A lesson learned

Jeff Morr admits he was not ready for the rapid growth that ensued when he founded Majestic Properties in 1995.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would have gone and found more qualified people to help me run the business as it was growing,” says
Morr, the company’s CEO.

It’s a lesson he learned the hard way when, five years into Majestic’s growing operation, Morr discovered a bookkeeper had stolen
$250,000 from his business.
“That was a nice, big lesson,” Morr says. “Having a qualified CFO is vital at the earliest possible point in a business’s growth. That took
me too long.”

Today, the independent real estate company has 50 employees, 300 independent contractors and revenue that grew from $25 million in
2004 to $40 million in 2005.

Smart Business spoke with Morr about the importance of being yourself as a leader.

Q: What is your leadership style?

I always ask for opinions. I always ask people to show me. If you want to do a particular brochure, design it and let me see it, and then
I’ll comment. They’re going to come to some creative ideas that I wouldn’t.

I really do like and care about everybody that works for me, or they don’t work for me. I take time to know them personally and show
them that I care. Everybody is treated equally in this company, from the chief operating officer down to the receptionist. We’re here to
have fun. It’s not all about work. It’s certainly not all about money.

I’m a creative guy and a guy that likes to have fun. I’m in business and life to do good things.

People give you a lot more for love than for money. They’ve got to love you and the company in order to give you their all. I have faith
in the people that I hire, and I allow them to flourish creatively.

Q: What do you look for in a leader?

You can groom a leader to be a good leader, but you can’t groom a nonleader to be a leader.

A majority of the people in this world are sheep. They are followers, and you need some of those followers. But in leadership positions,
you need the leaders. There are many qualities of a leader, but the most important is that they think outside of the box. They have opinions and make valid points and they make intelligent arguments for and against certain things.

Brains and education don’t always mix. I’ve met some very well-educated people that absolutely could not help me in my business.

I really look at the entire package, at the personality, the person’s heart, the person’s motivation, their level of education, their skill set
on many different levels. You don’t have to be Harvard-educated to be a good leader.

Q: What skills are most important to be a successful CEO?

You’ve got to be willing to put your money where your mouth is. Spend the money on marketing and spend the money on providing
quality to your customers. That always pays off.

Once your business starts succeeding and the money flows in, don’t ever take the money for granted. Make sure that your eyes are on
the money and how it’s being spent, and put some away. Always save. Your business might be terrific today, and it might slow down

It’s really about relying on people to help you do things as you get busier and busier, so you can be focused on important things. There
are plenty of good people. There aren’t plenty of smart people.

I look for smart people with good hearts that can help me grow the business. When I meet somebody and my gut tells me they
may be able to add value to my business,
then I’ll get to know them a little better.

Hire the best people, people that you like,
people that you trust and people that are as smart or smarter than you. Hire people that can teach you something.

Q: How do you evaluate employees?

Employees should be evaluating each other confidentially. As I’m working with people every day, I’m evaluating them, and it’s important that they evaluate me, as well.

I believe other people see things that I don’t. It’s really important for me to get perspective from more than just myself. I may not be
seeing everything.

If everybody says one person is incompetent and doing a poor job, there is more to it than just envy. If everybody tells me that someone is doing a great job, I know that’s the case.

When there is a reason to say something, you say it, when there isn’t, you don’t. I let them know when they are doing something great
or when they are doing something poor; otherwise, I don’t tell them anything. They know that when I do tell something, it comes from
the heart.

HOW TO REACH: Majestic Properties, www.majesticproperties.com

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