Passion peddler

Scott Coloney has always felt like he’s fighting the business world with a slingshot.

“I’ve always been the David going against the Goliath in anything I’ve ever done,” he says.

So Coloney, principal at The Coloney Group, is constantly looking for new ways to get his employees to stand up to the big guys.

He says the Goliaths have gotten meaner of late in the real estate business, where The Coloney Group, which is affiliated with RE/MAX Partners Inc., has seen a big spike in the number of homes being fore-closed upon. In response, Coloney has helped push out a new vision, working to create the Foreclosure Response Team, a specialization in short sale transactions. The result is a new direction that helps keep The Coloney Group, its more than 250 employees working with it and RE/MAX pumped up by working close to the front lines.

Smart Business talked to Coloney — who also founded Orbitz.com — about how to get your employees behind a new direction with inspiration and intensity.

Demand intensity from your staff. If you’re an intense person and you really believe in it, you surround yourself with those same people.

I tell them, ‘If you don’t believe in what we’re doing, I’d rather we talk about that now because I really don’t want to have anybody like that; that’s not a benefit to us.’

If people don’t get that and don’t want to be a part of it, then they can’t be a part of our team. I had a talk with someone just last week and I told him, ‘Look, I think you have a great opportunity here that you could do very well, but I kind of think you’re coming in here just wanting to collect a check, and that doesn’t fit with what we’re doing. I’m going to give you one more week to improve.’

After awhile, that starts to get to where the people that aren’t acting like you don’t really fit in anymore, and they’re the ones everyone talks about. That’s how you create a movement.

Only bring in people who believe in your vision. When you really believe in something, you want people that are also excited about it and believe in it, and with most people, you can tell upfront if they really believe in something.

It starts in the interview process. I’ll always say right upfront, ‘You might as well tell me if you’re motivated now, because it’s easy to spot once someone is part of the team.’

Then, when you talk to someone about doing something, it’s what they do. Are they calling me? Are they constantly calling me saying, ‘Hey, I want to get involved,’ or am I chasing them down trying to twist someone’s arm to get them to join?

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