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Why we do what we do at ICR

It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s been 3-1/2 years since our current ownership group purchased...

It certainly doesn’t seem like it’s been 3-1/2 years since our current ownership group purchased ICR.

Barry Stuart, ICR Commercial

Columnist Barry Stuart, ICR Commercial.

A great deal has happened. The growth and success we’ve experienced during this time is because of the great people we work with.

When we began this process we spent a lot of time thinking about “Why we do what we do?” The purpose of this column is to answer that question.

The founding partners laid a foundation and I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to build on that foundation and evolve into an even greater company; even more sought after by people who want to work with us.

I am going to start with a couple of personal stories from my time early on in the company which demonstrate my own narrow thinking; I thought I was right at the time but I wasn’t! You’ll understand soon why I’ve shared these with you.

I was working in our first north industrial office. I was very happy in my own office with a door up front. One of the founding partners told me he wanted to move me closer to the sales crew in a more open office concept in the back . . . I wasn’t impressed.

Our non-competition clause, which states we will not purchase commercial real estate in the primary market in which we work, made it necessary for me to go to Lloydminster, Prince Albert and Humboldt to purchase commercial real estate. I wasn’t excited about having to take a full day from a busy work week to drive to my investment properties.

Why these policies work

Fast forward many years. I see the significant benefits of that solid foundation on which the original partners built this company. Tour all four of our offices in Saskatoon and Regina and you will not find doors on 98 per cent of our individual offices.

Our open-door policy provides for much greater collaboration and our non-compete clause simply demonstrates we are serious about not competing with our clients. Our non-compete clause simply puts our money where our mouth is.

We have built a loyal client base partly because of it.

The founding partners provided that foundation for us, but we have work to do.

Our CFO facilitated a 360 survey last fall which was basically an assessment of how the organization believed we were performing as managers. We received good, constructive feedback; information we can use to grow as a leadership team.

We are committed to that growth and are holding each other accountable. We are trying, however we are human and may stumble along the way. We are going repeat the process with another survey this fall to measure our progress.

The most important job a leadership team has is to design and implement strategies to see the organization grow and flourish in the long term. It’s about big picture thinking . . . it’s about building the ICR brand.

Jeanie deBeer and her team from Create by Faith facilitated a few brainstorming sessions to determine our Why, What & How:

VISION: Why do we exist as an organization?

We exist to propel our clients toward prosperity.

I can get excited about a purpose which sees you profit, thrive and grow. What is your main purpose in life? How can I be a part of your success in getting there?

I can think of a very good client to whom I put that question a number of years ago. He has far exceeded that goal and I have been a part of that journey. It’s a rewarding feeling!

MISSION: What do we do as an organization?

We secure exceedingly smart real estate solutions for our clients.

The reason we win business is we brainstorm the solutions collectively. They are “we”, not “I” solutions.

VALUES: How do we do what we do as an organization?

We offer every client, tenant, partner and colleague the ICR handshake, our unique five-fold approach to growing trust as we do business.

The five fingers on the hand that offers to ‘shake on it’ represent our deeply held beliefs which underpin everything we do – Territory, Results, Unity, Solutions, Trustworthiness. It spells out TRUST.

The traditional handshake remains one of the most powerful symbols. Those three words – shake on it – resonate with meaning, whether it’s two small boys in the playground coming to a mutual agreement after arguing about marbles or two world leaders desperately trying to avert a war.

The handshake most likely came into being in the Middle Ages when knights would extend an open hand to each other, demonstrating they were not carrying a weapon. They were coming in peace and, crucially, they would honour that peace.

Shaking hands is an affirmation of something honourable, a statement of intent. Handshakes are dignified. A handshake says “I give you my word”.

When my values are reflected in my work, I’m in flow. I love what I’m doing when I feel I’m truly contributing to my clients’ goals and fulfilling my own values.

Plenty of research shows we are significantly more engaged and in flow when our own values and our company values align. We are exponentially more productive and enthused about our work.

TERRITORY: (I love this . . .) We believe in the sacredness of space.

We know every individual, company and organization needs its own territory – a place where it can dream, create, produce and give expression to all that it is and longs to be. We help others to find, manage and flourish in their territory. Simply put, we’re in the business of giving clients their space.

RESULTS: We constantly look for ways to accelerate the success of the people we work with – whether that’s our clients, our tenants or our colleagues.

UNITY: Unity is not conformity. It is agreement on the important things.

At ICR we strive toward that kind of unity. That’s why we lend the experience of senior staff to property management and sales and leasing, while at the same time instilling in each individual a sense of ownership of their job.

Unity is required for collaboration, and can at times be difficult. The two personal situations I shared earlier that I did not want to give up, when I really believed I was right; are good examples. The only thing was . . . I didn’t recognize it in the moment.

SOLUTIONS: We’re a highly experienced commercial real estate company and we have unsurpassed knowledge which allows us to offer smart and perfect solutions.

Our experience and ear-to-the-ground knowledge shows – and counts.

TRUSTWORTHINESS: From that first phone-in to final deal, from that initial meeting to our ongoing property management partnership, transparency and commitment overarches every touch-point.

This Globe and Mail graph demonstrates “High Trust Companies” consistently outperform nearly three times better than the general market.

There’s a quote I like to share, “Change has never happened this fast before, and it will never be this slow again.”

Building emotional connections with our clients results in brand loyalty.

In the research I’ve done, there is overwhelming evidence to show organizational health is the most significant factor which determines the success of an organization. As we continue to evolve we will see this company flourish, and have fun doing it!

Stay tuned for our new website… coming soon!

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