When Sue Yannaccone is confronted with change, she sees opportunity. Opportunity to grow, opportunity to set new goals, opportunity to chart a new course.
As the new president and CEO of ERA Real Estate, Yannaccone thrives on change. Indeed, prior to joining ERA last summer as COO, she had cut her teeth transforming a number of leading real estate brands. Part of what drew her to ERA Real Estate was that the brand was changing, too, and in all the right ways.
“We are on the cusp of incredible transformational change, not just in our industry, but in our society as a whole, and much of that is being driven by the rapid pace of technology advances,” says Yannaccone. “It took more than 40 years to get from the first fax machine in 1964 to the debut of the iPhone in 2007, but since the early 2000s, new developments such as 3-D imagery, virtual reality, geo-targeting and social media have significantly impacted not just how we live, but how we work. The result is that in order to outpace our competitors, leading the organization through change has become imperative.”
Adoption Is Key
“Over the last five years, we’ve seen an incredible shift in how we manage our customer relationships thanks to the rise of technology,” says Yannaccone. “ERA’s end-to-end technology platform, Zap, has transformed the way our affiliated brokers and sales associates engage with today’s connected consumer. After introducing the system, we recognized that managing through change and focusing on adoption was more critical than teaching the specifics of how to use the platform.”
Also on the horizon is a potentially significant exit of real estate leaders and veterans from the industry as they approach retirement. With an eye on these demographics, ERA Real Estate has spent the last five years building its bench of next-generation leaders through a series of professional development courses and networking groups. Graduates of ERA Leadership Academy are out-performing their peers, and participants in the ERA Young Leaders Network are benefitting from two-day visits to top ERA companies where they can learn best practices to fuel growth in their own companies.
Service Is a Constant
With a strong background in customer service, Yannaccone believes understanding customer needs is a critical piece of changing for the right reasons, rather than changing for the sake of change, or making changes that aren’t informed by a disciplined focus on key strategies. “How we continue to evolve the brand will rely on direct feedback from our brokers,” says Yannaccone, who will solicit input at both personal, in-market visits as well as at larger ERA events, “because at the end of the day, we want our brokers to truly believe they’re better off with us than without us.”
From a leadership perspective, Yannaccone believes it’s vital to recognize that change is inevitable. One of her early mentors counseled her to always ask the question, “What’s next?”
“You can be flat-footed and simply respond to change, or you can effect change, lead the transformation and shape the future. I know where I want to be,” says Yannaccone. “I’m pretty fearless when it comes to change. In fact, I proceed as if success is inevitable.”
Under Yannaccone’s leadership, it’s evident that leading change will become the hallmark of ERA Real Estate’s success.
For more information, please visit www.era.com.