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Leadership Lens: Hire brilliant and competitive people


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Inman is exploring what the future of real estate leadership should look like through a series of articles, Q&As with industry pros, and an upcoming five-part series called Leadership Week. Please send your feedback to If you’re a leader who wants to join us for our exclusive Disconnect in The Desert event on March 26-28, or want to recommend a colleague, send a note to explaining why.

Jed Carlson is the chief executive officer of Adwerx, a digital marketing platform for real estate. Jed believes real estate agents should get the same tools as rock stars, literally.

Jed is obsessed with taking on the digital challenges that face small businesses, and building scalable, simple and affordable products to solve them. He is also an active angel investor, mentor and advisor to over ten tech startups. And he’s is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences on technology and digital marketing.

We recently got the opportunity to sit down with Jed and pick his brain about where real estate leadership is headed in 2018.

As a leader, what keeps you up at night?

If I were to breakdown my sleepless hours, I would say 25 percent are spent thinking about internal alignment — is everyone pulling on the same rope, and if not, how do we fix that?

Twenty-five percent is big picture strategy — have we identified the right opportunities to pursue, and do we have a solid plan to pursue them?

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Another 25 percent is spent thinking about people — our team, our customers and partners, our shareholders.

And the last 25 percent is probably spent on broader topics about the industry, the economy, humanity, etc.

If you could change one thing in real estate, what would it be?

If I could wave a magic wand to standardize data and make it open and available to all, I would absolutely do that. Advertising automation (what we do) requires data as the input.

Whether you want a “Just listed” ad to start automatically after the listing agreement is signed, a “Just sold” ad to start automatically after a listing is sold, or a sphere of influence (SOI) ad to start automatically after a new agent joins the firm, we need data to power them all.

How have your expectations of your management team changed over the past two years?

We’ve gone through rapid expansion, as have a lot of companies and brokerages, so we’ve asked our team to take on more. Because of this, I’ve asked my team for more transparency and collaboration than ever — it’s the best way to help us all stay on task and keep pace with innovation.

It’s important to systematize and automate what you can so you aren’t rethinking everything each time. Great systems lead to consistent results. I believe it’s the leader’s job to inspire and support the organization’s collective responsibility to create a better future for the company, and I empower everyone on my management team to do their part to impact this future.

How do you keep your team competitive?

Hire brilliant and competitive people that align with our core values. Then give them freedom within the company’s strategic framework. Try to expose everyone to our customers and partners so they can hear firsthand the changing needs and changing market. After that, its alignment, alignment, alignment.

With so much disruption in real estate, what’s your best advice for managing change?

My advice is to embrace change. I’ve seen this happen in both of the other industries with which I have been involved — music and printing/packaging. There’s always going to be disruption. The challenge is to never let disruption distract you from your core values and your core mission. But it can help you envisage a better way to get there.

Disruption always makes me reevaluate what the end state will ultimately be for the transaction being contemplated.

Want to connect with Jed? You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Email Matthew Shadbolt

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