High mortgage rates, inventory shortage, sales slowdowns … there are several macro factors haunting housing right now. To dispel fears about the future of the real estate market, we spoke to a leader who has thrived on change for over 25 years: Mike Miedler, the President and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate.
“There will always be things outside of our control,” Mike says. “Just when we think we have it figured out, the direction of the wind changes. But it’s up to us to adjust the sails and turn volatility into opportunity.” This approach is clearly working for the CENTURY 21® brand — in his five years at the helm, the CENTURY 21 brand remains the most recognized name and the most respected in the real estate industry1.
But how does one do this as an individual? “You have to shift to a growth mindset,” Mike says. “Whether your ambition is to be a top agent or lead a winning team or your own brokerage, start thinking like a leader of tomorrow, today. It’s the way to succeed not just in business, but in anything you do in life.”
Mike’s own career is a living example of the power of a growth mindset. Starting with Century 21 Real Estate in 2009 as a real estate adviser, he kept moving and leading from the front across different areas — operations, brokerage growth, brand development and market share strategy. He rose the ranks from VP to Senior VP to Chief Growth Officer before becoming the President and CEO in January of 2019. So, what keeps him going? “This has always been a business of human connection and community,” he says. “As real estate professionals, we make a real impact on people’s lives, guide them in the most important investment they’ll make in a lifetime. That gives me energy.”
We saw this energy for ourselves as Mike spoke with the C21® affiliated agents and brokers at the brand’s Leadership and Top Agent conferences in Miami earlier this month. He challenged attendees, saying, “To lead with purpose, you must live, breathe, believe in it and communicate it constantly … Setting a human tone while also driving results has to start with your actions.” He exuded positivity and genuine curiosity in all his interactions, from a barista at a café to a broker from Illinois who recently became part of the C21 network. Even as he leads initiatives and meetings, Mike actively listens and learns from the professionals he meets throughout the C21 global network. Reflecting on his role, he says, “It gives me a unique lens to watch, follow and witness great leadership moments.” Based on his years in the field and in the front office, he’s noticed a pattern of habits in those who continue to succeed in any market.
In Mike’s own words, here are the four habits of growth-driven leaders — and the real-world examples of those who embody them:
- Managing time and energy: “Edna Kimble from Tahlequah, OK, was our No. 1 REALTOR® in the C21 system for units in 2022 among nearly 145,000 affiliated agents! In 2022, she sold about 280 homes. That’s about one every business day! If you ask her how she did it, she’ll say time management is critical. Not just to block out dedicated hours for business, but also to make time to take care of yourself, work out, be with your family. And through it all, being present in the moment.”
- Always be learning: “Jessica Beggins Houston is a third-generation CENTURY 21 affiliated agent in Tampa, FL. For the past several months, she has been diligent about learning and leveraging the MoxiWorks® products suite to be more effective and efficient in marketing and managing her listings. Whether it’s technology and AI tools, or the latest financing options, or trends in the market, you have to keep educating yourself. As the market keeps changing, it’s how you build your self-confidence and work smartly.”
- Build trust and connection: “Create a network of high-performing colleagues that collaborate and inspire each other to go farther. Adam Oberski from Northville, MI leads a team of 250 affiliated agents and is always pushing them to improve their health and fitness. When you get people to set goals together and be better, it also motivates them in business.”
- Improve your community: “The advisors who have the most longevity and loyalty are those who truly treat their customers like family. Like Ted Dawson, one of the top brokers in Jackson Hole, WY for over 20 years. A few weeks ago, he sold a property for $15M. But I know he treats every single customer with the same authentic care, even one who’s buying a $25K lot. And he continues to serve his community, from shoveling snow from the roofs of seniors, to cutting his long hair for Locks of Love. Leaning into inclusion is a key driver to grow your community, and it’s also smart for business.”
And even as the real estate market ebbs and flows, we can be assured of one universal constant — the need to be home. “People will always strive to be homeowners. It’s the place you can feel comfortable in, and live your life’s most important and intimate moments,” says Mike. And shifting our perspective from houses to humans,” I recently read an NAR report that stated over the next two years, there are going to be 7 million new babies, 3 million marriages and 50 million job switches … our work of human connections happens around these moments. Real estate, like life, will continue to move the market forward.”