Rebirth of a brokerage

It’s not often I find myself speechless when approaching the podium after an introduction. Actually it’s quite rare. But rare too were the words of Mike Hickman, President and General Manager of Seven Gables Real Estate who spoke before me setting the stage for the rebrith of his brokerage.

I hope they inspire you as they have me.


This is what Michael said, in a nutshell:

If for one more minute you believe you can remain doing what you’ve always done and expect to stay in business, stop your clock now. As a company we are moving forward. All of us. We’ve resisted change for too long and that has not served us well. We will be changing our website. They way we market. The promise we make to our customers and the standards to which we will adhere to deliver on that promise. This is long overdue.

Michael cited the GM debacle, completely unaware that just minutes prior to his speech I published this post. He talked about GM’s miscalculations and their inability to read the tealeaves. GM abandoned their commitment to their customers and lost their way.

In no uncertain terms Michael made it clear that real estate brokerages have also lost sight of who their customers are. “It’s not agents,” he said. “You are our partners. And we both should be working together to provide services for the folks that pay our bills.”

I looked across the room. 200 heads nodded up and down.

Michael cited first quarter losses posted by a competitor and offered it to the group without that typical lampooning you would expect from a broker basking in the glee of a competitor’s misfortune.

Michael felt the losses as if they were his own. Aloud he hoped the folks at this company were also taking stock of every assumption, every expense, every agent and every process. And measuring it against a higher aspiration. His point was clear: The real estate industry as a whole must do better.  We are all in this together.

I crossed checked Michael’s words, his emotions and the impact he was having on the room against the four key brand values of his firm:

Authenticity. Competency. Innovation. Creativity.

I began to think that maybe here, these things actually mean something.


Michael then introduced me. I advanced to the podium and ditched my prepared opening statement.

“I’m speechless,” I ad-libbed.  “I not sure if it’s due to the boldness of Michael’s marching orders, which are seldom heard inside a brokerage overrun by fear of how agents will respond, or by the fact that just about every single agent who works here showed up to hear them. And appears to be inline with them.”

My presentation laid the groundwork for what was to come next. The changes that will take place, what they will look like, time frames and ultimately, what Seven Gables is on the path to becoming.

As I concluded, I suggested everyone place a sticky note next to their computers, on their car’s dashboard and by their nightstands with the four words that define their brokerage brand:

Authenticity. Competency. Innovation. Creativity.

To make these words count, they must make them their own. They must live them. Breathe them. Own them. Measure everything they say and do against them.

If that happens, the results will be breathtaking.

– Davison Twitter: 1000wattmarc