Friday, December 31, 2021

Does Your Team Have Too Many Quarterbacks

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Ahhh, winter! The smell of burning fires, a few sprinkles down low and snowflakes in the higher elevations, cooler temps, the non-stop cadence of Christmas carols - its college football bowl season! A sport that’s truly American in its origins. Whether you played at a professional level or are just a fantasy geek - we ALL have played football!
What the heck does football have to do with commercial real estate? Indulge me and I will try to explain.
Some would say that the quarterback is the most important player on the gridiron. Certainly, in every level the quarterback is in charge. For all of you who have coached football at any youth level, you know that every kid wants to play QB. I still recall my first practice as coach of the All Star team. I showed up to be introduced to several quarterbacks. How do you field a team with that? The answer is you can't and nor can every kid play the position. A successful football team requires eleven offensive and eleven defensive players who can block, tackle, snap, pass, catch, run, and kick - a group effort.
Now to commercial real estate. As some of you are aware, I recently added an administrative assistant. I am building a team. Our assistant will work across from another team member who’s position is to execute the business we generate. Some refer to the role as a transaction coordinator. So far everything is proceeding nicely. We are a week in and she is learning, helping, and assimilating the myriad things we do as commercial real estate practitioners. But why is she doing well? Is it my expert training, my good natured soul, my dashing good looks, dumb luck? Maybe all or none of these, but probably some of these reasons. I would offer that the main reason we are achieving some success is because we are not all quarterbacks. The three of us have our distinct roles and responsibilities which intersect but are autonomous at the same time.
Building a commercial real estate team, hints:
  • Look for role players, not all "rain makers"
  • Place an emphasis on compatibility
  • Don't add a team member, just because your company will pay for it...
  • Think long and hard about what is "missing" from your practice and staff accordingly
  • Can the role be filled virtually?
  • Pretend you have a virtual assistant for a week or so and imagine what the team member would be doing for you that day
  • Consider carefully your strengths and weaknesses - I know, I hear a collective - we're good at everything" - Uhhh, no you are not! Or even in rare cases, just because you are doesn’t mean you should complete the tasks.
  • Family members are great but they are family members. One step removed is good - one of our team members is our son-in-law. If you changed their diaper, they may not heed your mentor ship.
  • Carefully craft a compensation package that will allow learning but provide incentive.
Good luck to you with all of the quarterback on your team. You may want to mix in a wide receiver. After all, someone must catch the ball when it’s thrown.
Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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