Build for Success with CEO Adam Hergenrother

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Adam Hergenrother, CEO

If you knew him only as CEO of multiple organizations, you might believe Adam Hergenrother came from a business family. You’ll be wrong. Adam has overcome several challenges in his youth, including his purpose in life, and become the successful CEO of an organization valued at $1 billion. From a modest beginning of flipping a used car, Adam Hergenrother has skyrocketed to one of the brilliant stars in the country’s real estate industry.

In ten years, Adam Hergenrother has built up a successful real estate team in Keller Williams Vermont. The firm is now one of the top real estate teams in the state of Vermont. Also, the Hergenrother Realty Group has become the #4 real estate team in the entire United States, while BlackRock Construction has also become the dominant force in the development space. Meanwhile, the Adam Hergenrother Companies is now valued at $1 billion, proving that focusing on personal growth and work-life integration is never a mistake.

Currently, Adam Hergenrother leads these organizations. He has also begun writing books, speaking in conferences and other engagements, producing podcasts, and training other entrepreneurs. Now, he helps out other executives and business owners to find success by using their business to facilitate their personal growth and the growth of their employees.

The Adam Hergenrother Companies encompass the Hergenrother Realty Group, Keller Williams Vermont, BlackRock Construction, Adam Hergenrother Training, and the Adam Hergenrother Foundation.

Check out more interviews with high-powered CEOs here.  

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Adam Hergenrother: There isn’t one big, huge, earth-shattering thing I can point to that makes our company stand out. It’s the little things that add up, compound, and create a culture that I’m really proud of.

Personal growth is a part of everything that we do. We work with our employees and independent contractors to map out their visions for their lives with our Future Self tool. We work on leading ourselves first so that we each show up to work as the most energized version of ourselves. We believe in work-life integration, rather than balance and encourage our team members to focus on the results of their position and division, rather than the time “at the office.” By focusing so intentionally on the personal and professional growth of our employees, they become the reason that other people want to join our company. They become the reason that their team members want to show up each day.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Adam Hergenrother: Let’s start by defining burnout, because I think there are a lot of misconceptions around that term. Burnout is defined as the mental or physical collapse caused by overwork or stress. The piece I want to focus on here, specifically, is stress. It doesn’t happen from the number of hours worked or even from the intensity of work. Burnout happens from prolonged stress for a few reasons:

  • When you are not growing
  • When you are out of alignment with your natural behavior
  • hen you are not having success for an extended period of time

First, make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals — personally and professionally. Who are you? What are your goals inside and outside of the office? What drives you every day? Are you taking on a new project and getting outside of your comfort zone? When people aren’t growing, they’re dying. If your start to feel stagnant or feel there is no room to grow, then it’s easier to burnout on the work you are doing every day. Make sure you have a clear growth plan for yourself and anyone else in your company and communicate that growth plan often.

Second, make sure you understand your natural behavioral style. Do you know how you respond to stress? Do you know what work environments you thrive in? Do you understand your communication style? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, it’s time to do a deep dive into personalities and behaviors and do some inner work. Once you have a clear understanding of your natural behavior, you’ve got to ask yourself if you are in the right position at your company to achieve success. For example, if you have a High I personality (see DISC profile), and you are in a data entry position, with little people contact, that is a complete mismatch. Now, any intelligent individual can learn and perform a job, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be fulfilled. When someone’s doing the wrong job for their personality type, they are going to be stressed each day operating outside of their natural behavior, and if that goes on for too long, it can lead to burnout.

Again, burnout isn’t just about numbers of hours worked, but the result of time spent on projects, tasks, or in a job that is not the right fit. Matching natural behavioral styles with the behavior needed to thrive in a position is the cornerstone of our hiring practice. However, occasionally, mismatches occur. If you know yourself and your team members, you can spot this and avoid burnout by shifting staff or tweaking job descriptions. In my opinion, the fastest way to burnout is if people are in a company that they love, but a role they hate. And if your team isn’t aligned with the mission or vision of the company or their leader, then burnout will happen much, much faster. Make sure people are not only aligned with the right position for their behavior, but with where you and the company are going. Evaluate this regularly. What was a fit in year one of your company, may no longer be the right fit for you or your team member in year five.

And last, but not least, burnout can occur when an individual is failing over and over and over again. Okay, okay, yes, I am a proponent of failure and failing forward. But there comes a point where you are just banging your head against the wall, trying to get through, and nothing seems to be working. Failure like this, for a long time, with no clear wins can be exhausting, deflating, and can cause burnout. This is where you need to take a pause — rest, recover, and recharge. Do you need to step back and take a day off? Do you need some additional training? Do you need to be taken off the project or have someone else come in to help? Is it simply too much work for one person? Do you need help re-prioritizing or chunking down the project into bite-size pieces so that you can accomplish one small part and have a victory and then build upon that? Going too long without any success, no matter how small, is discouraging and stressful, which leads to burnout. Take a pause and get a small win that you can build on.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Adam Hergenrother: I have been fortunate to be surrounded by really talented individuals from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. I knew I didn’t want to go down this path of building businesses alone and the only way I was going to have the reach and impact that I envisioned was by bringing more people into my world. There are so many that have helped shape me, our company and our culture to what it is today.

I am particularly grateful for Hallie Warner — my Force Multiplier. She has worked by my side for the past 10 years, first as a real estate marketing assistant, then as my Executive Assistant, and now as my Chief of Staff. But regardless of title, Hallie has always been there to just get stuff done — whether that was managing rental properties, delivering lasagna dinners to clients after closings, moving offices, setting up new companies, creating courses, managing social media, and much more. I bring the vision and Hallie follows-up and follows-through. We’ve definitely had our share of growing pains over the years, but we’ve learned a lot together by failing forward and never giving up. In fact, we have learned so much together, that we wrote a book about it — The Founder & The Force Multiplier: How Entrepreneurs & Executive Assistants Achieve More Together!

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?

Adam Hergenrother: We all have 24 hours in a day. So why do some people accomplish so much more than others? It all comes down to really great time management skills and really great delegation. And for those numbers people out there, do the math. If you are earning 6-figures+ and doing administrative tasks or crunching sales numbers, projects that you could pay someone half your salary to do, why wouldn’t you? It would then free you up to go focus on more dollar producing activities to generate an even bigger return.

Numbers aside, the only way to truly build a business is through other people. Talented people. And talented individuals are not going to stay with you long if you hold on to projects and don’t let them do what they do best. Leaders want that too. Leaders should really only be focusing on a handful of high impact things. The rest — delegate! You and your organization will thank you for it.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

Adam Hergenrother: Entrepreneurs and small business owners know that they can’t succeed alone. Delegating and leveraging specific tasks and entire positions to new team members is the only way to truly build and scale a business. However, I’ve found through many of my coaching conversations that leaders are hesitate to delegate to team members because they don’t know what to delegate or how to train them on what they are trying to delegate. I also think that many leaders don’t think that they have the time to delegate, and they probably don’t. But if they just make the time, it will be a short-term investment for a long-term gain. I also think there is a fear of losing control over a project or task. If it’s delegated, than how can they be sure it’s done right? That is usually a sign of someone new to leadership who hasn’t learned to set clear expectations and accountability measures. When you do that — delegation becomes much easier. And finally, ego can often get in the way of delegating. Sometimes when an individual starts to really delegate, they begin to question their value, their identity, and they can feel their significance diminishing. Battling with the ego is always a challenge and therefore many people just choose not to.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?

Adam Hergenrother: It all comes back to investing in yourself, your personal growth, and your leadership. Ultimately, you can either have excuses or results. All of the concerns I mentioned before can be easily mitigated with a solid plan, a model to follow, the commitment to increasing your leadership skills and growing your business through people, and staying consistent over time.

The most difficult thing to do is to work on yourself — learning to let go of an identity you created, letting go of needing to control the outcome of a situation, being centered and full of joy no matter what is happening on the outside. But I strongly believe that the next generation of leaders will be just as committed to their personal growth as they are to the bottom line. Pivoting to working on your inner growth will not stop challenges from happening, but will allow you to handle whatever challenge comes your way with clarity and conviction. And who doesn’t what that!?

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Adam Hergenrother: Need nothing and enjoy everything. Let me explain… When I wake up every day, my starting position is that I’m okay with everything. That means that no matter what challenges show up at the office or with my family, it doesn’t affect who I am at the core. I’m me and I’m okay. When I start every day from this place, I’m able to simply go forth into the world and play and create in business and in life. I don’t need a certain income, a certain car or vacation, a certain relationship, or the people in my life to show up a certain way to be whole and complete inside. I already am whole and complete. So, I don’t need anything, but man, can I enjoy everything! You become a fierce competitor in business and the architect of your own life when you subscribe to this belief. That is what I am actively working on teaching to as many people as I can!

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Adam Hergenrother: The best place to get access to our podcast, free training, book, and more is by visiting https://adamhergenrother.com.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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