Thoughts on Leadership: From Good to Extraordinary

Early in my management career more than 20 years ago as the COO for Contempo Realty, my mentor and business partner, Bob Moles, who at the time was President of Contempo Realty, gave me a valuable piece of advice that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “If an office has a good leader you don’t have to worry about its success, and if an office has a poor leader you will need to worry about its success.” A few weeks into my new position as COO it became clear that managers with poor leadership skills consistently generated poor results, while those with good leadership skills produced good results.   While I studied the P&L statements of each branch, I used several methods to measure the good leaders against the poor. But the analysis really was unnecessary. All I had to do was walk into an office and I could tell through the experience and personal interaction.

Good leaders are more effective at everything. They inspire by creating opportunity; they achieve positive results, experience less turnover, enhance customer service, create high levels of employee and agent commitment and have a much higher capture rate on mortgage, title and all related services.

There’s no confusing the good from the poor.

The difference becomes even more dramatic when you compare a good leader to an extraordinary one. Studies show that for high-level jobs, the difference in productivity between the top performers and the great majority is huge.

For an example of an extraordinary leader’s effect, I turn to Jerry Kiss, who is Vice President and Managing Officer of Intero’s San Mateo office. This year alone, Jerry has recruited 56 agents. Jerry exemplifies how an extraordinary leader exceeds the average of each Intero office by 425 percent. Furthermore, Jerry, as an extraordinary leader, is 228 percent better than good leaders (the average of the top 5) from a recruiting standpoint.

Another example of just how powerful a leader’s effect can be, particularly on the bottom line, is John Thompson, Executive Vice President of Intero and Managing Officer of the Los Altos office. John’s extraordinary leadership has had an impact on the Los Altos office that exceeds the next best Intero office from a profit standpoint. In other words, his impact on his office is 60 percent better than a good leader’s impact (the next top office).

We should all strive to be good leaders, but we should not stop there. Achieving extraordinary leadership is where we can really begin to see the type of results that go above and beyond.   As John H. Zenger and Joseph Folkman once said, “Extraordinary leaders will consistently achieve results that far exceed those of the good leaders. They will create even fewer turnover, motivate employees to a much higher degree, and satisfy customers to a much higher degree.”   The next time you are setting personal and business goals, reach for the extraordinary.