My Business Values

Many businesses have mission statements or a motto. These ideas or phrases help them shape company policy, create business plans, contribute to the coherence of marketing, and give the leadership a more or less clear goal when making decisions. I personally do not have a mission statement or a motto, but I have formulated three values that I believe are essential to my method of being a real estate agent. They are (in no particular order):

Excellence

I have a deep need to do excellent work. I can't settle for mediocrity, and I work tirelessly until whatever I'm doing is done right. Obviously, I'm not perfect. I will never be perfect regardless of how hard I work or dedicated I am. No one is perfect, but I will tell you that errors or oversights on my part are the most stressful aspect of my job. 

Yep; I've witnessed stress induced meltdowns, threats of lawsuits, overflowing plumbing, termite swarms, and many other difficulties, but my personal mistakes or errors are what keep me up at night. I want all of my work to be extremely well done and to be certain my clients are getting a fair deal. When I put my name on that yard sign or offer, I need to know everything is top quality. 

Unfortunately, and this has been one of the hardest things for me to learn, the "real world" makes this kind of excellence impossible sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am not working alone. I depend on a whole network of people, some of whom drop the ball occasionally. I feel responsible for everything affecting my clients, but realistically I know that I am not able to influence everything for the better. I've had clients negatively affected by lenders, closing companies, inspectors, contractors, and of course the people on the other side of the sale too.

Even if I didn't cause the problem, I feel 100% responsible and will do anything I can to find a solution for my clients. So, in order to stay sane, I focus on absolute dedication to excellence as a goal and a process, but try to help my clients understand that the "real world" involves mistakes and unpredictable difficulties.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Transparency

I believe in complete transparency between my clients and myself. I strive to be direct, clear, and open in all my dealings with clients. If I think a house isn't worth buying, I will unambiguously communicate exactly that. If I think a house is a good buy, I will say so and make it obvious. 

I believe transparency creates mutual trust, and trust is essential for any transaction. On the flip side of transparency is a respect for confidentiality. I carefully guard my client's information and spend a lot of time improving my understanding of how information affects negotiations and other aspects of the transaction. I refuse to charge deceptive fees, and I'm not a cheerleader for every and any offer, or every and any house. I don't dodge difficult conversations, and I want my clients to tell me if they are unhappy because I'm not delivering what they expect or want. 

Real estate transactions sometimes contribute to a lot of fear and anxiety on either or both sides of the sale. I find that these emotions can erode trust and cause paranoia. Part of my job is to help people through these difficult emotions, and I know that a high degree of transparency is absolutely necessary in achieving this.

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained. -Lao Tzu

Creativity

There is a lot of "buzz" about creativity among business commentators and educational professionals. What exactly is "creativity?" I think that's a question too broad to answer fully in this blog post, but as a rough definition, I think creativity is the ability to make opportunities out of obstacles. Creativity is the ability to take the givens of a broken or limited situation and make it work by synthesizing it with unlimited imagination. 

Creative people aren't just dreamers per se, rather; they have the ability to recognize their dreams when they come out of the clouds and land on the ground. Everyone has dreams and imagination, but it's the ability to recognize when our dreams and imaginations are coming to life in the "real world" that people call "creative." Creative people recognize and reject false dichotomies that seem like dilemmas. When a problem seems unsolvable, creative people change the problem. Creative people don't so much "think outside the box" as realize that the "box" is a self-imposed illusion and limitation. It isn't that "creative" people are wistful dreamers, but rather they are deeply pragmatic and imaginative. 

It's the presence of both qualities, practicality and imagination, that we call "creativity." Everyone has a story to tell, a song to sing, a building to design, or a business to innovate, but "creative" people are those who work with the given limitations and transform reality by setting pen to paper, brush to canvas, or funds to a business plan. I value creativity highly, and I'm continuously attempting to cultivate it in myself and others around me. All human beings are creative to a certain extent, we just sometimes need inspiration or motivation to pursue a creative mindset.

I like to stay open to the unknown and embrace risk. I try to follow inspiration and allow myself time to let the creative process unfold. Even in the day-to-day of black and white contracts, creativity is essential.

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. - Kurt Vonnegut
Jay Villella