I’ve worked in this business for over 15 years. From being an assistant, a broker, a manager and an executive. They say if you really want to know your field inside out, work in all facets of it. Being the only son of a mother who is a successful and highly respected relator in the luxury markets of Montreal, and a father who has always believed in real estate by investing in properties in and outside of the country, you could say my fate was determined at birth.
I remember when I was younger, I would go to my mother’s office and spend time with her and the other realtors. Back then, there was no formal MLS, no social media, no technology to speak of. Realtors had to work together to make deals happen. The relationships they had, both with clients and colleagues, actually mattered. You knew who the most successful brokers were because they were always exhausted, having to physically and continuously take the time to be face to face with their clients. Truthfully it was a glorious time.
Enter technology. Enter the internet. Enter social media. Enter the era of corporate culture in real estate.
Corporate culture in real estate is an acquired taste. This idea of having a formal, dry, impersonal approach to running a business which was once based on personal relationships, emotional intelligence and trust just never computed with me. Prior to launching Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Québec, I remember being in meetings where every time…and I mean every time…someone within the company was mentioned, without fail, you heard their title, their first name and their last name. Didn’t matter if their name was mentioned five or six times during the meeting, it was always in the same order. All I kept thinking was either you’re secretly in love with this person that you need to put them on a pedestal, or you think I’m not smart enough to have registered who they are the first time you said it. Insult to injury was when the person in question being praised from the heavens for their title was someone you actually know, and the person talking to you knew it!
Your company’s culture is one of its most important attributes. The talent you attract within the organization is a reflection of that culture, which in turn tells the public what you stand for. It can literally make or break your business, especially when at the heart of that business, you’re offering a service.
At the helm of any culture is leadership. Leadership sets the tone of how things will go within a brokerage, and there is a very fine line being a leader and being a “Boss”. It would take me hundreds of pages to give my exact view on the difference between the two, but I will summarize it in one sentence. A boss looks at the short-term bottom line, whereas a leader works with his team to ensure both the longevity of the company and the success of all those who are part of it.
Here is a perfect example.
Most brokerages tend to show preferential treatment to those brokers within the company who earn more than others, more often than not because the “boss” wants to make his quota and doesn’t want to upset those bringing in the money, even if it means that other brokers feel less valued. That’s the perfect way to create a huge divide within your organization. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Québec, how much you make is a reflection of how hard you work, but your earnings won’t make it that you get treated differently than anyone else. We have no room for egos and nor do we want any. Everyone is carefully selected to be part of our family. Whether you make $100 000 or you make more than a million, everyone is equally special and more importantly…valued! We are all working towards a common goal and that unity cannot be divided.
So a year ago, a dear friend asked me “So what is it that you want?”.
I wanted a company where the people in it feel valued, and not made to feel “lucky” because they are a part of it. I wanted a company where hierarchy was simply an operational necessity and not top heavy or ego driven, where orders come from above and must be respected by all. I wanted a company where the brand and the brokers work in partnership for success, and not where one is more valuable than the other. I wanted a company that is not focused on the volume of brokers, but where the success is based on selectively chosen professionals in key markets across the province. But most importantly, I wanted a company where people are genuinely happy and want everyone within it to succeed and are happy to contribute to each other’s success.
And guess what…I got what I wanted.
How did I get it? Simple…I associated myself with people who share the same values; honesty, integrity, professionalism and care.
As a team, what we accomplished in twelve months during what many would call “uncertain times” due to a worldwide pandemic, is nothing short of incredible. And believe me, we’re not done.
In closing, I have but two words, THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in my vision of how a brokerage should be run. Thank you for trusting our team with the sale and purchase of your homes. Thank you for your continued support and lastly, thank you for continuing to be with us as we grow in the years to come!
Founder and Chief Executive Officer