3 Things Young Adult Businesses Need to Know to Survive

My children are all under the age of 5. And now, I have two girls. I am officially outnumbered. I am cherishing every moment with them, every new experience they have, and I appreciate being able to teach them how to live their best life. I don’t want to look too far ahead and rush their childhood, but I can’t help but dread the teenage years (I may have a positive mindset most of the time, but come on – I’m also a realist!). Terrible twos, my ass, at least they can’t drive or walk very far! What about the terrible teenage years (yes, years)? Crisis, over-confidence, and a whole lot of risk-taking. But it won’t last forever and before I know it, I’ll be 55 and my children will all be young adults.

This week, as I was thinking about my children growing up, I clearly saw the parallels to the 10 Stages of the Life Cycle of a Business that I first learned about at Business Mastery with Tony Robbins a few years ago. And while my kids are just infants and toddlers, my business is smack in the middle of the young adult stage.

The ultimate goal is to reach maturity. I want that for my children and my business. So what does one do to get from young adult to the zone of maximization? And more importantly, how do you keep moving forward and NOT slip back to a terrible teenager?

My companies recently had our quarterly off-sites and this was a major topic of conversation. The key characteristics of a young adult organization are:

  • anticipating the future
  • making more committed choices
  • limiting your focus
  • starting to focus on systems
  • redefining what success means long-term
  • redefining your identity
  • getting serious

Our companies are at a point where we can no longer be entrepreneurial and fly by the seat of our pants. When it’s just you or you have a very small team, it works. But if you have any desire to grow, scale, and eventually be working on the business, not in the business (or hell, not even working at all!), then you need to put your big girl panties on and act like a big girl company. This means, focusing on clear and realistic goals, establishing the company brand and identity, and focusing on systems and operations.

  1. Clear and Realistic Goals | None of this pie in the sky shit. Set realistic and actionable short-term goals – monthly, quarterly, yearly, and 3 years out. Any further out and you’re just wasting time. You’re still young, you don’t have to get married to your business plan, but you’ve got to have a few steady girlfriends. Now, that being said, while your short-term goals must be realistic and actionable, as a leader, you must always be telling the story and painting the long-term vision of your organization. This is where you can have a pie, a goat, whatever you want in the sky. Even as you are focused on the immediate goals of your company, you can’t forget to share where your company is going and often! As you drive towards completing projects and hitting quarterly objectives, you have to also challenge your team to think bigger and set even bigger, yet realistic, goals. Your vision is why they joined you in the first place. Every goal you set must also be assigned to one of your team members to ensure execution, it must have a deadline, and it must have a number attached to it.
    Example: Hergenrother Realty Group’s goal is to net 111 agents by December 31, 2016 and to net 1,000 agents by December 31, 2016 and have the systems and operations in place to support their production. 
  2. Establish the Company Identity | Your company is old enough now where you should have a pretty good idea of who you are and who you are going to be in the future. This means getting very clear on what product you will produce or carry, the services you are going to offer, what projects you will build, or the investments you will make. More importantly, who are you NOT. Now is the time to start saying no to some of the opportunities that comes across your plate and stay focused and committed on those that align with your company brand, as well as with your goals. This is also the time to invest in public relations and marketing to create a cohesive and consistent presence in order to build brand awareness.
    Example: BlackRock Construction has over 700 units in our development pipeline, which means we are beginning to say “No” to projects that do not align with our short-term (6 month) vision. 
  3. Systems and Operations | You cannot carry the company passwords, employee policy & procedures, checklists, phone manuals, etc. around in your head. The only way your company is going to grow is with extremely good systems, a well organized information sharing system, and checklists and manuals for everything. If you can’t duplicate it and if you can’t replace staff and keep operations running smoothly, then you won’t be able to grow. Systems and operations are not sexy, but neither do they have to be complicated. They are the foundation of building a massive organization, and they will allow you to do it faster and more efficiently. Keep them simple whenever possible and make it part of your culture to document everything.
    Example: BlackRock Construction is quickly moving from Young Adult to Maturity so we are making it a priority to slow down in order to speed up even more by hiring a consultant to upgrade our systems and standardize our processes in order to make our growth easier. 

The Young Adult stage is where the magic happens. This is where you can build the foundation for your company to rocket to the top. But beware what will happen if you don’t… you could fall back into the Teenage stage where you may have cash, but crisis is constant and over-confidence may lead to taking too many risks that you are unable to recover from.

Most importantly, as your Young Adult company starts to mature and you begin to hire 4.0 GPA Harvard MBA grads, do not forget what and who got you there in the first place – the entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic of yourself and your first hires. Don’t lose your company identity and entrepreneurial culture. Don’t let these new systems and operations kill the entrepreneurial animal that got your company to where it is. The systems should clean up your company growth, never slow it down. A clear focus and goals shouldn’t limit your opportunities, but create new and better ones that are aligned with your long term vision and company identity. Bottom line, your company may be moving towards maturity, but stay young, nimble, entrepreneurial, and enjoy the ride!


Top 5 Qualities of Legendary Leaders

The walls of my office are thin (one of the many reasons why I’m building a new office building) and at least once a week two of my staff members get into an epic argument. One of them is all about the relationships and one is all about the bottom line, so they are usually on the opposite end of issues, but that’s what makes them such a great team. And while I occasionally have to tell them to pipe down, their passion for the company and for their position is clear. They are willing to fight with each other for the good of the organization and I’m totally okay with that. In my book, arguments in an organization are a sign of growth. It is my job as a leader to encourage dissension and empower my team to make decisions at all levels of the organization.

leader vs bossTop down leadership is a thing of the past. Leadership knows no position. Employees need to be armed with information and empowered to make decisions. As a leader, I can create a clear vision, business plan, and budget that allows everyone to know where they are going, but the team can dictate the HOW and pivot as needed along the way. In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing landscape, a nimble organization is a must.

So how does one lead a company into the future when the game is constantly changing? What are the top 5 qualities of a legendary leader? Here’s what I think:

  1. They are Hungry. Legendary leaders are curious cats. They have a voracious appetite for knowledge and a visceral desire to learn, grow, and have as many new experiences as possible, regardless of the outcome. Life will always give you an out (hello snooze button), but if you have an internal hunger and drive to create and contribute something to the world, then you will succeed. You must have a deep rooted hunger to grow and progress on a daily basis. Your hunger may come from a less than ideal childhood, a chip on your shoulder, a drive to prove someone wrong, or it may come from a desire to give back to your community, or share your talent and create something beautiful in the world. Wherever your hunger comes from, tap into it daily. Everything seems easier for great leaders, but that’s because their relentless hunger is driving every decision they make. They know what they want and they fearlessly pursue their goal.
  2. They Lead Themselves First. Legendary leaders lead by example and devote a significant amount of time to becoming emotional fit leaders. If you are not able to lead yourself, then who will follow you? I have an extensive personal development routine (meditation, journaling, nature walks, reading, and exercise) that I complete every day in order to be my best self. If I am not at my best, then I will not be able to lead my company at the level I need to. You will be tested daily and you must be able to push through the challenges thrown at you with a clear head. The emotional fitness of a leader is paramount to the success of an organization.
  3. They Never Give Up. Legendary leaders are constantly failing, but they never fail. Failing means you are continuing to try, refine, and try again in pursuit of your goal. Failure means that you gave up. Great leaders understand that it is not the hand that they are dealt that determines whether they are successful or not, it’s how they play the game.

    The best leaders make sure they are instilling this value in their entire team, as well. Our company mantra is, “There is always a way.” Because there is. But I can not be the only one in my company who believes in never giving up. I have to surround myself with a team who believes this and practices this every day. We’re always going to have problems (if you don’t want problems, you might as well go lie in a box six feet under right now). My goal is to constantly have better quality problems and then teach my team to think and find creative solutions to these challenges. No matter how long it takes, we never give up.

  4. They Practice Self-Discipline. Legendary leaders are creatures of habit. Whether that is daily meditation or quarterly employee advances (aka retreats – but we never retreat at Hergenrother Enterprises!), great leaders have established habits and a rhythm to their life that enables them to build a foundation of emotional fitness (see point 2) so they can continue to grow. Small habits lead to geometric growth.One of the most difficult, but one of the most important, habits for a leader to develop is the ability to say, “No.” Saying no requires an extreme amount of self-discipline, but is often the things you say no to that you will end up being most proud of. It’s definitely not always the “cool” thing to do to say no to happy hour or to say no to a new business opportunity. But the thing is, when you say no, you’re actually opening yourself up to opportunities that are in line with your personal mission and your goals, instead of being distracted by the latest whatever (squirrel!). Saying no is the first step in taking control of your life. Think about this the next time you are saying yes just to make someone else happy: It is the people that are willing to say no in the midst of the noise of the world and unending peer pressure that are the ones who end up being respected the most. People take notice when you are willing to step outside the box of mediocrity and be different!
  5. fishThey Succeed Through Others. Legendary leaders are coaches and mentors to their team. They understand that no one can succeed alone and they make it their mission to share the vision of the organization and attract the best people in the world to their company. The best leaders also know that talent is not enough. You must hire other leaders in order for everyone to grow. Coaching my team members is a critical component of my leadership. I am teaching them to think for themselves and asking questions in order for them to self-discover and find the answers. Teach a man how to fish, right?

    My job is to recruit and hire the best players, but the players are the ones who are going to take us to the Super Bowl. I must succeed through them in order to wear the championship ring. When I find leaders and put them into my organization, I have a responsibility to them to be hungry, to lead myself first, to never give up, and to practice self-discipline so that I am always coaching them at the highest level. I spread the vision, remove roadblocks, and hold them accountable to their goals. And to bring it completely full-circle, I build leaders by encouraging disagreements and independent thinking. Great leaders create more leaders.

Looking for even more? Click here for 50 things you can do to be a better leader. 

Remember, as a leader, when you hire the best people on the planet, you should wake up every day and make your one thing about your people hitting their goals. For who? For them. Together you will be legendary.

Work Less and Live More by Mastering These 2 Skills

After 36 hours in the hospital and a few false starts, on Monday, August 8 at 11:49pm , my beautiful and strong wife, Sarah, and I welcomed our third child into the world, Madelyn Rae Hergenrother. She is tiny and pink and perfect. Though this is our third, it is still such a profound moment to see the birth of new life, life that you created. A moment I wouldn’t miss for anything.

In fact, this week, I launched a pretty major new coaching program with KW MAPs Group Coaching. We even had the our video played in front of thousands of people. But I didn’t attend. I was exactly where I needed to be – with my family. The beauty is, my team was there in my absence to help promote the program, answer questions, and get people signed up.

In addition to launching a new coaching program this week, I am opening several Market Centers in Maryland, buying properties in NY, building a new office building, as well as building a new personal house, finalizing a huge ALZ project, on-boarding three new CEOs for real estate teams in Minnesota and Florida, and having one of the best months ever at my Vermont Market Center. None of that could happen without having an incredible team running alongside me. Those, my friends, are real-life example of priorities and leverage.

So, how does one truly work less and live more? There are two key things you must master in order for this to happen.

  1. Control Your Schedule  If time is money, than you don’t want to waste it! We’ve talked about time blocking before (you can see my complete schedule here). But it does go beyond that. It means being incredibly strategic about WHAT you time block, which means you’ve better be incredibly clear on your priorities and standards. What’s the point of time blocking drinks with your friends, if you always flake out to go kayaking? If kayaking is the priority – time block that! And perhaps re-frame your standard with your friends. Instead of weekly drinks, maybe your standard becomes once a month. Whatever it is, get clear. Very clear. And then don’t let anything derail you.

    Make sure you also think about when you are most productive and schedule your most important work (projects, financial meetings, interviews, writing, etc.) then. I tend to work in spurts. I have about 3 hours in the morning from about 8am – 11am where my schedule is packed (thanks Hallie!) with strategy meetings with my leadership team, interviews, and writing/content creation time. After I head to the gym, eat lunch and mediate, I have another burst of “work” time from about 2pm-4:30pm. Did you do the math? Yup, I am in office with my team and working on projects for about 5.5 hours a day. Fridays are flexible. That’s less than 30 hours a week.

    work life harmonyNow, don’t get me wrong, I’m still checking emails early in the morning and late into the night, or reviewing financials and reading articles on the weekend, and listening to audio books while I’m driving, but that is just integrated into my life.  I can do those things wherever I am and I would do them regardless if I had a 9-5 job or was Elon Musk (okay, maybe if I was Elon, I would have my robot do some of these things for me).

    I’ve been able to create this schedule and this life by being brutally accountable to my calendar and being laser-focused on my priorities. I have no problem saying “no” to after-hours work events, social engagements, or meeting requests (and I get a LOT of them) that interfere with my priorities – my health, my family, and my lifestyle.

    Recently, I read about work-life harmony (we all know work-life balance is a myth), and if you live in work-life harmony, than your life is just that, in harmony! All that “before and after hours” work I referenced above is just harmony for me. I love doing those things. I love having people count on me too, for those big decisions, being able to shoulder the challenges and stress and help provide direction and clarity for my team. It drives me, which is why I love hiring amazing people who rely on me to cast the vision, grow the organization, and create new opportunities and companies. Which brings me to my next point…

  2. Build an Amazing Team  You will only be able to take your company, your team, or your division so far. You need to surround yourself with the best people on the planet in order to maximize your reach, get more done in the same amount of time, and tap into the creative power and experience of those who are smarter than you and experts in their particular areas of business. Asking me to put together a training manual, or complete payroll paperwork, or oversee the day to day operations of one of my companies, or organize and execute an event would be a mistake. So I hire people who not only love those tasks, but excel at them! The benefit to me is that I can then spend that time engaged in the activities that I love and excel at – creating and communicating the vision, teaching and training, and building an amazing team.

    Not only did my team represent at Mega Camp this week, but I can leave for a week or more (sometimes without cell or internet service) and my companies not only continue to run, but thrive. It is my mission to create a world big enough to bring as many talented people into it as possible, set goals with them, and then hold them accountable to the results. But I don’t have to be there every day doing the work and together we all succeed that much faster. Once you have your team in place, work with them to set serious goals and also create serious wins for them – individually and as a team. Team goal = team win.madelyn and adam
    Master the art of controlling your schedule and recruiting top talent and hiring the very best in the business and you will be working less and living more before you know it!

    Your schedule and your team are the foundation for living a life without limits.

    Now, time for more newborn snuggles!



How to Choose Opportunity Every Day

Every morning when your alarm clock goes off you have a choice: get up and get moving or hit snooze and stay in bed. You can either choose laziness and procrastination or victory. How do you start your day?

We’ve all been there. You’re tired and the last thing you want to do is leave the warmth of your bed. Maybe you stayed up too late working on a project, maybe you went to bed early, but got woken up by your kids four times in the middle of the night. It doesn’t matter. Those are all just excuses. When it’s time to get moving, get moving!

alarm_clockWhen your alarm clock (or as I like to call it, your opportunity clock) goes off, you’ve got to ignore the devil on your shoulder that is trying to convince you to break your promise to yourself. You said you would get up at 5:00am, so get up! This is the most important decision of your day. This decision will set the tone for the rest of your day. And those daily decisions will compound into the decisions of your weeks, months, years, and your life. Choose victory. Believe me, you don’t want to look back and regret all the time you wasted laying in bed scrolling through Twitter! Get up. Get going. Get yours.

Choose opportunity every day.

Getting up when your alarm goes off and resisting the urge to hit snooze is such a small decision, but has such a massive impact on your life. Sure, you’re gaining more time in your day. But the benefits go far beyond just time. This simple decision leaks into all aspects of your life. You are practicing your emotional fitness, you are engaging in a disciplined activity first thing in the morning, you are creating a standard in your life that will give you the confidence to break through problems and to think bigger. With energy and confidence, you are able to tackle problems at a much higher level. You will break through mediocrity and live a life without limits that much faster! Saying yes to your opportunity clock is the first step.

The only way you’re going to make massive changes and increase your quality of life is by doing things that are uncomfortable. Getting up early is one of them! It requires discipline and focus. When you’re off your game or lacking motivation, just start by doing something simple right then. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier then you normally would to get in some meditation or yoga. Make your bed. Put on a kick-ass power suit. Mow the lawn. Bring your partner flowers. It doesn’t matter what it is, but take action. Growing into a big life isn’t one big moment, it’s small actions over time that allows you to hit your geometric curve.

Saying yes to your opportunity clock is the most important thing to say yes to every day. That small decision creates a habit, which in turn creates more habits and will catapult your confidence and enable you to build even bigger habits in your life. The cool thing is, no matter where you are in your life’s journey – you will go to sleep tonight and get to decide how you live tomorrow.

Choose wisely.

And if you need a little extra help getting up in the morning, check out these cool alarm clocks!