True colors

Employees at Bluegreen Corp. can be forgiven for experiencing déjÀ vu when they listen to John Maloney Jr. speak.

Maloney does it by design.
“Stay on message,” Maloney says, referring to one of the cornerstones of his leadership style.

“Whatever I think it is that is important about what’s going on
with the company in relationship to our customers and employees in the external environment, I almost to a point of redundancy stay on the same theme and make sure I drive that home.
I’m not afraid to talk about the same thing to two dozen audiences over the course of a year.”

Maloney recognizes the microscope under which he operates
as president and CEO. People put a lot of stock in what he says
and take note of it to make comparisons later.

“Whether you like it or not, you’re an example,” Maloney says.
“Your associates see everything you do — a lot more than you’d
like, probably. Not just how many hours you work but how hard
you work and the time you spend in the community and how you
are regarded in the industry and within the company. Just generally how you conduct your life. That is all part of the leadership quotient.”

Maloney has taken a very hands-on role since taking the reins at
Bluegreen 18 months ago. The company, which develops and markets time-share resorts and planned communities, grew from $673
million in 2006 revenue to $691.5 million in 2007, his first full year
on the job. Bluegreen had been seeking to position itself to make
some strategic moves, and in late July, Diamond Resorts
International, one of the largest vacation ownership companies in
the world, offered to buy the company. Diamond has exclusive
negotiating rights through Sept. 15.

Without a consistent message, it’s difficult to set up strategic moves
like the Diamond deal. Consistency is crucial both in the message
Maloney delivers and the way in which he delivers it to his 6,200
employees.

“I like to have contact with the senior folks and understand not
only what they are working on but how they are feeling about it
and how they are communicating with teammates about certain
things,” Maloney says. “You only get there effectively if you’re willing to spend the time to get face to face as much as possible.”

So that’s what Maloney does. He seeks to maintain a regular dialogue with everyone from employees to customers to the attorneys, accountants and other external professionals to help him
drive growth.

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