Bill Condon | Crain's Portland

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Bill Condon

Background:  

Colliers International is a global real estate company offering a full range of services to real estate occupiers, owners and investors across across 68 countries. It has been ranked among the top 100 outsourcing firms by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ Global Outsourcing for 12 consecutive years.

The Mistake:

We really try to focus on building an organization around what we refer to as “A players,” people who are highly productive at what they do – whether it’s brokerage, marketing, research, and so on. Equally as important are the people who fit within our collaborative, unique culture.

I made a mistake early on in my leadership career when I sacrificed the culture piece by recruiting a top producer who I wasn’t certain would be aligned with our culture.

Sure enough, after we brought this person over, they ended up being a great producer, but really had a negative impact on our culture. We ultimately had to part ways with that person after about a year or so because of that. Their production was good, but it just wasn’t worth it.

We worked so hard at building a culture that was so unique, collaborative, hard-working, fun, and engaging. It was amazing to see how just one person could impact it in the way that they did.

'A players' want to be surrounded by other 'A players.'

The Lesson:

It takes a longer time to find those “A players,” but we are relentless at pursuing them because for us, you really need to be both highly productive and a cultural fit. If we’re recruiting someone that’s already been in the industry for a while and we have a pretty good feel for their reputation, the process is quicker.

We take longer with people who are right out of college, or new to our industry. We have them meet with multiple people within the company to make sure they’re aligned with our culture, as well as what we expect from them on a production level.

By focusing on retaining those types of people, we’ve found that they’ve become our best recruiters. “A players” want to be surrounded by other “A players.” They want to sustain that unique working environment, so they ultimately become our biggest supporters.  

Follow Colliers International on Twitter at: @Colliers

Pictured: Bill Condon | Photo courtesy of Colliers International

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