When it comes to Dogsled Racing, we have heard the expression that the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. The leader dog runs ahead of all of the other dogs, so in many respects that dog has to have some serious qualities, like strength, endurance and a clear vision. I was re-reading a recent article in Buffalo Business First (May 25 2023). It was the cover story and beautifully written by Tracy Drury. It discussed what it takes to find the right CEO for any given company. In it, Jonathan Dandes, Vice President of Rich Products, was quoted:
“Leadership style has changed from 10 or 20 years ago and is very different than the leadership style going forward. It is much more collaborative…The perspective needs to be broader and in many ways, it is culturally driven as opposed to merely subject matter driven.”
That being said, I remember something Merle Whitehead said to me years ago. Now Merle was definitely by all accounts, the wunderkind of his day in Real Estate in WNY. He ran an extremely effective and profitable Real Estate company and was one of the hardest working professionals I may have ever met. Oh, and he took the time to become the President of the Buffalo Niagara Association of Real Estate (BNAR.) Mr. Whitehead ultimately sold his company to a large competitor, and had a great and richly deserved payday and hopefully lives happily ever after even to this day.
Fast Forward: Joel Husvar, the Broker I have chosen to be affiliated with TODAY, reminds me so much of this bastion of Real Estate professionalism. I recognized his talents immediately as have so many others. Similarly, Joel has garnered the respect and admiration of his clients and peers, while building a very successful brokerage. Currently, Husvar Real Estate, is climbing through the ranks of the top 10 companies in all of the BNAR (out of nearly 300 companies) and likewise, Joel also served as the President of the BNAR. The difference is, he was the youngest person to ever have achieved this serious accolade. The youngest part may be what aligns him closest to that collaborative and cultural piece that our friend Mr. Dandes mentioned. I remember first noting how Joel used psychometric evaluations to build his firm making sure he had the right people with the right skill sets on his bus. (Merle used a similar, albeit, primitive instrument.) This allowed him to coach his agents based on their strengths not their weaknesses. For illustrative purposes, my strengths are supported by an incredible team of transaction coordinators. Their strengths are delving into the minutia and the settlement numbers, which I am good at. But admittedly, they are better at this than I am, since I tend to be more of a big picture person. This was smart business and I noticed none of the other brokerages were doing this. Why? Perhaps, because it costs money to do business this way, even though everyone benefits (especially the client). Most brokers would prefer to spend their money on marketing or lead generation. I think it is better business to invest in your personnel since everyone declares this is a “relationship” business. I was further intrigued when he brought in the entire staff to help with a really big project that involved renaming the company. I have never seen any broker do this. Historically, they would simply talk to key members of their management but never include the rank and file. Who cares what they think, right?
So what was it that my colleague Merle said to me? NO, I didn’t forget to tell you. I just wanted to give you some background, so here it is.
…..Ultimately, “People take a ticket on people.”
I took “a ticket” on Joel because I accepted that this was a guy who knew how to run a brokerage, and who had all of those soft skills so necessary today to work with the ever increasing cultural complexity that makes up the market today. So here is your takeaway….
The same thing will be true when you select your Real Estate agent. You will listen to them discuss the merits of their company. You may review their overall stats, but ultimately you will “take a ticket” on the agent because you know, like, and trust that they will get the job done for you today. And frankly it is different than it was 20 years ago.
Or in other words, “it’s not your fathers Oldsmobile.”
See you next time. Now where am I going to park this crazy dog sled?
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Hey, I wrote the book on Real Estate, literally.”
Author Brendan J. Cunningham is a New York Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, lead of the Platinum Team at HusVar Real Estate, as well as an accomplished writer, Shakespearean trained professional actor, and podcaster.
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