THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN EXCELLENT ORGANIZATION

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Orange County and next in Washington, D.C. where I had a chance to attend Long & Foster’s Company Executives and Senior Leadership Meeting. In September 2017, HomeServices of America, Inc. announced the acquisition of The Long & Foster Companies, Inc. According to the REAL Trends 500 report released that same year, Long & Foster ranked as the largest independent residential real estate brand by volume and the second-largest independent brand by units.

While my trip to Washington, D.C. confirmed the Long & Foster headquarters building is incredible, the team members I met with – business line presidents, C-level officers and regional managers for brokerage – are even more impressive. From supremely efficient management to incredible business results, Long & Foster defines what it means to be an excellent organization.

And with operational excellence comes growth. Today, the Long & Foster Companies represent 10,000 agents operating in 225 locations throughout seven states and in the District of Columbia. This year alone, Long & Foster Companies had more than 75,000 units sold and more than 100,000 nights rented in vacation rentals.

Part of this success can be attributed to talented leaders. Long & Foster Companies, Inc. is run by Jeff Detwiler, chief executive officer, an inspiring and forward-thinking leader, and the executive team includes: Boomer Foster, president, real estate; Gary Scott, president, real estate; Jackie Thiel, senior vice president of real estate operations; Tim Wilson, CEO of Prosperity Home Mortgage; Clint Mann, president, Urban Pace; Brian Schuckalo, president, new business ventures; Patrick Bain, president, property services; Mike Maddiex, president, Long & Foster Settlement Services; Bruce Enger, CFO; Barry Redler, CAO; and Lydia Martinez, CHRO.

Each Long & Foster leader is keenly tuned into his or her business and respective team members, and carefully measures success using specific metrics. (As Thomas S. Monson once said, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”)

In the spirit of reporting back, during the Executives and Senior Leadership Meeting, all leaders presented a recap of their year. Business presidents described their business, their responsibilities, strategic objectives, size and scope of the business, performance and budget. Regional managers spoke about the location and geography of their region, the number of offices and agents in their region, core services market share, competitors and recruiting areas of focus, including recruiting challenges and opportunities.

For me, listening to these detailed overviews was like receiving a veritable master’s degree in real estate. These leaders are just that good at what they do.

So, what’s the message? Operating with excellence doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of excellent leaders focused on developing sustainable strategies then executing on a plan to achieve all their Wildly Important Goals. When you lead with excellence you build with excellence, and that’s why Long & Foster Companies consistently prosper and grow.

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