As the CEO of integrated home experience holding company kwx, Carl Liebert is deeply committed to interlinking all facets of the Keller Williams ecosystem and creating a streamlined experience for agents and clients alike. To accomplish this, he’s hit the ground running, bringing the concept of ‘OneTeam. One Mission’ at the forefront of the KW vernacular from day one.
“I think about how we show up and serve our agents and their clients, bringing this incredible Keller Williams company that is at the forefront of everything we’ve done, and starting to link how we show up with Keller Williams Worldwide, Keller Mortgage, Keller Covered and Keller Offers,” Liebert explains. “It is bringing these together to harness the power of the ecosystem to serve agents.”
Bringing a team of 1,500 associates together under the same overarching goal may seem like a massive undertaking, but it also happens to be one that Liebert has trained intensely for throughout his extensive career. With a penchant for going big or going home, he’s served some of the largest players across a multitude of industries: starting with his time in the United States Navy and prolonged stints at General Electric, Circuit City, Home Depot, 24HR Fitness, and the USAA.
Within each of these environments, he has taken teams to the next level by tapping into his ability to unite people – a value that was instilled in him from a very young age by his father. “Throughout his career, everything that he did was to make people better by bringing them together,” Liebert shares. “When I was old enough, we talked a lot about how you get everybody in the game. The secret is getting everyone in, and then creating a space where they genuinely want to work together and like each other, but also understand that they’re going to have to hold each other accountable.”
A One Team, One Mission Approach for All
When describing the concept of One Team, One Mission Liebert has a simple, yet effective analogy in mind. “We have a tendency to think we’re in competition with each other, but when we put on the KW jersey, we’re playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not for the name on the back of the jersey,” he says.
Here, the leader shares how he is putting this vision into practice and the considerations to keep at the forefront as you implement this mindset across your own team:
Examine your core beliefs: Implementing a One Team approach across all kwx properties has come naturally to Liebert due in part to the solid strategy behind the approach. However, having a tightly-woven canvas in the form of core beliefs has been integral to process.
“We’re blessed. We start with such a deep foundation with our core beliefs: Win-win or no deal, and how we think about success through others. What we want to do is put together the what and the how.”
In your own world, think through how you want to show up and the values that are important to you in doing so. For Liebert, these include being respectful, transparent, responsible and accountable.
Show up as yourself (and encourage others to do the same): Within the workplace, Liebert shares, it is important for him to show up as who he is. In turn, that is a comfort that he is committed to offering his entire team. “I want everybody to be able to bring their whole self to work, whatever that may mean to them. Then, we fit that within the team.”
Liebert argues that diversity among team members makes a team stronger. To create an extraordinarily successful team, ensure that people are comfortable being themselves at work and create a safe environment that allows them to do so.
Make space for everyone to be heard: In a company of hundreds, there are bound to be an assortment of personality types, and a true leader will recognize and make space for those whose personalities may not match their own. “You have to really look around the room,” Liebert says.
“If you are having a meeting and someone is being extraordinarily quiet, how do you draw them in? You have to learn the practice of listening and bringing those folks into the conversation because they have been listening and learning and have great ideas.”
Keep score of your mistakes: As a freshman in the Naval Academy, Liebert learned a valuable lesson from his coach: as a player, you cannot make two mistakes in a row. “As a player, the first mistake is on the court – you miss a shot. That’s going to happen. But your second mistake is putting your head down. Instead, hustle back and make a play.”
For high achievers, not winning leaves behind a tendency to put your head down. Instead, Liebert says, that’s the perfect time to think through why you may have lost in the first place, what can be done differently, and how you can grow from the experience.
Communicate with your team: Being a leader is a humbling experience. Liebert shares that he’s had his fair share of fail forward moments along the way. In one particular instance that taught him the importance of communication, the CEO was serving 24-Hour Fitness during the great financial crisis of 2009 and spoke to his team from a place of deep ambition.
“I made this comment in a leadership team meeting, that I want to make this quarter,” he remembers. “And what got translated at the club level was that we would do so by saving money and costs and not having a great customer experience.” That experience not only led to Liebert walking into the room and admitting the mistake, but also cultivated his understanding of the power of words.
He encourages fellow leaders to not only provide clarity on what is being said, but give the context of how, why, and what you are not willing to compromise on.
Ultimately, Liebert’s mission is to bring people together so that Keller Williams shows up for their clients in a meaningful way – especially in today’s competitive market. “That’s the power of a team. Are we showing up and helping each other? Is everybody in my office playing with us or are some playing as individuals?” He encourages business leaders to think about these principles and frameworks and apply them within their own businesses.
How will YOU be moving toward a One Team approach?