Catapulting Your Effectiveness as a Leader

“Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the long course of the rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the circular motion of the stars…but they pass by themselves and don’t even notice.” — Augustine

For many, many (perhaps too many) months, we watched the presidential campaign unfold into an election that will secure its place in the history books.

In perspective, my appointment as President of the Society of Exchange Counselors seems totally unremarkable. However, this year we will be swimming in uncharted waters. The economic climate and multifaceted challenges that our industry will face during this year of unrest may elude even the savviest of financial forecast analysts. Any great explorer will tell us that the unmarked territory has the greatest potential to harvest tremendous yields.

I’ve been watching and listening as President Elect Obama assembles a team that he feels will set him up for success and provide recovery for this great country in which we live.

This strategic planning has once again confirmed the realization that success at any level of leadership is critically dependent on those in whom we choose to surround ourselves. It would not only be unrealistic but arrogant to believe that one person can be the leading expert in every field in which he or she deals. I recently read a quote that said, “A genius is a person who surrounds himself with people smarter than himself.” A good leader purposely puts together a team of individuals with specific areas of expertise that can be relied upon to provide accurate insight and unique perspective into their own specific scope of knowledge. First, an opportunity/problem is identified. Next, each team member provides the leader with their assessment, the facets are analyzed, and a course of resolution is set. The banner of success seldom waves over one person standing alone.

Undeniably, nearly thirty years ago I made the right decision to associate myself with a group of real estate professionals who are the leaders in their profession. Names like Reno and Nasch, Weaver, Farley, and Hunt have become lighthouses for innovation within the infinite boundaries of real estate. Faces have come and gone within our roster but the quality and integrity within the Society has continued to be the hallmark of our seal.

With that being said, perhaps rather than searching for assets in dirt and bricks in this volatile climate, a bigger opportunity rests in the ability to garner talent. Never before in recent decades have we had the huge pool of potential that we see in today’s “Employer’s Market.” Now is the time to plat a leadership team that is systematically designed for success when the economic upheaval comes to rest and the wheels of commerce once again begin to churn. Americans have a relentless, unquenchable passion to succeed. Take this moment of pause to surround yourself with the most competent assets you can afford. An American workforce is being laid off by the hundreds of thousands. Subsequently, we have unprecedented access to the commodity of skill that has just been released through the upheaval of change.

Examine the inner circle of those in which you place your confidence. High-grade that list, weed out mediocrity, and build a cabinet that will catapult your effectiveness as a leader into an industry that yields boundless, uncapped potential.

The Society of Exchange Counselors reaps the huge benefits of the “Trickle-Up-Effect.” Leaders successfully managing their own businesses become leaders within their spheres of influence, which find them as guests at an invitational meeting, which sifts a select few into membership, which essentially brings the most competent leaders within our industry together to do business on a regular basis. I look forward to the opportunities this year will present.

Tom Langel, S.E.C.
2009 S.E.C. President

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