I picked Gary because of his strong intelligence and strategic capability, and his high emotional intelligence—really relevant to my situation, given the personalities and closely-held nature of our business. The chemistry was good, Gary’s value system is similar to mine, and he also has the right combination of hard and soft skills. I’ve been working with Gary for five years now, and CO2’s business model—monthly fee for service, two meetings a month, available as needed—provides a good combination of consistent and emergency support. I also work with Gary in the strategic planning process on an annual basis. That has been catalytic. He’s often introducing new models from his readings and research, which I find helpful. The planning process helps galvanize plans for the entire year, and the monthly check-ins are like the maintenance program. It’s change through osmosis. Because of some of the structural changes we’ve implemented, my business is expanding, and I’m able to spend more time in my week focusing on bigger things. I’ve been willing to take on greater levels of personal responsibility inside the organization in terms of my role, and I think I’m a much better leader—some due to coaching, some due to more experience. We’re building apartment buildings now ($25-50 million transactions), which are 5-10 times the size of transactions from before. It does pay dividends to stay the course.
CEO Real Estate Equities