Where We Are Now: April 2, 2020

Work From Home — Day 18

Heart & Soul + Stories

5:20AM PST

Team –

Early yesterday, in response to my writing on hiring practices, I received a powerful e-mail from Elaine Hanson, Malibu office. Elaine’s feedback was spot on, about culture, heart and soul. Specifically, this is the heart of Elaine’s message:

Heart and soul are the main reasons I joined Partners Trust in the first place. I saw it, before I joined, in my interactions with PT agents in the field. It’s what made the PT agents stand out. It’s the reason I am dedicated to the great group of people in my Malibu Cross Creek office. Then, I saw it in the Pacific Union agents I met when we became one company. This supportive soul was missing at my previous brokerages, and it showed in their public faces.

The heart, soul, and lots of laughter I share with my officemates, with a special call-out for my manager, Sarah Kosasky, are what drive me to be competitive for my company. They are what boost my confidence to new heights. They are what confirms my instincts that I am acting productively, properly, and positively.

I commended Elaine on her reminder of culture, heart and soul as critical hiring values. Thank you, Elaine. Culture is king!

The exchange encouraged reflection for me. My initial reflection is back to 2009 when we acquired Pacific Union. I vividly remember meeting the management team at the St. Francis Yacht Club and saying to them, “I am joining your team, and as a result, this is likely the most important job interview of my life.” Avram Goldman was then CEO and now in our Sonoma office enjoying the good life.

Sure, we were buying the business, but I needed that team more than that team needed me. Mapping to their culture, heart and soul was paramount! I was focused.

I have a virtual library of stories about our journey together over the past 10+ years. It’s time to share them. This is one that reminds me of culture.

Fast forward to contemplating several acquisitions in Southern California. I spent the better part of 2016 in Southern California, through San Diego, Orange and LA Counties. One day stands out for cultural reasons.

I had organized four meetings with possible acquisition opportunities on the same day. Very efficient use of my time. I shared with all four principals what city I would be in and they could pick a time and the venue for the meeting. I had to juggle the specific timing of meetings, but all four companies picked the exact same location, a hotel restaurant, to meet in. What are the chances of that?

I decided to stay in the same hotel and arrived from SFO the night before as the first meeting was breakfast at 7:30AM. Imagine me getting to the restaurant in the hotel at 7:15AM and approaching the MC to say, “so I am basically going to be in your restaurant from 7:30AM through 4:00PM today meeting with four different parties – some of which you may know personally. I really need you to be discrete, not say welcome back, not say, same table, etc.”

You get it, right?

The $100 bill I used in our handshake was obviously helpful.

Moral to the story maps to heart, soul and culture. Of the four companies/principals I met with that day, three of them were not cultural fits. The second date would have been tough. The other company is a large part of our success today.

Our culture is paramount. Like any team, the team is stronger than the individual talents. Together, we are focused and extraordinary. A salute to our culture!

Many more stories to follow in SIP. See you at 11 AM.

This is Where We Are Now.



Mark A McLaughlin