At our recent AFIRE (Awesome Females in Real Estate) Conference, Sherry Chris, the CEO and president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, delivered a powerful closing keynote rich in strategies that can help both leaders and agents improve their businesses and their personal lives as well.
Whether you are an agent who is the CEO of your own individual real estate business or someone who holds a leadership position in your organization, Sherry Chris has identified six leadership qualities that can help you to achieve your personal and professional goals more easily.
Chris believes that humility is being happy with yourself, being unassuming, and being unselfish. At the heart of humility is the willingness to share. In fact, the more you give, the more you receive in return. Chris advises to "Give openly, since 90 percent of the people with whom you share will never take action."
You are the boss of your own life. An important way to demonstrate commitment is by focusing on how you can help others. This means eliminating the blame game and focusing on what you can control rather than wasting your energy on events over which you have no ability to control or influence.
One of the best ways to increase your commitment is to work with a role model or a mentor. For example, if you were an executive at Realogy, you might look to Alex Perriello as a role model, although he probably wouldn’t have the time to mentor you. Mentors are not only role models, they also help you grow by providing specific suggestions on how to improve your life and/or your business. Mentors also hold you accountable. As Chris put it, "You’re never too old to find a new mentor."
Chris advises to "hire slow, fire fast." Leaders hold themselves and those that report to them accountable. They also look the part. There’s a certain "swagga" as Chris puts it. In other words, even when they’re sitting on an airplane or relaxing, the leadership quality in their behavior is always present.
4. Core values
Chris says that the core values at her company can be summarized by the acronym "PAIGE": passion, authenticity, innovation, growth, and excellence.
"Passion" means loving what you are doing whether it’s work or leisure. Ideally, your work and your personal life flow together seamlessly. This is what supports you to be "passionate about life."
"Authenticity" refers to doing what you say you will do. In other words, who you are on the outside matches who you are on the inside; no matter where you go or whom you deal with, you show up as the same person.
"Innovation" doesn’t necessarily refer to technology, since technology is nothing more than a tool. What matters is the ability to be contemporary, to think outside the box. Innovation doesn’t necessarily have to mean disruption. Instead, it can be something that you integrate into your business as part of its natural growth.
"Growth" starts with your values. Growth must be strategic, well planned, and in alignment with all that you do. By way of contrast, growth at any cost is a mistake.
"Excellence" doesn’t come from being twice as good as anyone else. Excellence means doing it a little bit better or doing it differently from someone else. For example, when you check into the Ritz Carlton, the person at the front desk will greet you by name. The bellman notes the name on your luggage tag and phones the front desk to let them know you are arriving. This little extra makes the guest feel special; the result is a major competitive advantage.
Chris is always innovating. She loves finding something new, helping people get started, and then moving on to something else. For example, she liked the idea of real estate boot camps and was one of the first people to become involved as a sponsor for these events. She also recommends that you look outside the real estate industry for new ideas and models that can help you to grow your business.
Your reputation is priceless. Every year, all Realogy employees are required to attend a mandatory ethics class. This helps to create a culture where doing the right thing matters. Individuals who have high personal integrity create a culture and a company that has high integrity as well.
Chris also had several additional recommendations as well. First, never get yourself into a situation that you wish you had not started. In other words, be careful where you commit your time and your energy. Before leaping into a conflict, ask yourself whether this entanglement is something that you will regret several months from now.
Finally, Chris boils down her recommendations for courageous leadership to four things:
(1) Do the best you can. (2) Profit. (3) Help others. (4) Share ideas.
If you want a happier personal life and a more productive business, these recommendations can help you go far in achieving your goals.