KW Young Professionals: An Interview with Keller Williams President John Davis

We are Keller Williams (KW) Young Professionals. We want to know what it takes to lead at the highest level of our KW family. Fortunately for us, our top leaders are willing to share, teach, and mentor us. Here is a recap of this week’s KW Young Professionals webinar featuring former KW President Mary Tennant interviewing our new President John Davis.

Mary has seen the evolution of John’s KW Career. She witnessed the early years that set the stage for a bright career. He always had a burning desire to be successful and to lead. He attributes this to coming from the athletic world. A football star, results and success – quickly – were always important. Leadership was even more important, which he realized from an early age.

 “Ever since I was young, leadership has come naturally. It is not over; it is a journey. I have not arrived.” – KW President John Davis

Mary pointed out that John always had an edge, a different mindset than others, the ability to set himself apart from the crowd. John knew where he wanted to go – he wanted to sell the best houses, he wanted results – quickly. (Are you catching the trend? Results – quickly!) He had great role models in Gary Keller, Mo Anderson, Mark Willis and Mary Tennant who taught him that it was all about performance. It didn’t matter how young or how seasoned he was, it was about results.

 “I wanted to be able to measure performance and results.” – KW President John Davis

Recognizing his greatest assets are his work ethic and enthusiasm, John said that when you are excited about what you do, it is infectious. He attributes his work ethic first to his parents, then to athletics noting that if he worked hard, he would be better than the others. That mantra has continued throughout his life.

Mary delved into John’s quick mastery of the Recruit Select (RS) process. John shared a great analogy: RS is a playbook! RS teaches one how to speak the language, size up what others want and how to help them achieve their goals. This was a great transition into his focus on teamwork. John does nothing along, believing in succeeding through others. John notes, “When you develop other leaders, you give them a gift which leads to a talent stream lined up outside of your door which in turn becomes a gift for your family.”

John is the master at connecting with people almost immediately during the RS process. He says the key is to listen, recommending to take time out of the equation. Learn how others speak and how they want to be spoken to. RS is a powerful tool.

So, what traits does John Davis see in future leaders? He believes that those who succeed at a high level have energy and intensity. They are learning based. They don’t do thing in short spurts, they focus on consistency and stay with it. Gary teaches us to refine. John says that his fellow leader, new KW CEO Chris Heller, is the best at refining!

 “I am fortunate to work with Chris. He takes something, goes through the process and each time, makes it better than the last!” – KW President John Davis

When asked how to raise the leadership lid on a young professional, John recommended engaging in learning-based activities with organizations like KW Young Professionals, which he called a leadership incubator. He also recommended mastering RS, the tool that will help leaders spot talent, get in business with top talent and enable a leader to communicate with talent at the highest level.

“Leadership is not only you performing at a high level, it is helping your team get in place at the highest level.” – KW President John Davis

John conducts weekly calls with KW leadership where he is known to place a huge emphasis on using data and metrics when holding leaders accountable. Why is this? He says that accountability equals awareness. When using metrics, emotions are taken out of the conversation, it is easier on you and easier on the people you are leading and coaching. It is not about being good or bad, it is about the numbers.

 Accountability = Awareness

John heavily relied on using the language of real estate, or LORE, as a young agent. “When I was 28 and I could talk about the market stronger than a 55 year old, it gave me instant validity. Age doesn’t matter, validity and performance results do.

 “Age doesn’t matter; validity, performance and results do.” – KW President John Davis

John has incredible energy. He is on fire ALL DAY LONG! While eating right and morning workouts are key, surrounding himself by people who want the same things as he does is equally as important. He also loves a plan, not because he is boring, but because it is fun to measure. When he is with others, he is naturally excited to share!

On a personal note, my favorite thing about John is what motivates him – creating opportunities for others. To John, that is true leadership. It is not about the titles or positions, it is about creating these opportunities and the fun that comes with watching what happens in the lives of others. He noted that opportunities are everywhere in KW and that no organization is focused on trainings to sharpen skills to help leaders get to where they want to be – faster.

One of the coolest leadership transitions I have ever seen is the transition of Keller Williams President from Mary Tennant to John Davis. (Tennant recently joined the Keller Williams Board of Directors.) On the webinar, KW Young Professionals had the opportunity to ask Mary questions about John.

Q: As a company leader, what traits did John exhibit that showed he was the best candidate to succeed you as president?
A: John demonstrates the most amazing work ethic. He is not a solo performer, but a strong team member. He is passionate about being invisible to allow his team to shine. He understands that no one succeeds alone. His honest desire to elevate everyone around him automatically elevates him. He engages in fair play and has a lot of integrity, which is important when leading a company. He believes in both sides winning.

We all have a tremendous love for this company – it is not a job – it is a passion. John has always had that passion and like all of us, there has never been a doubt for a moment that we would be #1 in all arenas. He knows there are no limits and like all KW leaders, he has enormous vision.

 “We have all a tremendous love for this company – it is not a job – it is a passion.” KW Board Member Mary Tennant

This transition ispart of the thrill of the ride. It has brought me more pleasure than anything else.

Mary takes great confidence that the KW Young Professionals Division and our new young president are keys to success for continued global dominance.

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