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More Reasons for Enthusiastic EXPectations at eXp Realty

Rick Miller, Chief at Being Chief and eXp World Holdings Board Member

Straddling the worlds of small and large companies throughout my career has been both eye-opening and fun. Having served in President roles at each, I’ve seen first-hand what separates the less effective from the good, and the good from the great, and have written extensively about what each can learn from the other (Startups and Multinationals: Swapping Lessons).

My friend Daniel H. Pink asserts in his book “Drive” that much of the success of early phase companies is based on offering team members three compelling opportunities: autonomy, mastery and mission. In fact, these three priorities always have been part of the strategy and strength of eXp Realty. From day one, the company has empowered individuals to work independently towards their vision of success, while embracing the company’s singular unifying mission of supporting agents.

But even as an early-stage firm, the eXp Realty leadership team has understood things that many other company leadership teams do not.

First, they know that few startups successfully navigate the revenue growth path from millions to hundreds of millions because they don’t adapt to change. This team is dedicated to using change as a disrupter, instead of having to adapt to it from outside influences.

Second, they know that well-run larger organizations can handle increasing levels of complexity, have effective ways of planning and adjusting, and rely on a strong set of values to align their growing set of team members. More recently, eXp Realty has been moving aggressively in each of these areas.

To navigate the increasing complexities that accompany rapid growth, eXp Realty has added experienced leadership to both management and the Board, who have proven success at the scaling of companies. At the same time, the company has adopted the latest tools (i.e., Workplace) to deal with an ever-increasing intricacy of information and opportunities. 

In the area of planning and adjusting, the company has championed the concept of eXp Realty as an Agile organization. This allows for both leadership and the agent population to collaborate on improvements while continuously adjusting and aligning to the changing needs of the growing organization.

And as you all know, the company continues to build its future around the nine core values that drive both the organization and its people: Community, Service, Sustainability Integrity, Transparency, Collaboration, Innovation, Agile and Fun.

But as eXp Realty has just announced it is a more than $150 million company, it is perhaps this single concept that eXp Realty leadership understands better than many that is most important – the power of “AND.”

In my experience, companies that flatline are those that engage in more “or” conversations than “and” conversations.  For example, many times the leadership team at growing companies may ask themselves these questions:

  1. Should we focus on autonomy, mastery and our mission OR should we focus on dealing with complexity, planning and adjusting, and living our values?
  2. Should we focus on delighting our clients OR operating efficiently?

Significantly, the strong leadership team at eXp Realty understands when the OR is changed to AND, the company has the right focus. In this industry of change, the eXp Realty leadership team, our Board and our agent-shareholders are all leading the way with more “and” conversations.

These are just a few more reasons for enthusiastic EXPectations at eXp Realty.

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Building a Powerful Company to Serve Powerful Agents

At eXp Realty we are built to serve agents. But not just any group of agents … we are built to serve powerful agents.

Agents with real “power” are those with the professionalism, energy and confidence to have a positive impact on others in the communities they serve. These successful agents are attracted to eXp Realty for many reasons, including a unique opportunity to own a piece of the company and have a voice in the development of tools and services that help build their own business, within ours.

With their input, we’re focusing on four areas to help agents build their businesses:

And agents are coming fast. Just last month, we announced we have exceeded 8,000 agents, an increase of 196% during the past year. While the quantity is impressive, so is the quality. We are proud of our agents and here is just one example of why.

Last summer, Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas for days leaving parts of the state submerged under the most rain ever recorded by one storm in the United States. eXp Realty agent George Huntoon risked his own life to rescue dozens of Houston-area flood victims. During four days, George and his rescue partners evacuated at least 100 people from dangerous surges. George embodies our core values and the spirit of the eXp Realty agent community.

Our agents are attracted to eXp Realty in large part because we share their values. These include: Community, Service, Sustainability, Collaboration, Transparency, Integrity, Innovation, Agile and Fun.

Adhering to our strong sense of core values has created a consistent environment in which our agents thrive and share their ideas. It is what keeps our NPS ratings above a commendable 71 with our agents and provides a solid foundation for each of them to bring like-minded agents on board.

These same values are the reasons cited by incoming staff as to why they chose eXp Realty. Our staff is the backbone of our company and the reason we are a powerful organization. As I shared in a recent post, we are as committed to support our powerful staff as we are our powerful agents.

Specifically, our company is committed to a two-part strategy in support of our staff. First, we must create an environment where our staff can grow, prosper and become more powerful. We understand that as our staff increases their value they will be more attractive to other companies. So, the second part of our strategy is to create such a positive and supportive environment that our staff won’t want to leave.

We are delighted that our commitment to create a positive work environment was recognized by our staff with a top ranking from Glassdoor. We believe our strategy is working.

I am proud to work with my fellow Board members in support of a leadership team committed to continuing to attract and retain powerful staff that serves an ever-growing group of truly outstanding, powerful agents.

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Building a New Way to Work and Grow

Rick Miller

Rick Miller, Chief at Being Chief

In some ways, a recent board meeting at eXp World Holdings, Inc. was like many other board meetings I have “attended” with different companies over the years … first small talk among those early arrivers, including informal conversations between board members and management before the formal agenda follows with discussions of operations and strategy. But this meeting was being held in the cloud.

I sat at my laptop and lent my voice to the avatar I’d created to approximate my appearance … or a close facsimile thereof. My avatar sat in the Executive Boardroom on our virtual campus environment along with fellow board members ranging from Calgary to Boston to Austin. We actively worked with the avatars of our CEO in Seattle, our CFO in Reno, Nevada, our COO in Scottsdale, Arizona and our CTO in Albany, New York. Our objective was sustainable growth for our publicly traded company.

Founded in 2009 by visionary CEO, Chairman and Founder Glenn Sanford, eXp Realty is a real estate company like no other. With virtually no brick and mortar, the company has attracted an amazing number of professionals who help people looking for the brick and mortar of their dreams. The growth of this industry upstart has been mind blowing. Since its first year in operations as a public company in 2013 with $10.7M in revenue, eXp Realty actually has seen its growth rate accelerate … to $13.4M in 2014 (up 25% year-over-year), to $22.9M in 2015 (up 71% year-over-year), to $54.2M in 2016 (up 137% year-over-year). Results to date in 2017 show continued acceleration.

And, yes, this is a company that operates in the cloud with state-of-the-art avatar technology where individuals meet in virtual offices and hundreds gather together in the company’s auditorium to conduct company business.

I’ve always been drawn to companies pushing the envelope on how people can be more productive. In the 1990s, I was recruited by AT&T and served as president, Global Services. Harvard Business Review wrote about our innovative use of the virtual office design. In the 2000s, Ari Horowitz recruited me to serve as president at startup OPUS360, a company that enabled the project-based labor market with FreeAgent.

But neither of these companies can hold a candle to the new vision of work at eXp Realty.

“eXp Realty is transforming the real estate experience. Our virtual office environment compared to the traditional real estate office allows agents to collaborate and learn together — no matter where they might be located,” said Glenn Sanford, CEO, chairman and founder of eXp World Holdings. “Our agents can interact, share best practices and learn from industry experts and other top professionals at any time or any place — in real time.”

Specifically, at eXp Realty, I have seen the following commitments to excellence that raise the bar as we push ourselves by asking important questions:

  • Diversify: We need people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives working together to deliver the most value. Can we be more diverse?
  • Balance: Gender balance increases the chances that we will produce optimal decisions. How can we improve the balance in our organization?
  • Recruit: How do we improve our process AND know when to hire and when to use project-based labor?
  • Decentralize: Empowering teams that are closer to the issues to actually make decisions will increase our success. How can we be clearer about who can make what decisions in our organization?
  • Engage: How do we build a better plan for our employees to buy into holacratic practices and accountabilities?
  • Organize: Establishing clear objectives with adequate time for thoughtful input from all participants will produce the best results. Do all participants have time to give input?
  • Educate: Making sure new employees and extended team members (customers, vendors, strategic partners) understand our expectations make us more effective. Do we make it as easy as possible for newcomers to fit in?
  • Communicate: Acknowledging that a transfer of knowledge requires active participation from both the speaker and the listeners. Does everyone both listen and speak in our organization?
  • Accommodate: Group chats alone may inhibit great input from introverts. Do we get one-on-one input from introverted team members?
  • Integrate: Assimilating different perspectives to find common ground can move a group forward in their work together. Are we skilled at integrating?
  • Mediate: Recognizing when tensions arise and deal with them directly. Do tensions ever get ignored among our team members?
  • Document: Capturing and distributing action items and agreements from meetings to ensure accuracy is important. How well do we capture and document our plans and intentions?
  • Recognize: Bring attention to, and show appreciation for, individuals who go above and beyond in their support for and contribution to the team is critical. Who do we recognize, why do we recognize them, and how?
  • Evaluate: Regularly assessing what we each do and how we do it is critical. How will we evaluate our employees?

I am proud to be part of this organization in my role as an independent board member working with Glenn and the rest of the team. I am excited about the future and believe we will continue to push the envelope in support of our people and sustainable growth by asking the right questions.

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