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Episode #18: Teaming and Culture


Bill Condon:

Welcome everybody to our Industrial Advisors podcast, Bill Condon and Matt McGregor. And today, we're going to focus on something that we are both very passionate about. It's the importance of teaming and importance of building the right culture within teams. And so Matt, I know you really love our team and care a lot about the direction we're going in and the right way to build it. Talk a little bit about the importance of teaming in today's environment.


Matt McGregor:

Yeah, absolutely. I came into this industry really wanting to team and came into a great team originally with John Todd and then saw you as a full alignment of what I wanted my brokerage career to be. I 100% wanted a partner and a team formed around us. And I think it's so important because I think the top people in this industry are from teams, historically speaking. Looking right now at kind of the top producers, they are teams. It's hard to go on a vacation, unless you have a partner that's fully aligned. And when I say partner, I'm not talking about just a revenue sharing person, I'm talking about somebody that you share the same goals, share the same values, have the same interests, and you're doing the deals together, not just separate. So I think that it's hard to work in this industry as an individual.


Matt McGregor:

I think you need multiple looks at something, multiple strategies. You and I do a lot of debating. We don't always agree, but that's the beauty in the team, right? All of a sudden you'll convince me, okay, yeah. I'm looking at this wrong, or vice versa. Normally, I'm right. No. The teaming is incredibly important. I think it's hard to be an individual in this industry.


Bill Condon:

I totally agree. And I think when you look at our clients as well, their expectations are to have teams work on their behalf, and to your point, real partners that are interchangeable and that they feel comfortable calling anybody on that team and they're going to get the results that they're looking for. And when you do look at the top teams in our industry, the top producers in our industry, it's typically fully aligned teams that are hitting the highest numbers and having the most success. So I think from a client expectation standpoint, that's there as well.


Matt McGregor:

By the way, you touch our clients. Even the clients with teams seem to do really well. Barton Travis and all the guys there, that's a team, right? And they act like a team, they show up like a team. Same thing with Clarion, big teams. Big teams at Prologis. All our clients reflect that as well.


Bill Condon:

Absolutely. And I think the most efficient teams, everyone has defined roles and knows exactly what they're doing. When you look at our team, you have you and me, you have Bob and Jack and Sydney and Bethany. We are fully aligned. There's a trust level there between all team members. And we have a lot of fun and we get along really well, right? The culture is, in my opinion, second to none, which makes us successful, right? Because we can all trust each other. And so that makes me think a little bit about what to look for when you're adding someone to the team, right? So what do you look for when you're looking to add someone to a team?


Matt McGregor:

When I'm looking to add somebody to the team, I definitely want somebody that brings a different value to the team. You bring a different value than I bring.


Bill Condon:

Better looks.


Matt McGregor:

I have better hair now. I grew it out, COVID hair.


Bill Condon:

Yeah.


Matt McGregor:

Every time we bring somebody in, you want something different. For example, we brought in Sydney. Sydney is drastically different than Bethany. Bethany loves processes and she likes the historical norms, right? You throw her something new, she starts sweating, yelling at me, and I throw a lot new. Whereas Sydney absolutely thrives in that environment, right? You throw her something new, podcasting, for example, she's now an expert in podcasting and we couldn't do it without her. So if I would have thrown that to Bethany, that would not go well, right? Now, if Sydney sets it up, sets the process and does everything, and now it's streamlined, Bethany could do it once it's there, right? Nobody's better at managing than Bethany, right? Nobody's better in a new and inventive way than Sydney.


Matt McGregor:

With that, we can go a little bit into what you look for. We've got a new broker starting in a few months. What is he going to add different than say, what Jack brought to the table or what Bob brought to the table?


Bill Condon:

Yeah. And then back to Sydney and Bethany, and both are all world at what they do. They're just good at different things. But to your point, it's important to have those complimentary skill sets, which is really important. Same thing on the brokerage side, right? Bob and Jack thrive at different things in this business. And that's important for us, that's important for our clients. And I think Kyle, who we're going to bring on, is going to add a different element to the team. So one, it's, do they provide a value segment in an area that we needed in, right? And certainly Jack and Bob do, and Kyle is going to as well. Equally important to that is how are they driven, right? How are they going to show up every day? We spend a lot of time with people before we add them to the team to make sure that they're wired like we are.


Matt McGregor:

Kyle has been around for about a year.


Bill Condon:

Yeah. He came in his freshman year of college, took me out for coffee and said, "Hey, I'll come intern for free. I'll do whatever. I want to join your team when I'm done with college." And I was impressed with that. And he came in and he interned and we paid him, of course. But we spent a lot of time with him to make sure that he would fit the team culture, because if you don't fit our team culture, it's not going to work out, right? And so we really spend a lot of time with people to make sure, one, their work ethic is on par with ours, that they're ethical, that they're going to have fun, that from a cultural standpoint, they're going to fit in really well. Because if you do it that way and you spend the right amount of time with your teammates, the sky's the limit.


Bill Condon:

But you get in trouble, if you don't, right? And you try and rush things or grow at the wrong time. And so it's really important to spend a lot of time before you bring somebody into the mix, for their benefit and for the team's benefit before making that commitment.


Matt McGregor:

That's right. And even you mentioned Kyle, even during his senior year, I've had him doing projects from his dorm room or wherever he's at over at Gonzaga, continuing to get to know him and seeing his work. And so you're right. You have to be careful and you mentioned it, trust and values. And those things are way more important to me. A person can learn the business and as long as they have a little bit different skill set than we do, or other members of our team, we don't want to bring on carbon copy people for duplication reasons. So you have to identify what that is. And if you spend time with a person, you can identify that, right? And then the other way to identify it, and we've all done it, is Kolbe tests. You look at my Kolbe tests and it nails me, right?


Matt McGregor:

I am a nine Quick Start, which to the listener that doesn't know this, you can go to kolbe.com and take the test. It's pretty easy. It nailed me, and I don't like standardized tests at all. But a nine Quick Start means big thinker, I go right out of the gate with something new, but my follow through is terrible, right? And so in comes Sydney and Bethany. And so I get the idea, I get it going and if there's not somebody there to grab it, I'm onto the next Quick Start topic, right? And Bob, for example, is a fact finder. So he's not going to be as quick on the start, but he's going to take it a little bit slower and he's going to go into a lot more detail and know exactly what should be done, where quite often I'll go on a tangent with very little fact-finding detail, right?


Bill Condon:

That's right. And I think it's a good point. When you build the right culture and people know their roles and they're spending a lot of time with each other, each person knows when to jump in, when to take over, who should be the account lead with certain clients. And I think one of the things I'm most proud of with our team is the fact that our culture is so strong, we don't have turnover, right? I mean, we have a very unified group of teammates that are committed to each other, committed to growing the business and doing what's best for our clients. So the no turnover portion, I think speaks volumes about culture. And so if you can build it the right way, people stay around, people are committed and you're just more efficient. Certainly with all teams, there's challenges. How do you overcome challenges with teammates?


Matt McGregor:

Probably just being extremely transparent. I think that that is a key in partnerships and you don't want something festering, if it's a challenge or if it's a disagreement or something. You just don't want to festering, right? You don't want to live with that because it can build up the wrong feeling, right? No different than in your marriage, right? Don't go to sleep fighting, work it out and get it on the table because the more you understand the other person and the more the other person understands you and transparency, the closer you realize you are together, I think. And what about you? How do you overcome challenges?


Bill Condon:

Well, I think you hit it on the head. One, being extremely transparent at all times and doing it right away, right? I mean, there's times when you recognize something and rather than to your point, letting it continue to go on, deal with it right away. And when you have the right trust, when you have transparency within the team, when people are comfortable talking to each other about anything, that's huge because not all teams have that and that's when small problems can turn into big problems. So transparency and dealing with things head on, I think you hit it on the head with that. It's interesting when talking about teams and when the right time to grow is, because as you know, strong teams, it's important to grow, but you also don't want to rush it, right? And I think back to when we hired Bob, Bob reached out and I met with him and he was about to take a job with another company, or was down the road with another company.


Bill Condon:

And you and I, I remember calling you and said, "Hey, he's the right fit." We weren't necessarily looking to hire somebody at that particular time, but you interviewed him and said, "Yeah, he's absolutely the right fit." And so sometimes it's a timing thing, but sometimes when you recognize someone's going to be able to come in and add significant value, you got to make it happen like we did with Bob, and I'm really thankful that we did because he provides a tremendous amount of value. How do you look at growing the team and when the right timing is for that and so on and so forth?


Matt McGregor:

That's a great question. And I took Strategic Coach, as you remember, a couple of years ago, actually with Aurie, another great team, Aurie and Jeff. Very balanced, great team. And Aurie, I remember having a conversation with him about that. And I agreed with him that there's never a good time and never a bad time, it's personality driven, right? When somebody comes in and it's a no brainer, right? It's hard to train somebody. It's hard to do that, but when that person is in front of you and you go, gosh, this is the right culture fit, the right values, the right work ethic, then you figure it out, right? So I don't think we're ever looking to hire somebody, right? I think Bob's a great example. When he came, I was like, oh no. I was resistant to that, right? But as soon as I met him, I'm like-


Bill Condon:

When I told you to interview him, yeah. [crosstalk 00:11:24].


Matt McGregor:

As soon as you told me, I got together with him and it was great. And I would say Kyle's tenacity was second to none. Who calls on people as a freshman in college? Who's prepping that long? Somebody that you probably want to look at, right? Most people are figuring out how to accurately beer bong or something.


Bill Condon:

I was pretty good at that.


Matt McGregor:

Yeah, totally. I certainly wasn't thinking my freshman year where I was going to be at the end of it and doing something about it, right? So that he, in my opinion, proved himself to give him an opportunity. And so I just think it's when that person is in front of you and it fits all the boxes and brings something to your team that's dynamic.


Bill Condon:

Yeah. I think you hit it on the head. And certainly we haven't always got it right with bringing people in, but we've learned a lot. And right now, our team is as strong as it's ever been, both from a production standpoint, but more importantly from a culture standpoint and that's really important to us. And so I think the biggest takeaways for us when building the right team, be transparent, make sure you spend a lot of time with someone before you add them to the team that they're complimentary. And then the sky's the limit, right? So we very much enjoy teaming. We think it's going to continue and the culture part is just huge.


Matt McGregor:

That's right. And I will give a plug to Rod Santomassimo, a great friend. Actually met Rod, he was the author of probably the most well known book in our industry; Brokers Who Dominate, kind of our Bible.


Bill Condon:

Chapter three is the best chapter in that book, I think.


Matt McGregor:

That was the first book, right? And then he came out with Teams That Dominate, and he found us and interviewed us amongst a hundred teams that he interviewed and he picked us and he put us in for chapter three. So Rod Santomassimo,s book, Teams That Dominate, chapter three is a very good chapter.


Bill Condon:

Very good.


Matt McGregor:

That's a great book on teaming. I think he took eight or nine teams across the country from different broker shops, interviewed them and gave them each a chapter, ours is chapter three. So that's a great resource. And funny story, I'll close on this, I'd never met him. So Rod found us, interviewed us amongst other teams, and this went on for probably a year. And then he selected us. Rod's in New York so we never met him. And then we did everything over the phone. And so we had multiple interviews so that he could script the chapter. And then he put us in the book, printed the book, mailed us the book and it was a best seller. Never met the guy. A couple of years later, I'm in Toronto, Canada with Aurie at the Strategic Coach and all of a sudden, Rod comes up to me, "Hey man, McGregor." And there he was.


Matt McGregor:

And so we got to spend the next year together in that program. And then recently, he invited me on his podcast. So a great relationship, but a great coach and somebody that knows a lot about teaming, and that's a great book.


Bill Condon:

Absolutely. Well, thank you all for listening. We certainly value teams. Hope you do as well. And wish you all the best and we'll be back at it again shortly on Industrial Advisors.



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© 2018 by Matt McGregor and Bill Condon, Colliers International

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