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Gray companies going blonde

Real estate leaders reveal ins and outs of driving change

SAN FRANCISCO – Driving change at an established company takes a commitment to the vision and a willingness to cut loose those who are resistant. These were some words of advice given by a panel of real estate leaders here Thursday. "The toughest thing about change in an established older company is that the people who don't change have to go," said Parker Kennedy, chairman of the First American Corp. "You have to go through a gut-wrenching process in doing this." As the head of a 116-year-old family business, Kennedy knows first-hand what it's like to present new ideas to a group of employees who aren't always willing to share the enthusiasm or vision. First American recently underwent a major technology change, Kennedy said, and along the way the company ended up losing a bunch of good employees. Kennedy's comments came during a panel discussion Thursday morning at Real Estate Connect 2005, a real estate technology conference. He and five other industry leaders from well-estab...