Collaborative Competition: Thad Wong

Casey Gordon | October 14, 2016

If you spent too long scrolling through Thad Wong’s honors and awards, you might end up with a nasty case of carpal tunnel. We’ll spare you the trouble with a few highlights: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Midwest, Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500/5000, and Crain’s Chicago Business’s Fast Fifty and 40 Under 40.

Thad cofounded @properties with business partner Michael Golden in 2000 and over sixteen years he’s helped take the company from $40 million in annual sales to over $7 billion.

Sound like a lot? That’s because it is. Today @properties holds the #1 market share in the city of Chicago. It’s also the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage firm in Illinois by sales volume.

Thad’s mission has always been to build a real estate company in which both the broker and client experience the highest level of service and support, especially by infusing creativity and collaboration into what is typically regarded as a hyper-competitive industry.

Spoiler alert: it’s working.

Thad shares 5 ways to encourage collaboration in a competitive workplace:

1.Be yourself. When leaders are vulnerable it encourages employees and clients to get on board with the company’s core values and culture.

2.Don’t ignore the culture killers. You probably won’t make the perfect hiring decision every single time, and that’s okay. If someone on your team is bringing the culture down, address the issue.

3.Speak loudly and more frequently during growth. In a small company it’s easy for leadership to stay personal with everyone. When you’ve got 2,000 employees, not so much. Use every channel available to communicate your mission and keep things moving forward.

4.Give back. Have a charitable mission. Get your people to commit to and and serve the communities they generate business from.

5.Share the wealth. When business is booming, give back to employees and charity. Reinvest in the company and innovation to show people you’re committed to what you believe in.

FIVEinSIXTY is our interview series with leading CEOs, founders, and other executives about building amazing company culture, designing creative offices, and creating compelling employer brands.

SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more FIVEinSIXTY.