37 Lessons Learned Growing Teles 10x to $3.4 Billion

After wrapping up the sale of Teles to Douglas Elliman, I thought it would be important to sit down and reflect on the last seven years of building and growing Teles.

I thought about the journey, the people, the relationships, and of course, the struggles.

I thought about billions of dollars in sales, four consecutive years on the Inc. 500 list, the empire of offices agents and support staff up and down the California coast, awards that we won, records that we set, amazing stuff that we built out of thin air, and most importantly how we drove 10x growth while building an amazing culture and the eventual acquisition by Douglas Elliman. 

While it feels like a fairytale, lets be real… we had our fair share of gut-punches.

But, 10x growth in 5 years is just… insane!

Then, I did what I absolutely love doing… deconstructing success. (And the numerous struggles that nobody got to see as we kept it under wraps)

I thought about all the lessons that helped us achieve 10x growth and started writing it down. I did this because I wanted to memorialize the learnings for myself so that I could internalize these lessons as a platform of possibilities for my future experiences.

At the same time, I knew that I could share them with the world by compressing almost a decade of learning into 37 bullet points, because for those who know me, you know my love for taking the complex and making it practical and actionable.

Here is a list of lessons in no specific order (which I know most of you won’t read anyway but you probably should):

  1. True culture is built when you can remind people of the past but keep them focused on a bigger and better future.
  2. Transformations don’t happen in isolation. If you don’t have a coach, mentor, or operating board of advisors, you are underperforming. Guaranteed.
  3. The way to create 10x is not by optimizing a process or tweaking a system. It is by taking ideas and turning them into reality. There is a great quote by Robin Sharma, “Ideation without execution is delusion.” Ideation without execution is delusion -Robin Sharma
  4. Focus on building a community because community drives achievement.  Pour your heart into the community. People love you for who you are, not who they think you should be. Focus on building a community because community drives achievement. Pour your heart into the community. People love you for who you are, not who they think you should be.CLICK TO TWEET
  5. Don’t be an as*hole. You will always lose.
  6. Take vacations. I really didn’t take any. I paid the price in every way imaginable.
  7. Take 100% responsibility for your actions. If someone doesn’t respond to your email or text message, that means your communication wasn’t compelling enough to deserve a response. Take 100% responsibility.
  8. Take care of the right people. As I look back at our 10x growth, the turning points were always marked with great hiring or firing decisions. As I look back at our 10x growth, the turning points were always marked with great hiring or firing decisions.CLICK TO TWEET
  9. Wake up with a fierce intention to crush it. The leading indicator for your success is the commitment to your morning routine.
  10. Your artifacts of success are the insurance policy to achieving your goals. When you have your plans written down, your tracking systems established, your reporting dialed in… everything changes because you start operating from a powerful place where facts meet inspiration. When you work with me, I will always go back to building out our artifacts of success.
  11. Pony up. It’s okay to pay for access to a mentoring relationship, it is a symbolism of seriousness.
  12. Focus on building your inner circle. Your life will change instantly when you find your 1,000 true fans.
  13. “Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to have.” -Andy Andrews  Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do something you don’t necessarily want to do, to get a result you would really like to have. -Andy AndrewsCLICK TO TWEET
  14. If you can’t do deep work, you are bound to be outworked. Read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. It will change your life.
  15. Luck is real and often you can create it. It is also sometimes just a belief system.
  16. Celebrate your wins. It will make you have many more. Remember this: You get what you celebrate.
  17. Good process drives good results. If you know me, you know this is one of the central pillars of my life. Good process drives good results.CLICK TO TWEET
  18. Focus is more important than intelligence. Because your eyes only see and your ears only hear what you are looking for.
  19. What you do every day builds culture. With every turn, every decision, every opportunity and every pivot ask the question about how it’s going to affect your culture. Guard it with your life. It is the heartbeat of your success.
  20. You cannot 10x anything without having insanely amazing health. If I were to go back and do just one thing differently, it would just be to prioritize my health and vitality over everything else.
  21. What you say really matters because it is a directly reflection of how you think! I tell the CEOs that I mentor that it is not a scripting problem, it is a thinking problem. Remember: If you don’t script, you don’t care. If you don’t script, you don’t care. -Jason CapitalCLICK TO TWEET
  22. If you don’t have mentors, you will always live a mediocre life. If you don’t have mentors, you will always live a mediocre life.CLICK TO TWEET
  23. Its okay to have your own hashtag #TelesDomination
  24. If you don’t leverage a worldwide workforce and the unlimited talent pool along with the unfair advantage of a 24-hour work-cycle… you will lose.
  25. It’s not about what you read. It’s about what you do with what you read. Think about how to transfer ideas and skills from your reading and learning, and not just cranking through books and podcasts.
  26. Commit to personal growth every single day. Make it a part of your daily non-negotiables. It is the one silver bullet in your life that is the gateway to creating massive success.
  27. It’s okay to use the words “I love you” when you mean it… may it be at work or home. Clearly HR didn’t approve this list.
  28. We live in the results economy. Take a meritocracy approach if you want to win. I don’t care about face time or office hours. I don’t care if you work from Barcelona or Bombay.  It’s all about results. Give your team the flexibility and creativity to enjoy their work, their time off, and their contributions. We live in the results economy.CLICK TO TWEET
  29. Your personal stability is the foundation for 10x growth. When you have your family, friends, and inner circle supporting your obsession, it becomes exponentially easier to focus and thrive.
  30. I learned that the number one problem that plagues high achievers is “Big Goal / No Plan”. If you want to create lasting transformations for people, help them to align their big goals with an inspiring and thoughtful plan. I have learned that the number one problem that plagues high achievers is ‘Big Goal / No Plan’CLICK TO TWEET
  31. What is risky to someone else need not be risky to you. Just do the work. The only time you are underprepared is when you are not over prepared.
  32. When you find great partners, you will find great joy that transcends everything.
  33. It is impossible to 10x just one part of your life. Every domain in your life has to level up to support the 10x charge. Once you commit to 10x in one part of your life, start to look for its daisy chain effect in other parts of your life. It is impossible to 10x just one part of your life.CLICK TO TWEET
  34. Issy Sharp, the founder of Four Seasons, once told me, “The answer is always yes. Now what is the question?” If you bring it to life that means that if the answer is “yes”… the question is “how”.
  35. Greatness is in the granularity. I knew every single thing about how every single thing worked at Teles. It sometimes bothered people not because I was in their business but because I knew how everything worked and it was just hard to BS me. That gave our key stakeholders confidence because I was always able to help find solutions to problems. If you think about it, this is one of the reasons why many people bounce from coach to consultant because it is hard to find someone who can think both top down and bottom up simultaneously. Very few people out there have done the work in the trenches. Very few people know how to take an idea and make it a reality. I keep my coaches and mentors on their toes because that’s what I need to keep my edge… and they secretly love it. Commit to knowing how everything fits together, nobody expects you to “do” everything because (news flash) you can’t. However, when you take responsibility for everything, you will realize that greatness is in the granularity.
  36. You cannot do epic sh*t with B players. Upgrade the bench. ” -Peter Loewy You cannot do epic sh*t with B players. Upgrade the bench. -Peter LoewyCLICK TO TWEET
  37. When in doubt, go workout. Clear your head and refocus.

I am immensely grateful to the Teles family for all the unwavering support, love, and care over the years. I have had the opportunity to touch hundreds of lives, help create numerous millionaires, and change the very financial bloodlines of families… it is a pretty amazing feeling. I am excited for Elliman’s acquisition of Teles and the worldwide platform it will bring our agents and clients.

While I look back on my last seven years fondly, I can confidently say that I have had more personal and professional transformations in this short period that any other period in my life.

However, it’s time to go 10x my next venture

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