Peace Keeper to Market Leader

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:
Today, we are going to be talking to the CEO of RE/MAX. His story is, to me, one that is very powerful. We call it the Peacekeeper to the Market Leader.

Adam is the Chief Executive Officer at RE/MAX responsible for providing strategic direction, not only on all aspects of major RE/MAX corporate decisions but operations and resources of the company.

Following a successful career in law enforcement – one of my favorite subjects – Adam came to RE/MAX in 2003. He came as an independent contractor presenting a safety training program, interestingly enough. It is one he created specifically for real estate professionals. He introduced some highly regarded, safer safety awareness for every realtor to the RE/MAX affiliates and other agents across North America.

I guess they liked him. They liked him well enough because in 2004 he joined RE/MAX full time as a senior franchise development consultant for their Mountain States Region. He was named Region Vice President the following year.

In 2007, soon after RE/MAX LLC. acquired the formerly independent RE/MAX California and Hawaii regions. Adam was named its Region Vice President. In 2010, he moved to the RE/MAX Florida region. Which, under his leadership, was named Region of the Year for both 2011 and 2012.

Do you see a pattern here?

He was promoted to Vice President, Region Development, in 2013 and shifted his focus to business development. In 2014, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of marketing in 2015. In January 2016, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Soon after, in 2018, he was named Chief Executive Officer.

We are so excited to have Adam with us today.

Welcome, Adam, to the show.

We will start with our first question, Adam. How are you?

Adam Contos: I’m great, Cathy. Thanks for having me here today. I was just sitting here listening to everything you just went through and I’m thinking to myself, this is a fantastic discussion point for the audience because this is something that really drives everything that everybody does.

So, thank you for sharing your expertise on this.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, you are quite welcome, but we are so focused on you and your expertise.

I would love to know, with so much changing going on across not only the real estate ecosystem but also the greater business landscape over the past few months, what leadership lessons have you been able to apply, not only personally but also for this brand, this stellar brand, that RE/MAX has as a whole.

Adam Contos: I think that when we refine it down to what a leader needs to know, to begin with, I think you really nailed it there.

That’s the key aspect that we have to control our emotions. We have to be extraordinarily aware of them. You had mentioned we can’t outsource our thinking and so many people have. Then you throw this big can of gas on the fire with everything that is going on recently in society with health and societal change and disruption or whatever you want to call it.

The reality is, if you lose control of your emotions you are not going to be able to lead. That is really the key aspect of what I have been discussing with my leaders.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Talk a little bit about your background because it is very interesting from the standpoint that you were a peacekeeper and now you are a market leader. Tell us a little bit about how you learned these leadership lessons and why they are so important for where you are now.

Adam Contos: Sure, thanks, Cathy.

So, my leadership development goes actually back even further than my law enforcement career. The day after I graduated high school, I joined the marine corps. I started engaging in a lot of leadership training in the marines. The military has just an amazing leadership development course. Anybody who is listening who is in the military or in law enforcement recognizes that.

The idea is how do you put that to work. When you take a look at how I transition that into law enforcement, one of the key tools that I learned was the separation of emotion. What I had to find was the ability to reflect on my personal emotions and not take the emotion from the last call into the next call.

A lot of people in business, today, have that trouble because you go from meeting to meeting to meeting, or contract to contract, and all you are doing is building up anxiety during that process, or you are building up an emotional response.

That was probably one of the largest lessons that I learned and really the foundation for how you deal with a difficult situation. You deal with that situation from a clear emotional perspective where you go in with the right mindset instead of a mindset that has been impacted by past events or past feelings, particularly on that day.

Probably more than anything else, Cathy, that is one of the aspects of realization that I learned early on I was able to capitalize on, to build leadership with.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I have to say that that is a wonderful place to start because it is something all of us can control. We can control how many meetings we have in a day. We can control how we choose to organize our day and our schedule. So, I think what you just nailed for our listeners is recognizing what is happening to you when you go from one thing to the next thing to the next thing and you are just accumulating all of that energy.

That is a very powerful lesson.

I’d like to also share with everyone who is listening that Adam will be featured, not only in our OnePass, a brand new membership program for emotional brilliance our Emotional Brilliance Academy, which is a fully interactive e-learning platform developed by Knowledge Link and Syntax + Motion. Two of the leaders in e-learning.

But Adam is also going to be contributing to our new GovX Pass program which is specifically targeting law enforcement and military. I am delighted to include you in that group, Adam. Thank you.

Talk a little bit about what your company values are and how do you ensure that each and every one of your employees who are representing your brand are living up to those values.

Adam Contos: Great question, Cathy. Our values, as everybody knows, is our north star. It helps us define why we make the decision, why we have the actions that we do.

So, when I took over as CEO, we took a step back and I wanted to redefine our values. I wanted those to be mine. Every leader needs to own the values of their organization, whether or not those are formal or informal. Obviously, somebody in a military group or something can’t change the values of the military, but they can interpret those so that those under their leadership structure can appropriately deploy.

The same thing with business, you might not be able to change a massive corporate values statement, but you can certainly come up with one of your own.

The values that we redefined in the organization under my leadership spell out the word MORE. We wanted to make it simple. So, everybody could utilize MORE, and they could reflect on is this MORE?  Am I doing MORE? Simply put, MORE means deliver to the Max, be customer Obsessed, do the Right thing, and Everybody wins.

When you break that down, that really answers what you are trying to accomplish in society that helps the customer, that helps the community, helps your shareholders and your stakeholders collectively. So, it really builds a great direction for an organization and doesn’t make you question why you are doing something but actually reinforces why you should be doing something.

Listen to the entire interview, above.


Leave a Reply