It turns out the same things that make a good football coach, make a good realty leader, too.

by Steve Murray, publisher

A few weeks back, my wife and I took a vacation on a riverboat in Europe. While on the boat, I met a man who was hugely successful foot-ball coach for a successful collegiate program. Proving that one can learn something at any time, we had a conversation about what he thought made his programs successful (at two separate major colleges over 20+ years). Here is what he shared.

The most important behaviors for leading people, in my opinion, are just two simple things listening carefully – really listening – and confirming what was discussed, whether you reached an agreement or not. He said in all his years working with coaching staff and players; these were by far the two most important reasons for his success and that of this teams.

It was also interesting to hear him say that quite often he would recruit a player who starred at one position in high school but turned out excelling at an entirely different position at the collegiate level. He said that when recruiting top players, it is just as important to look at their character, drive and willingness to work as a part of the team as it is to look at their particular skills. When he talked about these key players, he said some of his best teams were made of young men who played positions other than what they had previously starred in but who, through their character and leadership skills, caused other players to want to play with them and around them.

Given his success over a long period at a very high level, I listened carefully. Reflecting on that, I recall some of the research we have done at REAL Trends about what causes some firms to outperform others over long periods of times through good markets and tough times. It seems that it all lines up. What makes for great college football coaches also makes for great realty leaders.

Listening and confirming what was said and follow through on commitments are what make great organizations. The words vision, trust, communication, empowerment and support may sound like gobbledygook from a consultant’s handbook, but everywhere we look we find that they are the cornerstone of great organizations.

The financials, numbers and ratios only measure the output of an organization and not necessarily the key inputs into how an organization got successful. I am convinced that the how comes down to the key interpersonal skills of an organization’s leaders.

One last note – assuming the coach was right, recruiting talent for your brokerage, especially at the management level, may mean you look outside our industry for the kinds of talent that will drive success in the future. It could be that we find talented people who have led other sales organization. Also, that we structure realty firms around talent wherever we may find it.^

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


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