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How to succeed in a high-growth environment | brunchwork


Aug 20, 2018
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Rob Lehman is the Chief Growth Officer at Compass, the real estate tech unicorn on a mission to help everyone find their place in the world.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who is in a leadership position at a rapidly growing company?

A: The best gift you can give your team is clarity. At the beginning of each year, my team and I set our goals and put them into a document that everyone can access. We meet each week to go over our progress and update the numbers, which ensures that everyone knows we are climbing the mountain together and holding each other accountable.

Because there are always going to be so many things changing at any given moment, it’s important to be able to point to these goals as the North Star. Working at a rapidly growing company can feel scary, but when you know exactly what you’re working toward, it becomes achievable. Keeping your eye on the North Star helps you eliminate distractions, which is incredibly important to managing hyper growth.

What is your advice for making tough decisions?

It’s critical to move quickly and avoid overthinking things. The best way to quickly make a decision is to imagine the consequence tree. This entails thinking about all the possible outcomes of your decision. Most of the time, the worst possible outcome won’t be that bad. Engaging yourself or others in this practice can drastically reduce analysis paralysis.

What inspired you to join Compass?

I was a consultant for three years and developed a passion for working in industries that were growing slowly. I joined Compass because we’re bringing progress to real estate without any of the old systems or mindsets.

Historically, real estate has been an archaic industry. We looked at the entire real estate process and decided to do everything differently. We are transforming the industry from an assembly line where you have to work with eight different people to being on one platform.

Our mission is to help people find their place in the world, and so far we’ve helped 150,000 people find a sense of belonging in their physical homes. Compass is a perfect example of what smart people can accomplish when there hasn’t been any innovation.

What roles is Compass hiring for and what do these roles entail?

We’re looking to fill M&A roles as we strike deals with brokerages and platforms to help their individual markets. It’s similar to a sales role because you’d be helping bring agents from other brokerages.

The Strategic Growth Manager, which is within my group, is responsible for actually bringing these new brokerages and agents over to Compass. This role is exciting because it is innovative in and of itself. You are working with real estate agents, and the notion of coming to work at Compass may be the biggest decision of their career. The Strategic Growth Manager needs to become the most trusted advisor in that person’s life. This requires the ability to develop high-velocity relationships.

How would you describe Compass’s culture?

Compass has eight principles. We spent a lot of time developing them because a strong culture is important to a company’s success. One of my favorites is “collaborate without people.” This means that we put the company’s interest above the individual ego.

Because we talk about the principles all the time, people become disciplined about living them out. It’s a beautiful aspect of our culture and leadership ethos.

This interview was conducted by Paulina Karpis and condensed by Katherine Emley.