The Staubach Company Uses The Leadership Challenge to Improve Its Winning Ways

The Staubach Company has established itself as a market-leading real estate advisory firm with 1,200 people in 58 offices throughout the Americas, representing 2,200 clients and an overall value of $17.7 billion. To maintain its impressive industry standing, the company embarked on a path to further develop leadership among its employees, turning to the principles of The Leadership Challenge, by best-selling authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

In the competitive global real estate market where people make all the difference, The Staubach Company recognizes leadership among its five core values. “Behavior is the distinguishing characteristic of a Staubach employee in the marketplace,” says Roger Staubach, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Staubach Company.

Craig Haptonstall, Vice President of Leadership Development for Staubach, designed a program based on The Leadership Challenge and The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and rolled it out to The Staubach Company in 2001. He began by asking the company’s “Leadership Council,” a membership group consisting of 40 regional presidents, to take the LPI, a 360-degree leadership assessment tool that measures leadership behaviors and identifies potential areas of improvement.

“These people were already high performers, so when they saw a metric that represented their leadership behavior in the eyes of others, they were immediately interested in the leadership program. By creating a picture, it generated a tremendous amount of positive energy and desire to improve,” says Haptonstall. “We tapped into the intrinsic value and motivation within these individuals. They wanted to enhance their leadership abilities. That kind of interest builds tremendous momentum and energy.”

Haptonstall then utilized The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership“ model, detailed in The Leadership Challenge, to address and improve leadership skills among the participating Leadership Council members. Furthermore, each of the leaders was encouraged to take the lessons they learned back to their respective offices so they could develop other leaders within these offices.

Moving forward, Haptonstall introduced the LPI and The Leadership Challenge principals to various offices including Houston, Chicago, and throughout the Northeast region, which included Washington D.C., Virginia, Boston, and Philadelphia. He started with managers in each of the offices who soon began to see the value of elevating leadership at all organizational levels. The program was then rolled out to all employees within the region. “We realized that there’s a tremendous ROI in tapping into the leadership potential of employees at every level,” says Haptonstall.

Over the course of five years, Haptonstall conducted The Leadership Challenge program and administered the LPI for over 1,000 leaders at The Staubach Company. During that time he developed a statistical validation study that identified a positive statistical correlation between LPI scores and revenue production of real estate professionals.

Among the individual offices, Haptonstall documented elevated LPI leadership scores for greater than 60 percent of the leaders in the Dallas and Houston Staubach offices based on an LPI retest schedule of 18 months. In 2003, The Staubach Company achieved recognition as the best mid-sized business to work for in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area—attributable in part to its ongoing leadership-development initiatives. And the Houston office experienced an average 15 percent annual revenue increase each year over the course of the LPI rollout. In the Chicago office, the original LPI data showed self scores ranked the highest and the direct report scores ranked the lowest.

A little more than two years later, after following Haptonstall’s leadership program based on The Leadership Challenge, the direct report line moved to the highest ranking, resulting in 70 percent of the leaders within the office elevating their overall LPI scores. “It was an amazing transformation,” says Haptonstall. “During the course of our leadership training we had people such as the number one Staubach Company salesperson undergoing a personal transformation from program cynic to program advocate. He truly saw the difference the training made in himself, and more importantly, his behavioral change was noted by those around him.”

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