A question and answer session with Jerry Siegel, president of JASB Management Inc.
Q. What does JASB stand for?
A. Jointly Achieving Successful Business. No one does it alone. For many executives and their teams getting to a place called success often requires some outside coaching and training. With it, a good leader can become a great leader and a productive staff can become highly productive. It doesn't matter whether you're leading a real estate brokerage or property management firm, financial institution or professional service firm, people are people. Everyone responds to the same motivations and tools.
Q. Can you explain the services you provide at JASB?
A. We are a business management and consulting firm specializing in integrated leadership and organizational development. We help businesses achieve sustainable growth and profitability. We do so by coaching in such as areas as leadership, communication, goal setting, motivation, time management and productivity improvement. Right now, in the real estate industry as with many others, we're seeing a proliferation of so-called productivity apps. These iPhone apps are intended to help professionals better manage their contacts, listings, documentation, etc. What they fail to do, however, is reach the psychology of the person which is where it all starts. Our focus is on people-helping leaders get better results through others and individuals improve their personal and organizational productivity.
Q. Were you always in this field?
A. No, however my background prepared me well for this role. I was a CPA and then served as the CEO of a successful service business. In the latter position, I grew the company's staff and revenues by multiples of six and 15, respectively. When I left, there were 125 employees generating annual revenues of over $14 million. My education (MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business in Management and Taxation and B.S. in Accounting from Pennsylvania State University) provided a good foundation and my subsequent training and certifications from organizations such as The Alternative Board (TAB), Leadership Management Inc. (LMI), The President's Resource Organization (PRO) and the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), for which I was a former vice president and educational coordinator, further prepared me for my current role at JASB and as co-president of the Organizational Development Network of Long Island (ODNLI).
Q. How do JASB's programs help businesses in the real estate and aligned fields?
A. Two programs which are gaining great results for our clients are the "Getting Results through Others" and "Improving Performance & Results." The first focuses on helping executives develop and manage their human capital. It teaches them how to motivate their staff to be productive. The emphasis is on training leaders in several areas from clarifying goals and expectations to effective training techniques, decision-making, problem-solving and creating strong teams that are aligned with one another and the company's goals. Earlier this year, we completed "The Getting Results..." program with a mid-sized New York real estate brokerage firm which, after two decades of steady growth, was trying to advance to the next level. From the CEO's point of view, the program was extremely effective in helping him develop new management methods and systems which are enabling him to lead his team toward better performance. He is now rolling out a program for some of his senior staff. That's typically what happens after an executive starts seeing the benefit.
Q. Are there tangible results to these programs?
A. Yes and they are quick to gain and measurable. I stay in contact with my clients well after their programs conclude. Inevitably, I learn that they are now meeting or exceeding their goals; whether that meant securing new clients, gaining more referrals, closing deals, or attracting a higher caliber of new hires. One client echoed the sentiments I often hear, which is "You have helped me in developing a path to success."
Q. Does the size of the company matter?
A. I've found that everyone can benefit from training on smart goal setting, as well as communication and productivity improvement. However, for smaller businesses, training a larger proportion of their staff often has a much greater impact on results, which are also attained more quickly than in larger companies.
Q. All sectors of the real estate industry are being challenged by current market conditions. Are programs like yours equally effective in a difficult economy?
A. Some executives pull back when it gets tough, but that's the best time to stop, evaluate and improve to make sure you and your team are doing everything right to create opportunities for the business, improve productivity and contain costs. If everyone is motivated, pulling in the same direction, and working smart, you are in a much better position to achieve your goals-even when lending is tight, vacancies are high, and both buyers and sellers may be harboring unrealistic expectations.
Q. Are there certain hallmarks of a good leader in the real estate industry?
A. The same traits are desirable in a top executive for a property management firm, law firm, brokerage, bank, service firm, manufacturer or retailer. The best leaders have winning attitudes and are highly motivated. They've also learned how to motivate others, set clear goals, communicate effectively, and follow a well-established plan. It's not rocket science, but it's amazing how many executives do not make the investment in cultivating these traits and best practices. Then, as the market starts to recover as it is now doing, they are not able to capitalize on these improved market conditions.
Q. What's your best advice for executives and professionals in the real estate industry today?
A. The average person uses 15-20% of their potential. High achievers use only about 33%. That means there is a lot of potential left to develop in your most important and expensive asset-your people. You can chart a course for success, by mastering important skills in yourself and your staff.