Full Tank

Cultural changes are shifting the industry’s business models.

When I launched the Massimo Group, the challenge was to help clients identify and implement the very best of best and next practices in the business. As a result, I studied what top producers do to succeed so dramatically. That research resulted in my first book, Brokers Who DOMINATE: 8 traits of top producers.

All of those eight traits remain important, but a few stood out from the rest, such as brokers who dominate are team oriented. Increasingly, top professionals choose to work in a team environment, but certain teams are so much more successful than others. 

Changing Paradigms

To understand why building a team is more critical than ever, and why many teams forming today are different from the teams of the past, it's important to review some of the profound changes in the industry during the past two decades. Here are six important shifts:

  • greater complexity;
  • more comprehensive fulfillment;
  • higher multi-location client opportunities;
  • greater access to information;
  • leveraging the skills of a team; and
  • increasing collaboration.

Each of these six trends gives commercial real estate professionals fresh opportunities to serve their clients better. The natural evolution is to create teams with a portfolio of individual strengths and talents. As demonstrated in Commercial Real Estate Teams Built to Dominate, today's dominant teams differ substantially from the teams of the past.

What are the common traits of dominant teams? 

  1. Strong leadership
  2. The right people
  3. Communication to coordinate
  4. Culture is king

Structured for success

We need to take a moment to specify what we mean by the word “team” in this book. For this discussion, a team is a small group of people making a coordinated effort to reach a common goal.

Integrated Teams

Traditionally, commercial real estate has two kinds of teams. One is a temporary team comprised of several professionals who band together on a specific deal. When the deal is done, the team disbands.

The teams profiled in this book, however, go further. I call them integrated teams, a term I picked up from Craig Coppola, CCIM, CRE, SIOR, of Lee & Associates. Integrated teams recognize that all of the key themes influence each other.

Integrated teams make use of anything that will make the team more effective. They analyze the ways items such as compensation, technology, and meetings can make the team more effective or drag down productivity.

Here are descriptions for five characteristics of dominant commercial real estate teams.

Strong leadership. Great teams have a leader who creates the team and then makes sure there's a reason for them to stay together. There may be several leaders on a team, depending on their respective roles.

Right people. Dominant commercial real estate teams find specific kinds of right people because they know where the bus has to go. Those selected also have the specific natural behaviors that will help them succeed in their role and complement other team members.

Communicate to coordinate. Coordinated effort is often the difference between good performance and great performance. Top teams use every available means of communication to move forward and to keep everyone united.

Culture is king for teams. Management thinker Marvin Bowers says that culture is “the way we do things around here.” Every team profiled in this book has a culture of hard work, accountability, and trust; everyone has to have a strong work ethic.

Structured for success. Teams are consciously organized. Sometimes the team is more efficient by adding a position. Great teams pay attention to developing friction-free work processes, which help team members to be more productive. Dominant teams also pay attention to the social side of teamwork. But the most intriguing way that top teams are structured for success is through compensation. For more information, visit www.creteams.com.


The Science of Teams

by Rod Santomassimo, CCIM 

Academic research teaches about the processes that make for a top performing team. That’s only part of the equation. I wanted to learn what mix of people you need to have the best possible team. For that I brought in Ralph Spencer, CCIM, to assist me with the analysis and interpretation of the teams profiled in Commercial Real Estate Teams Built to Dominate and also those we have coached and consulted with since the inception of the Massimo Group.

Additionally, we consulted with Dave Borden, president of Bizet Human Asset Management. Together we looked at commercial real estate teams through the lens of Activity Vector Analysis.

The AVA is used in this case to support that self-sustaining teams need to be flexible and possess the abilities to adapt in specific situations. This in itself cannot be done by an individual, at least not consistently and easily.

From a natural behavior perspective:

Assertive. These teams take charge and are relentless in finding new business opportunities.

Social. Internally, these teams have an appealing culture, they are fun to be around and fun to work with. Prospects find them engaging, and clients remain involved because the team is likeable.

Fast paced, Agile, and Deadline Oriented. These teams are adaptable to the demands of the client and can provide the level of consistency required.

Situationally Structured and Conforming. These teams can provide their clients with the level of detail and attention to successfully fulfill the clients’ business needs. Their cooperative and collaborative approach provides clients with the confidence that they can rely on the team for future opportunities.

Rod Santomassimo, CCIM, is president of the Massimo Group in Cary, N.C. Contact him at rod@massimo-group.com.

Superior Investments

by Sara S. Patterson

Real estate economist Hugh F. Kelly examines the evidence for the claim that the 24-hour city is better for investment return in the recently published 24-Hour Cities: Real Investment Performance, Not Just Promises. Through detailed historical reflection and juxtaposition of seven 24-hour cities with seven 9 to 5 cities, Kelly sorts out the comparative performance advantages of these two types of cities for investors.

Selecting Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and San Francisco as 24-hour cities compared to Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle, which are 9 to 5 cities, Kelly looks at 50 years of history. The results of his analysis have significant implications not only for the commercial real estate industry but for public policy and planning.

The 24-hour cities are the nation’s top live-work-play destinations that have demonstrated more than just vibrant urban environments for the elite. These cities are attracting a cross-section of the population from across the U.S. and are preferred landing places for immigrants of all incomes.

“As national politics careen toward increasing dysfunction, the emergence of the 24-hour cities provides pragmatic evidence that a turnaround is possible and may come in surprisingly positive ways,” says Kelly, clinical professor of real estate at New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate in New York City. “We have a tremendous reservoir of human, physical, and financial capital seeking places to be productive. Striving for excellence and investing in it has proven a more durable and effective economic strategy than cost-cutting in a race to the bottom. The 24-hour cities show the way.”

The higher density of 24-hour cities and higher commercial office rents produce higher business efficiencies than those of the 9 to 5 cities. Kelly contends those working in these cities experience more input sharing, knowledge spillovers, and labor pooling. The messiness of these big cities turns out to boost their resilience and to produce invention.

Kelly’s cross-disciplinary research identifies the reasons for success, and how the 24-hour cities continue to overcome economic hardship, violence, and urban dysfunction.

Sara S. Patterson is executive editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.

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Rod N. Santomassimo, CCIM

Rod N. Santomassimo, CCIM, is founder and president of the Massimo Group, a Cary, N.C.-based professional coaching firm focused on commercial real estate. Contact him at (919) 388-1522 or rod@massimo-group.com. For more information, visit www.massimo-group.com.

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