Guest Column – Stan Albert

What makes a champion?

Recently I was visiting Mike Donia, one of our franchise’s leading Realtors. I looked around at the walls of his office, which features sports memorabilia and photos of the great sport professionals of this and bygone eras.
Something of an epiphany hit me between the goal posts of my eyes! Here I sat, surrounded by so many photos and memorabilia of the great athletes in sports from baseball, hockey and racing, all giving off an aura of success. Deep feelings arose in me – one of awe, and one of supreme admiration for their achievements.
Zig Ziglar, at one of the many presentations that I had the privilege to attend, impressed upon his audience that in order to succeed in life, you must have a positive approach. There was no “room for stink’n think’n!” So often, we broker/managers hear many negatives about the industry and not enough of the pluses that make us successful.
Now, I doubt very much if many of the great athletes represented in Mike’s office read any of Zig’s books or attended any of his seminars. But here’s what I know from what I’ve read and heard first-hand about the true champions in sports, including some memorable discussions with Johnny Bower, Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull: 1. They’re committed to winning. 2. They’re willing to sacrifice and go the extra mile. 3. They’re coachable. 4. They have the vision of being the best of the best. 5. They practice, practice, practice. 6. They study their craft and educate themselves daily.
So whether it’s Mario Andretti winning the Indy 500 or Mario Lemieux winning the Stanley Cup, it is a composite of attitude and ability to improve their “game” that they bring to the forefront. They are not prepared to settle for second best, although many times a better team, a better driver or a better server will beat them out for the championship.
They respect those who reach the top of their field and at the end of the day they say, “Wait ‘til next year.”
I wish that I had $10 for every time I’ve heard, “I was only short of X dollars on the offer,” or that “I was short x dollars to make it to the top producer level!” Get over it. You will live to fight another day and if you work with professional acumen, you will fulfill your dreams and goals.
We in real estate, in order to develop the “winning attitude,” must adopt the characteristics of the champions in sports. It doesn’t mean that we win at all costs. It is with true sportsmanship that athletes win. As real estate people we must be true to the codes that guide us in all our endeavours, as do the successful athletes.
Those athletes who are caught cheating or gambling usually pay the price of relinquishing not only their fame, but their fortune as well. I never understood why Realtors get themselves in such trouble over what seems a little bit of money. There is no fame in getting caught. Only shame and perhaps banishment, as sometimes happens in major sports.
Some of our Realtors have come before various disciplinary bodies to answer complaints. Here in Ontario, the results of the hearings are posted on the RECO website for some time. What a horror!
Sometimes Realtors even lose their right to earn a living in real estate. And that is a shame, in light of all the effort and hard work that they may have incurred over the years in real estate.
So, when Realtors think that they can skirt an issue, sneak in a phony offer, submit an incomplete listing information or speak disparagingly about a colleague, perhaps they should be thinking more as a professional should. They don’t really think about the consequences. They think only of the deal and the commission, and not what will hurt their fellow registrant.
It is time, I firmly believe, that all brokers and their broker managers exerted more effort to prevent such amateurish actions. Let’s take a bold step forward and encourage a more professional approach to being a top professional without any unprofessional actions or activities.
It’s simply not enough to think that credit courses given by our various provincial regulators will enforce Codes of Ethics and the rules of the boards and provincial and federal guidelines and regulations. There is no perfect organization to assist in this work.
But, hopefully over the years to come, able minds will come forth to create a better system. The public demands it of us and they should receive it!
It is my belief that individual boards must take a more defined role in assisting the provincial regulators in monitoring codes of conduct. Having mandatory updates as part of a registrant’s renewal process is simply not enough, in my opinion. I believe that there is a better way to enforce current and future rules of conduct.
Registrants must be more responsible and accountable for their actions or their inactions. Most of us realize that brokers are responsible for the actions of our registrants. But there has to be a balance in the relationship between brokers and their Realtors.
So, I challenge all of you to put on your professional gear, as we head into the latter part of this decade. You can do it by taking a more active role in your board and by emailing the director who represents you in your own province about what we can improve on.
Make the effort to be more professional in every part of your business practice. It is not enough to just say: “Practice the Golden Rule.” We have to establish in our minds, that no amount of money, no amount of fame, is worth besmirching our fellow registrant or support person. Those who practice this unacceptable conduct will eventually have their fate decided the disciplinary authorities.

And that’s the way I see it from my desk this month.

Quote of the month: “Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content.” Louis L’Amour, 1908-1988.

Stan Albert is celebrating his 36th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at