By Gregg Cohen, CEO
A couple of weeks ago I read a book that truly inspired me. It’s called Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose and it is the story behind the amazing customer-service company, Zappos.
The author and CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, tells story after story about the journey that he and the company have taken to find what truly makes their customers, their team and themselves happy. And it all starts with their company culture.
The book has instantly become a hit within our company and now our team is fighting over who gets to read the book next. And the more we read the book, the more we keep saying… “Man, the story of JWB Real Estate Capital starts out just like this! This is the story of us!”
One great idea we “borrowed” from the book is to create a Culture Book. Zappos publishes an annual 480-page Culture Book, which is composed of two to three paragraph entries from employees, clients, vendors and anyone else who has a direct connection with the company. Each year has a different question to answer and the entries are un-edited. A copy of the Culture Book is given to all employees, and anyone else who requests a copy.
So, guess what? We’re coming up with our own Culture Book here at JWB Real Estate Capital! We’ve already collected all the entries from our in-house teammates and are on the hunt for new submissions from our clients, vendors, and other teammates as well.
This year’s JWB Culture Book Question:
What does it mean to be a part of the JWB Real Estate Capital family?
Okay, here goes….the un-edited version that not even our team has seen yet
So what does it mean to me to be a part of the JWB Real Estate Capital family? Well that’s impossible for me to sum up in a few words. But I’ll try to tell you what it feels like to be a part of this team.
All I can say is I feel blessed. This family, this team, this culture we have all created is something so special and unique that it is priceless. It really is priceless. Think about it…is there any amount of money you could even pay to create the culture we have? Nope.
Every morning when I wake up I remember just how blessed I am. All I have to do is think about what weekday mornings used to be like for me, when I worked at my prior job in Corporate America. I despised that job and I can remember waking up every morning and chomping on my Cheerios at 7am thinking, “Man…I wish I could just erase the next 9 hours of my life.”
Now, I can’t even get to sleep on Sunday nights because I’m so fired up about what I’m going to accomplish the next day!
But ya know what the best part about what we’re building is….we’re doing it OUR way! All along the road people have told us we were crazy. They told us we were crazy for quitting our corporate jobs to even start this company. They told us we were crazy for growing our staff and doubling our spending on systems and technology when the real estate market crashed in 2008. They told us that hiring employees was too much of a hassle, too much of a risk and the wrong way to run a real estate investment business.
I have learned to embrace being called crazy. I actually like it now. Working in Corporate America wasn’t crazy…it was “normal”. I have seen normal and I never – under any circumstances – want someone to describe our company as “normal”…ever!
When I think about the journey that our team has been on the last 6 years, the first things that come to mind are not the accomplishments we have had. What comes to mind are the struggles we have endured. And never…not once…did we ever lose faith in each other and the fact that our company would be very successful. Whether we made money or lost money, our faith never wavered and we always supported each other. And that’s what I’m most proud of.
I have learned that the good times, challenges, struggles and achievements don’t mean nearly as much when you don’t have your teammates around to experience it with you. And I’m looking forward to us being called “crazy” for a very long time!
Hope you enjoyed this sneak peak of what it’s like to be a part of the team here at JWB Real Estate Capital. But more importantly, I hope you are blessed with a positive work environment and team like we are. It is something you absolutely can not put a price tag on!
So, I’m warning you in advance….our team is going to be reaching out to you to get your submissions to this year’s inaugural JWB Real Estate Capital Culture Book. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Gregg Cohen is an owner of JWB Real Estate Capital, one of the country’s largest real estate investment companies. In the past 5 years, he and his team have bought and sold over 250 properties in Jacksonville, FL. He speaks nationally to crowds of thousands of investors with this mentors, Than Merrill & Paul Esajian of A&E’s hit TV show “Flip This House,” and has been featured multiple times in the Florida Times-Union and the Jacksonville Business Journal. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Jaxreia from 2009 – 2010. In 2011, JWB Real Estate Capital was ranked as the #3 Fastest Growing Company In Northeast Florida.