RE/MAX has been on a roll with solid first-quarter 2021 earnings results, the successful rollout of its First app, and the completion of its largest franchise acquisition in company history. With that in mind, RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos said the company is on track to have one of the best years since its founding in 1973.
“[Our earnings] says a lot about the quality of our franchisees, the quality of the agents they recruit, the quality of our tools and services, and most importantly, the quality of the customer experience you can expect from REMAX globally,” he said in May during an earnings call. “That momentum continues today, and we look forward to sharing more good news as 2021 proceeds.”
So, how does Contos manage leading one of the nation’s oldest and most recognizable real estate brands? It all comes down to choosing the weight of discipline over the weight of regret.
“We face two kinds of pain in life,” he told Forbes contributor and Corporate Competitor podcaster, Don Yaeger, on Wednesday. “We face the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. So many people get through life, and they start looking back and have this pain of regret of not opening their eyes and saying, ‘I’m going to face that pain of discipline,’ of subjecting yourself to finding out what being successful means.”
Contos said his experience as a Marine and Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) leader prepared him to take the helm at RE/MAX and create a culture where discipline, collaboration and enthusiasm are key.
“Most people overlook the inner quality of enthusiasm, which is what accumulates over time in a Marine,” he explained. “Why do you run up a hill while somebody’s trying to shoot you or blow you up? It’s because you have that enthusiasm for supporting the person next to you.”
“You’re going to go out there and do it regardless of what anybody says,” he added.
More specifically, Contos said his business strategy comes down to three things: prioritizing people over processes, using success as a stepping stone and recruiting people to fit your culture.
“Too often, leaders are worried about the internal rate of return, growth opportunity, or future valuation of a company,” he said of RE/MAX’s acquisition, merger and partnership strategy, which has focused lately on bolstering the company’s technology offerings. “They forget to look at the people. The numbers are ancient history. It’s the people who get you where you want to go.”
When choosing which people to partner with, Contos said it’s important to select those who already align with your company’s culture. The CEO said he gravitates toward people and companies that have a collaborative mindset and prize collective success as much as personal success.
“There’s no synergy among the all-stars, no culture,” he told Yaeger. “The same is true for business. You can go out and find the highest performers in your business, but if they’re in it for themselves, if they are Pro Bowlers but not team players, your organization will lack a heart and soul—that great balance between personal accountability and shared purpose that binds a team together.”
Lastly, Contos said the final key to longevity and success is resisting the urge to rest on your laurels.
“You’re always trying to get better and trying to give more to those around you,” he said. “I’ve never felt in the least bit the feeling that, ‘Tada! I’ve made it! I’m a CEO!’ I’m not done. I don’t think I’ll ever be done.”