My path to the world of commercial real estate has been an interesting one. As a successful entrepreneur, I learned firsthand how difficult it is to run a growing small business in a competitive market and challenging economy. Managing over 100 employees, dozens of clients and the day-to-day operations of a multimillion dollar company required discipline, determination and focus in order to achieve success. Throughout my time as a business owner, I relied heavily on my many years of experience in the Telecommunications industry, working with executives and managers of Fortune 500 companies like Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and Global Crossing Limited. The lessons I learned from those interactions taught me the importance of aggressive yet judicious decision-making in order to keep my clients and projects at the cutting-edge of technology and profitability.
I joined Coldwell Banker Commercial (CBC) because I wanted to work with a world-class organization and industry leader. I thrive on being surrounded by motivated professionals who see themselves as the best in their field; the camaraderie and friendly competition at CBC keep me motivated and at the top of my game so that I can offer my clients the very best in professional CRE services.
5 Fundamental Principles of Success
Over the years, I have often faced the prospect of learning a new business and/or joining a new organization. In most cases, I quickly learned that things were done a “certain way” and that change and innovation were not “appreciated.” I quickly realized that people had become “comfortable” and that “keeping the status quo” was more important than trying to “change the game.” This type of attitude has always made me uncomfortable. I truly believe that issues and problems are opportunities to differentiate myself and my organization from the competition; developing new approaches to evolving challenges is the lifeblood of excellence.
These experiences were critical in the development of my personal approach to success. In each new situation, I began to realize that my approach to overcoming institutional inertia had 5 common elements—each based on a fundamental belief that success is directly related to passion, empathy and a sharp focus on doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
Understanding and Empathy
People have different backgrounds and experiences—family, education, ethnicity, and culture. In addition, work experience varies widely for each person. These differences create obstacles in the communication process, often in the form of “listening filters” and predispositions. When someone is explaining a problem or desire, we may “hear” something quite different from the intended meaning. This disconnect is usually unintentional, but the consequences can be severe.
I have found that this type of disconnect can be avoided by fervently trying to understand all parties in a conversation and empathizing with their situation. According to Psychology Today, “Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.” For most people, it takes a lot of practice to develop this ability. For me, it is still a work in progress. But I have discovered that being focused on empathizing with my associates and clients gives me a much greater chance of reaching consensus and achieving success.
Never Dismiss an Idea as Too Small or Too Crazy
Have you ever been involved in a discussion and had a great idea but were afraid to share it because you feared rejection? Or worse, you shared it and your fear was realized? This situation is all too common in companies and organizations around the world. I have spent a significant portion of my professional career encouraging people to embrace their creativity and share it with their organizations. Although some ideas will be rejected (some with less than kind words), the resulting feedback and personal growth is invaluable—for you and your organization.
As a business owner, I have found that clients and customers often have great ideas. By actively listening and applying sound business principles to those concepts, I have frequently been able to incorporate their ideas into a successful market deployment. And even if the ideas cannot be directly utilized, the resulting positive energy from the interaction is priceless.
Be Someone that People Can Trust
Over the years, I have observed too many business transactions where trust was either misplaced or abused. From these encounters, I have developed an appreciation for the Russian proverb “Doveryai, no proveryai” (“Trust, but verify!”). While this is certainly a prudent approach, I have often lamented the need for this skepticism—are honesty and integrity too much to ask for when conducting business? In a 1990 article in the Harvard Business Review, Amar Bhide and Howard H. Stevenson wrote, “There is no compelling economic reason to tell the truth or keep one’s word—punishment for the treacherous in the real world is neither swift nor sure.” Unfortunately, there is far too much evidence over the past 25-plus years to support their conclusions. But I have spent my entire professional career committed to the proposition that good business can be done with honesty and integrity. And while I may have left a few dollars on the table along the way, it is a small price to pay for the positive referrals and strong business relationships I have gathered in the process.
Know More Than the Other Guy
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression. “People do business with people”. The gist of this expression is that a profitable business is built on strong relationships with clients, vendors, investors, and so forth. While I wholeheartedly agree with this fundamental business principle, I also know that every business has to have a solid group of people who are intimately familiar with the core competencies that make that company great. These “brainiacs” are the heart of the organization; the “secret sauce” that gives the company a competitive edge over the rest of the market.
With that in mind, I have made it my business to know my business at each stop in my professional career. Even while running a company with over 130 employees, I made sure that my scope of knowledge with respect to the regulations, rules and technology that powered and governed my business was unimpeachable. All the while, never losing sight of the big picture, or making sure that our clients were happy with our services.
It might seem odd, but I rarely set goals for myself. Rather, I tend to focus on the processes and systems that I think are necessary to achieve the results that I want. What’s the difference? According to James Clear (http://jamesclear.com), “Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.”
Committing to a process is the hard part for most people. Because it isn’t always “fun” and it definitely isn’t “sexy.” Few people know that the great presentation you gave was the result of staying up late for two weeks to conduct research and write/rewrite multiple rough drafts. There aren’t many “attaboys” when you are at the gym before dawn four days a week as part of your fitness regimen. So why should you commit to the hard work of a system/process when the only seeming reward is a daily grind of repetition and monotony?
The answer is subtle yet incredibly powerful. It reveals itself over months and years of commitment and hard work consistently applied to systems and processes that yield tangible results. Much like compound interest in a savings account, a results-based system will create cumulative momentum that ultimately leads to positive outcomes—sometimes what you intended and sometimes not, but always something that moves the ball forward in a positive way.
Throughout my professional career, I have adhered to systems that allow me to grind through the daily challenges of running a project, organization or business in order to create successful outcomes. In fact, over the years, I have learned to appreciate the process even more than the results.
What Does This Mean for You as My CRE Client?
It means that your transaction will be handled with the care, focus and attention to detail that it deserves. Your deal will be researched, cross-referenced and analyzed using sound business principles and presented in a straight-forward and unambiguous way. And, of course, I will make sure that your transaction is completed as quickly, efficiently and favorably as the market allows.
As your CRE agent, I will apply these principles to your real estate projects. I will focus on the details—the “nitty-gritty”—so that the outcome will take care of itself. When normal people are relaxing and enjoying some well-deserved time off, I will be doing what I do best—working the system to get you the best deal possible.
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