Below are the chapter summaries of the book Everybody Wins: The Story and Lessons Behind RE/MAX by Phil Harkins and Keith Hollihan:
Chapter 1: The Radical Reward-Sharing Idea That Overturned An Industry
As a young salesman in the early 1970s, Dave Liniger saw the tremendous potential of the real estate industry as well as its fatal flaws. Most real estate firms operated under a 50% commission model which frustrated agents and hampered a firm’s growth potential. Liniger believed that if he took a different approach he could build the biggest real estate company in the world.
Accordingly, he turned the traditional model on its head by offering RE/MAX agents 100% of their commissions along with all the advertising, branding, lead generation, administrative, and distance learning support they needed to be number one in the field. In the process, he created a growth-generating formula in which everybody wins.
Chapter 2: Anybody Who Said Yes
How did Dave Liniger draw so many committed, driven people to his dream? Not by picking carefully but by being picked. Most leaders who are involved actively in recruitment focus on converting talented people to their cause. Liniger presented a compelling vision of the world through his everybody wins principle and let those who believed in it fight passionately to execute on the plan. These “Passionate Champions”, still with RE/MAX 30 years later, signed on for Liniger’s dream because they knew that it had the potential to change the world and they wanted desperately to be part of the ride.
Chapter 3: What Business Are We In?
During times of great change, many companies don’t recognize what business they are really in. In the late 1800s, for example, powerful rail companies thought they were in the railroad car business, and failed to understand the innovations transforming the transportation industry. RE/MAX’s everybody wins principle led Liniger to a similarly critical realization: RE/MAX’s customers were not just the home buyers in the marketplace but also the real estate agents who represented the RE/MAX brand. This meant that RE/MAX was actually in the real estate agent development business. Its training, branding and innovation strategies fell into place accordingly, creating a distinct competitive advantage.
Chapter 4: One Log Makes A Lousy Fire
RE/MAX’s phenomenal growth did not happen by accident. Liniger realized early on that growing the dream would require outstanding implementation of core processes. He knew he needed a team of senior implementers with 1) incredible attention to detail; 2) unwavering resolve for flawless execution; and 3) obsession with on-time delivery on promises. Getting this in place allowed Liniger to focus his time and energy on the innovations that would grow the business. Many leaders try to manage both sides of the equation and suffer the failure of doing too much.
Chapter 5: Shackleton Leadership
Most companies give up, give in, or sell out too soon. Companies who stay the course can be market makers and market movers. Consider the founders of Google who could have cashed in at any point over recent years, but chose to stay true to the dream instead. In this chapter, we look at the many setbacks and surprises that RE/MAX encountered on its journey to amazing growth. Despite the worst, the agents and leaders never left. In fact, they kept signing on. That under-siege / outsider mentality is still part of the culture today. The leadership knows what it takes to survive and thrive in all conditions and the employees believe in that ability.
Chapter 6: Walking Onto the Stage
All great companies have stories about their hard times which are remembered as lessons for years to follow. During severe adversity, it is the courage to bear down and focus on what people need which carries a company forward. After Gail Liniger’s plane crash, Dave Liniger was at her bedside for months . Other leaders in the company rallied around the dream and kept it going. Life and death put all other problems in perspective, and giving up was never an option. Finally, the turn-around of the company began. At the annual convention, Gail Liniger walked onto the stage. The inspiration was heart soaring, and everyone knew that the company itself was going to make it.
Chapter 7: The Life Success Company
People work for more than a pay check. They want to have fun; they want to devote their best efforts to something bigger than themselves; and they want to grow as human beings. RE/MAX brokers and franchise owners recruit new agents by selling them on the RE/MAX dream; in particular, they focus on what the coaching, training and development efforts critical to the dream will do for their lives.
Chapter 8: Jumping Out In Front
Too many leaders hesitate to jump out in front on critical projects because they fear being over-bearing. Liniger, like Bill Gates now heading product development at Microsoft, takes the lead on projects which are key to exponential growth. When Liniger gets out in front, he brings considerable attention and energy to the idea, drawing others in his wake, accelerating the pace of development like a lead duck in a migrating flock or a Tour de France cyclist at the head of the peleton. Once he has built sufficient momentum for the idea, he falls back and lets others take the lead. It’s a formula which allows the company to make lightning fast leaps into new opportunities without losing focus on core processes.
Chapter 9: Soaring Above The Crowd
The spectacular growth of the company began in the late 1980s after twenty years of steady but unremarkable progress. No other company in the real estate industry matched its pace through the boom of the 1990s and, more significantly, the downturn that followed. The swelling of momentum had been tidal in nature, almost unseen below the surface. But sustained growth does not happen by accident. It is the result of a leadership focus on flawless execution, constant improvement, radical innovation and unwavering commitment to the dream. The lesson for other companies is simple: To create a dream worth pursuing across generations, that dream needs to be one in which everybody wins.
Chapter 10: Lessons In Growing A Great Company
In concluding this book, we review the lessons we have discovered regarding what it really takes to create, share, and grow a dream, and compare RE/MAX to our study of five other exceptionally growth-driven companies, examining the unfolding field research into how explosive growth is achieved.
About the Authors
Phil Harkins is President and CEO of Linkage, Inc., a global organizational and leadership development consulting company. In his own consulting and executive coaching work, Harkins focuses on working with senior leaders and teams at Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Widely recognized as an authority on leadership, communication, and growth, Harkins has delivered hundreds of speeches at public and in-house conferences, seminars, and programs around the globe. He is also the author of Powerful Conversations (McGraw-Hill, 1999) as well as the co-editor of The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching (Wiley, January 2005).
Keith Hollihan has co-authored several business and leadership books. He has also written dozens of articles for a wide range of leadership experts including such notable figures as C.K. Prahalad, David Gergen, Ken Blanchard, Noel Tichy, Marshall Goldsmith Michael Hammer and Sally Helgesen. Hollihan is also the co-editor of Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Path to Leadership (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, May 2005).
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