every morning to give people simple tactics they could use that very day.”

How It All Began

As shutdowns had people spending ample time in their homes, Shaw recognized the value in online communities, and partnered with other KW leaders to bring a sense of community at the forefront of the real estate industry. And so, the Pivot: Shift Ahead Facebook group was born. The group is open to anyone in real estate, regardless of brokerage affiliation. In the past year, Shaw has poured into the group on a daily basis through livestream conversations about surviving and thriving in a downturn and nurtured it to more than 82.5K members. He established the group to be a resource for all real estate agents during this unique season. From daily calls, to book clubs, scripts, insights, strategies, and shared files, documents, and best practices, agents have a plethora of resources to sift through in order to move their business ahead.

The Impact of Community

While Shaw comes forth with a servant heart and expects nothing in return, his work has not gone unnoticed, and he was awarded the Bob Carter Inspirational Award by KWRI – an award offered yearly to an inspirational member of the Keller Williams family. Perhaps the most inspirational aspect of arming a group of tens of thousands of agents with encouragement, networking, inspiration, and strategy 365 days per year is the fact that Shaw doesn’t do any self-promotion within the community. “There’s no ulterior motive here. I’m just taking valuable information and getting it out to people,” he says. 

Pivot: Shift Ahead Day 1

Part of his passion is to help agents realize that there is great strength in community and resource sharing. And, agents are responding to the message. Between a live audience and video replays, daily livestreams average 2,400 views. On the one-year mark of the group’s founding, members posted sentiments about how the early morning call has bolstered their confidence and set a tone of success during these challenging days. 

One agent shares, “What a fabulous lesson I have learned about the power of turning pages again! SHIFT, MREA, and The ONE Thing have been transformed into the manuals necessary for our success.” Another adds, “When the world was turning upside down, James brought together a group of strangers that had a growth mindset. We prayed, cried, laughed, shared and cared our way through this pandemic. This group is amazing.” 

Shaw sees Pivot: Shift Ahead as a microcosm of Keller Williams’ incredible culture of growth and hopes that it emboldens agents to cultivate strong community in their cities, towns, and communities to make an impact right where they are. And his incredible vision and leadership has helped agents achieve just that. Within the group, one agent shares how the resources available to her allowed her to launch her own YouTube channel, reach for a different role within her leadership team, and broaden her thinking by listening to Think Like a CEO and reading The ONE Thing. 

Building Community in Your Environment

Shaw says a community like Pivot: Shift Ahead comes down to two crucial things. It must:

  • Give people hope.
  • And inspire and promote progress.

An agent is often the first person that most homebuyers ever meet. When they move into a new area, be the connector and show them opportunities within that community. Here are a few ways you can use the Pivot: Shift Ahead model to connect people together in your own town or city:

  • Build a conversant and interactive group around your ZIP code using Facebook, Instagram, or other social apps.
  • Schedule a recurring call to talk to community leaders.
  • Promote small and local business owners to the community. 
  • Highlight community events.
  • Share inspirational and success stories.

Shaw adds, “Now you’re creating something. You’re giving others hope. You’re inspiring and promoting progress.” 

To jump into the exciting conversation and be part of a like-minded community, join the group and fuel your growth.

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