Trends 2023: An inside look at the nation's most profitable brokerage
HSA operates a massive business, and its well-defined, consistently executed management style may just be the key to the company's success.
Editor's note: Since 2006, the Swanepoel Trends Report has provided in-depth research and analysis to help leaders understand the forces shaping residential real estate. This exclusive series of excerpts highlights each trend featured in the 2023 report.
Inside the Nation's Largest Most Profitable Brokerage Company: HomeServices of America, established in 1998, operates a massive brokerage and franchise business — but it does so quietly, with characteristic Midwestern practicality. One key to its success? A well-defined management style. This excerpt offers a glimpse into HSA's leadership and management philosophy.
Management Philosophy and Structure
One of the hallmarks of HSA is its management philosophy and structure. The company has had long-term, steady leadership; mastermind Ron Peltier served as president and CEO from its founding in 1998 until 2019 when Gino Blefari, then CEO of the company's franchise division, became CEO.
HSA's current management formula stems from Blefari, who came to HSA in 2014 when it acquired the large Silicon Valley-based brokerage Intero Real Estate — which he co- founded and led as CEO. As part of the acquisition, Blefari became CEO of HSF Affiliates in 2015.
The Blefari Way
In successfully running a real estate company, "Execution is the key challenge," Blefari says. He has a well-defined, focused system for executing that he has shared throughout the company. He calls them the four principles of execution. The principles are:
Focus: Identifying the wildly important goal for a specific time and then committing to follow a system and show up every day to get it done.
Leverage: Identifying and doing the most high-value actions to meet existing wildly important goals.
Engagement: Remaining engaged and focused on achieving the wildly important goals, which includes benchmarking against peers.
Accountability: Measuring and refining actions and results accountable to stated goals through a consistent cadence.
When Blefari took the reins of HSA, he removed a layer of upper management and began managing the leaders of HSA's core business lines as well as the CEOs of the company-owned brokerages.
On Mondays, Blefari meets with every department head at HSA and all his direct reports, including every CEO. Those calls have a consistent structure. On those calls, the items the teams discuss include:
Wildly Important Goals: Each leader mentions their critical goals for the week and how they plan to achieve them, and last week's goals and whether they achieved them, why or why not.
Accountability Check: Each leader has an accountability partner. On the call, they state whether they've met with their accountability partner every business day.
Measurement: Leaders review their critical lead measures and track progress toward stated goals.
Improvement: Every member of the call shares the one thing they'll do to improve.
Each leader is asked to rigorously measure his or her key metrics and to reference them in real time. Some of these include per-person productivity, capture rates for mortgage, title and insurance, company dollar for current period, and company dollar per new agent.
Blefari has implemented a system to tie the large company closer together and to operate better as a team by using an accountability partner system. All CEOs and senior executives have an accountability partner they speak with every business day. These partners change each month. Blefari believes this system strengthens company culture as people form closer relationships by sharing the journey toward their common goals.
The accountability system encourages partners to get to know each other. When accountability partners start off with someone they haven't paired with yet, they ask each other a set of connecting questions.
The questions include those like:
How did you get started?
What else do you do besides work?
Who from your childhood had the biggest impact on you?
What did that person teach you?
Digital and printed copies of the 2023 Swanepoel Trends Report are available for purchase at t3trends.com.