Leadership Lessons from Mark Spain at UGA’s Terry College of Business
Watch Mark Spain’s Interview with UGA Business Students
Mark Spain returned to his alma mater this year to share in a thought-provoking discussion with the Institute of Leadership (ILA) students at UGA’s Terry College of Business. Spain shared anecdotes and advice from his years of experience and success as an entrepreneur, of which his greatest advice was this: “You’ve got to be willing to do the work and start at the bottom. Approach every day with humility and never say, ‘That’s not my job.’”
The conversation began on the topic of purpose. Spain explained that the earlier you can discover your purpose the more rocket fuel you have behind your success. Take the time to get clear on your purpose and then don’t apologize for it. If you are struggling to determine your purpose – what drives you – then ask the people around you. The people you have authentic relationships with know what you are about and what makes you tick. For Mark, it’s winning. Mark is driven to win, to be the best. He hates to lose. This purpose drives his personal and professional life, it’s why he will get up early, go to bed late, read voraciously, work hard, own his failures, and strive for excellence and impact every single day.
Speaking of failures, Mark candidly shared with the students that the biggest failures in his career have been bad hires. He warned these future business leaders that too easily emotions can lead you to fall in love with people and their stories, which results in bringing new hires onto the team who never should have been there in the first place. A good leader identifies and owns these mistakes and then does the painful work of plucking out bad people placements for the good of the company as a whole. Companies struggle when leaders are unwilling to do this. Mark Spain Real Estate, as a company, has tightened up its hiring filter to only bring in the elite. Mark wants people on his team who: 1) want to win, 2) embody the company’s values, and 3) strive for excellence above all else.
Excellence is consistently aiming to be a little bit better than the rest. For Mark Spain Real Estate, excellence is evident not only in the numbers but in the quality of relationships. Mark went on to explain how servant leadership doesn’t look like chasing commission but putting other people’s needs before your own, and when you do commissions flow. A collaborative, learning-based culture makes MSRE a place where leaders can grow while keeping relationships at the forefront of every interaction. Mark believes “learners are leaders.” Whether you are learning your client or your industry, those who learn build not only their knowledge-base but also relational capital. At the end of the day it’s all about the people, relationships will always trump money.
“The relationships you make and build in life are what will have the most meaning.” – Mark Spain
10 Habits to Kickstart Your Business
Throughout the interview, Mark Spain illuminated how the following 10 habits have transformed his professional life and encouraged students to apply 2-3 habits for themselves and watch what happens.
- Create a daily schedule and stick to it. The things that get scheduled are the things that get done. Consistency over time wins the race.
- Open up your calendar. If you want opportunities, you must be available. Get comfortable!
- Who you hang around matters. You become the sum of the people that surround you, be picky.
- Get very clear on your “Big Why”. This is the secret that unlocks what motivates you to keep going, relentlessly.
- Set big goals. Write them down and have your family, leader and peers hold you accountable.
- Do the work. There are no shortcuts. To live a big life, you have to work hard.
- Approach your day with gratitude. You can always find something to be thankful for. It is up to you to make something happen with every opportunity.
- Be a leader without a title. Lead like you already have the title and recognition will follow.
- Read, read, read! To double your income, triple your rate of learning!
- Don’t allow distractions to become obsessions. Focus on important things. Your time is precious. Don’t waste it.
Listen in on the discussion to learn more from Mark’s leadership and business acumen.
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