I run a real estate company
Early in my career, I was a lobbyist in the real estate industry. We were often called upon to testify at hearings of the state senate and assembly. At one such hearing, I brought along one of our association’s volunteer leaders who would deliver our testimony to the senate committee.
The Committee Chairman began by asking the name and profession/occupation of each person giving testimony. Our participant gave his name and said “I run a real estate company”.
That struck me as odd. Our members, when asked that question would simply say “I sell real estate”, or “I list houses”, or “I am a Realtor”. But I never heard anyone say they run a real estate company.
On the drive back to the office, I asked him about this. He seemed impressed that I noticed and it was clear that this was not just a throw-away phrase, at least not to him. He explained it this way.
“That’s what I do. I run my real estate company. And while I have only two offices now, my goal is to become the largest residential real estate company in New Jersey. In order to do that, I have to focus on the business. So I don’t list or sell houses. I have some terrific people who do that. Rather, I focus on the key activities that are directly tied to my primary business goals, things that I am best positioned to do. So yes, I run a real estate company.”
Well there are many reasons for his success (he grew to 140 offices in New Jersey and Florida before selling the company to a major brand). I am convinced that chief among them was his focus, not on what he was doing, but on where he was going. He did not identify himself with a process or an activity, but rather as a leader with clear goals, firmly focused on the future.
“I run a real estate company”. What do you do?