– Brandon Doyle interviewed Adam Contos, the former CEO of RE/MAX, as part of his Snapshot series.
– Contos’s experience as CEO of RE/MAX highlighted the importance of empathy, effective communication, and kindness in leadership.
– Contos has since transitioned to Area 15 Ventures and is involved in executive leadership courses and his podcast, “Start With a Win.”
– Contos advocated for the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in the real estate industry and emphasized the need for trust and security in adopting blockchain technology.
– He believes in lifelong learning, personal growth, and embracing technology for successful leadership.
– Contos shared his recent wins, including the acquisition of Port of Subs and the buyout of the minority owner of Daddy’s Chicken Shack, and expressed excitement about the growth trajectory of these companies.
As part of his Snapshot series, Brandon Doyle peers into the mind of a distinguished leader who’s helped shape the real estate landscape on a global scale: Adam Contos, the former CEO of RE/MAX.
Inman contributor Brandon Doyle made it his goal to interview 100 real estate professionals. Here’s a Snapshot of those conversations.
This is a unique opportunity to peer into the mind of a distinguished leader who’s helped shape the real estate landscape on a global scale: Adam Contos, the former CEO of RE/MAX. Contos stepped down in March 2022 to be replaced by interim CEO and board member Stephen Joyce. Just this week, RE/MAX announced that former CEO of the DISH Network Corporation Erik Carlson would take the helm.
As a titan in the real estate industry who served 19 years at RE/MAX, Contos’s insights and experiences shed light on the interplay between leadership, technology, market resilience, housing affordability and the lifelong pursuit of learning. Find out what he’s up to since leaving, how he envisions the future for both Realtors and legacy brokerages, what books he reads and how he maintains continuous personal growth.
Leadership and life after
Leadership is a multifaceted journey, and Contos’s experience as CEO of RE/MAX attests to this. When asked about his most challenging decision, his response illuminates the intersection of business and empathy, “Business is people, and people matter,” he says, emphasizing the heart-wrenching decisions of ending relationships with employees or franchises. He stresses that dignity, kindness and effective communication are key pillars that shape successful leadership in any industry.
Contos has since transitioned from RE/MAX to Area 15 Ventures, an investment group focused on growing businesses in the franchise space. He partners with Dave and Gail Liniger, co-founders of RE/MAX; the team currently owns Port of Subs and Daddy’s Chicken Shack. In addition, Contos shares his leadership expertise through executive leadership courses and his podcast, “Start With a Win.”
The philosophy “start with a win,” which is also the title of Contos’ book, permeates his approach to business. He believes in owning outcomes, maintaining a strong locus of control and rejecting a culture of blame. This principle not only aids personal growth but also sets a positive precedent for the wider organization.
Legacy brokerages have a role to play
The recent surge in tech innovation opens up new avenues for growth and customer experience in the real estate industry. Contos advocated for the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into RE/MAX years before it gained industrywide recognition, especially with the acquisition of First.io, an AI tool that predicts when contacts are likely to sell a home. He urges his peers to harness powerful language models like ChatGPT to improve efficiency in the real estate space.
Regarding blockchain, Contos acknowledges the technology’s potential but emphasizes the need for trust and security before it’s broadly adopted, particularly given the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.
Understanding the cyclical nature of the housing market is crucial to navigating potential downturns. Contos attributes RE/MAX’s resilience to its business model, focusing on top producers and maintaining a high level of expertise and experience. It’s about adjusting your sails in the wind, and RE/MAX does just that by investing in regular training and education for its agents and brokers.
Constant personal and professional development
As housing affordability becomes a pressing issue globally, Contos emphasizes the crucial role companies like RE/MAX play in facilitating community growth and financial education. The impact of large corporations is in shaping policies and promoting local efforts to improve living conditions, and he envisions Realtors playing an active role in this process.
Lifelong learning is a mantra Contos adheres to strictly. He underscores the value of personal growth, the importance of being a part of mastermind groups, and the benefits of reading, all crucial components of successful leadership. Contos believes in constantly seeking knowledge, embracing diverse perspectives, and fostering a culture of growth within an organization.
His reading list spans diverse genres, with favorites such as The Fifth Discipline, Atomic Habits and Extreme Ownership. He listens to a plethora of podcasts, with a current interest in AI and language models for lead generation and small business leadership.
Wrapping up, Contos shared his recent wins, celebrating the acquisition of Port of Subs and the buyout of the minority owner of Daddy’s Chicken Shack. He expressed excitement about the growth trajectory of these companies, underpinned by customer engagement and localized marketing.
Contos underscored that the real victories are not just in acquisition and growth, but in creating opportunities for individuals to thrive within these organizations. With a team full of potential and passion, and a leadership philosophy rooted in empathy, lifelong learning and embracing technology, the future is undoubtedly promising for Contos and his ventures.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — RE/MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.
Property Chomp's Take:
In his Snapshot series, Brandon Doyle sits down with influential leaders in the real estate industry to gain insights into their experiences and perspectives. One such leader is Adam Contos, the former CEO of RE/MAX, who has made a significant impact on the global real estate landscape. As Doyle interviews 100 real estate professionals, Contos offers a unique glimpse into his mind and shares his thoughts on leadership, technology, market resilience, housing affordability, and continuous personal growth.
Contos's journey as CEO of RE/MAX was a multifaceted one, filled with challenges and difficult decisions. He emphasizes the importance of treating people with dignity and kindness, and communicating effectively as key pillars of successful leadership. Since stepping down from RE/MAX, Contos has transitioned to Area 15 Ventures, an investment group focused on growing businesses in the franchise space. He also shares his leadership expertise through executive leadership courses and his podcast, "Start With a Win."
Contos believes in the philosophy of "starting with a win," which he also explores in his book of the same name. This philosophy encourages individuals to take ownership of their outcomes, maintain control over their actions, and avoid blaming others. By adopting this mindset, Contos believes individuals can achieve personal growth and set a positive example for their organizations.
Contos recognizes the role that technology plays in the real estate industry's growth and customer experience. He advocated for the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into RE/MAX, and he encourages his peers to leverage powerful language models like ChatGPT to improve efficiency in the real estate space. While he acknowledges the potential of blockchain technology, he highlights the need for trust and security before widespread adoption, especially considering the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.
Understanding the cyclical nature of the housing market is crucial, according to Contos. He attributes RE/MAX's resilience to its business model, which focuses on top producers and maintains a high level of expertise and experience. By investing in regular training and education for its agents and brokers, RE/MAX adapts to changing market conditions and ensures its success.
Contos also emphasizes the important role that companies like RE/MAX play in facilitating community growth and financial education, particularly in addressing the issue of housing affordability. He believes that large corporations can shape policies and promote local efforts to improve living conditions, and he envisions Realtors playing an active role in this process. Contos is a firm believer in lifelong learning and personal growth. He emphasizes the value of being a part of mastermind groups, reading books, and listening to podcasts. By constantly seeking knowledge and embracing diverse perspectives, individuals can foster a culture of growth within their organizations.
In wrapping up the interview, Contos shared his recent victories, including the acquisition of Port of Subs and the buyout of the minority owner of Daddy's Chicken Shack. He expressed excitement about the growth trajectory of these companies and highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for individuals to thrive within organizations.
With a leadership philosophy rooted in empathy, lifelong learning, and embracing technology, the future looks promising for Contos and his ventures. His insights and experiences offer valuable lessons for real estate professionals looking to navigate the challenges of today's market and prepare for future opportunities.