Key truths Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2007
Bill Glazer dislikes clich├ęs, so instead of saying he walks the walk and talks the talk, he tells a story about how he achieved a goal at Keystone Property Group.

Glazer, Keystone’s president, wanted to start a second fund at the company, and he wanted it to be a certain size. As the first step toward accomplishing that, he had his graphic designer create a banner with the fund name on it and a date to reach the goal.

The banner was hung on the front door of the $5 million company and seven months later, the company’s 60 employees had achieved the goal. “It was just a fact because we said it was so,” Glazer says. spoke with Glazer about how asking employees the right questions can reveal new opportunities.

Q: What are the keys to being a good leader?

The two most important things are vision and drive. Vision is, by far, the most important of the two because the leader needs to be able to set a mark on something to achieve that it is realistic and can be done timely. Some-thing that can get buy-in from the rest of the team.

You empower the right people, ask good questions and get out of the way. My job is to ask good questions and expand the possibilities for solutions. I collaborate with the team to set goals and then have them measure themselves by their own yardstick.

Q: How do you know what questions to ask?

There’s no set of questions and, most importantly, when there are issues or challenges that arise, it is not helpful for me to fix it. I can’t fix their problems.

But with a series of good questions, hopefully I can open up opportunities for potential solutions or help them see other opportunities that I might see and might not see. But if I give someone on the team the answer, it may not be the right answer, or might preclude a better answer from coming.

Q: What qualities do you look for in your staff?

Vision and drive. I want a team of leaders and not managers. It’s like any team of top performers — give them the ball and let them execute.

No one is going to go on the court and manage a shooter with a hot hand. Give him the ball and let him shoot. Just like every good squad, great team play elevates the level of performance for everyone else.

Q: How do you find great leaders?

Just like success in business, it’s luck and hard work. You need to know all of the players in the marketplace at every level. You can see talent and opportunity in people that may not be recognized by other people, or maybe not even themselves. If you put them in the right environment and give them the right tools, the possibilities of what they can achieve are limitless.

It’s more art than science. You look at a man. You don’t know what he weighs, but you know if he is fat or thin.

Q: Is it hard for you to stay hands off?

Sure, that’s a mistake I make every day. In our industry, we have some high-level performers who do not need management, they need leadership. Managers push from behind, leaders set the pace at the front of the pack Just as recently as yesterday, I had my hand slapped by one of the people on my team who said, ‘Hey, you came into this meeting and said this is what we need to do. You did not allow us the opportunity to come up with a better idea.’

Q: How do you make sure you aren’t micromanaging?

There is never really a process. You catch yourself when you are doing things wrong and you reflect on things you have done right a week or month later. You see over time the results, and see what role you had in the results. Leadership is such a big concept that I don’t think you could ever put a probability or percentage to any one aspect of leadership. It is more art than science.

HOW TO REACH: Keystone Property Group, (610) 825-2060 or www.kpg.biz