This last week I traveled to a real estate convention in New Orleans. One of the breakout sessions I attended was titled, “What It Takes To Build A Championship Team.” The class was taught by Don Yaeger, an American sports journalist, and author of almost two dozen books, including some that have been on The New York Times Best Seller list. 

Don has traveled the globe interviewing top winning teams and players in every sport imaginable. He is primarily a sought after speaker to discuss lessons on achieving greatness, learned from first-hand experience with some of the greatest sports legends in the world. Companies invite him in to coach their leaders, management teams, and employees on building a culture of greatness. 

I was a little surprised when Don told us his entire hour and fifteen minute session today would be discussing “team culture.” He explained that team culture is the single most important thing that creates greatness. Don began the class by having us write down what our team culture looks like today.

I took out my pen and notepad to write down a few things that I think describe the culture of my real estate team:

  • Our clients’ needs come first – our clients’ goals come before our individual or team goals.

  • Honesty – in everything we do.

  • Work Ethic – the desire to work at the highest standard; to be the very best we can be in everything we do.

  • Respect – for those we work with, those we work for, and everyone we meet.

  • Learning Based – we are constantly striving to be more knowledgeable about our industry, the work we do, and how we can better service our clients.

  • Passion – because we love our work and it shows.


Next, Don asked us to look at that list and ask ourselves these questions, “Do you hire to match these values? Do you discuss your culture with potential new hires? Do you interview people that are a good culture fit for your team?”

Personally, I didn’t even have to think about this. We absolutely do hire people that fit these values. After looking at my notes again today, I might also add, “We like to joke around and have fun.” Honestly, you have to have a good sense of humor to work on my team and be in real estate. This is a stressful business of helping people with their home, money, and family. Without a good sense of humor, it may drive you nuts. 

My team culture is one of helping our clients, but also of helping each other. While several of my team members were in New Orleans with me, we still had three agents back home here in Kansas City. When someone needs to see a home quickly, there is always another team member to jump in and open a door for them.

In the next couple months, my team will be hiring another transaction coordinator and at least two more real estate agents. We have a lengthy hiring process already, but I want to be absolutely sure we only hire people that fit our culture. I have a great little work family and I refuse to mess that up.

I also know the next book I read will be reading is by Don Yaeger – Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently.