San Diego executive Jason Hughes co-owns one of the most sought-after tenant representation companies in the nation. He says a major force behind its success is the commitment from his team, especially his brokers.
With more than 30 years of industry experience, the San Diego-based businessman says he’s been fortunate enough to work with the best brokers in his field. He says that the average broker at his firm generates more than $1.9 million per year, which is nearly 20 times higher than industry counterparts.
Jason Hughes states all of the brokers that join his team end up seeing his company as a beacon of light in an otherwise challenging industry.
“Brokers who have joined our company from other firms in the industry universally say that our company is beyond what they could have ever had hoped for,” he reveals. “That’s extremely fulfilling for us because it’s proof that we are changing the industry. We’ve created an amazing company for brokers to excel beyond their wildest dreams without the drama and internal competitiveness seen at most companies, while also taking tremendous care of their clients in the process.”
Jason Hughes believes in his brand’s core values, which he helped craft with his original team during a meeting in San Diego. Building lasting relationships based on trust, pursuing growth and learning, and maintaining proactive communication are just a few of the values that made the list.
Jason Hughes frequently addresses what’s most important to the team at meetings, and core values consistently come up.
“I’ve often been asked what the secret is to success in the brokerage business,” Jason Hughes says. “The obvious answers are intelligence, ambition, charisma, and work ethic.”
Jason Hughes acknowledges that it takes more than that to get to the next level. He says it takes innovative thinking — and a common mistake senior brokers make is a lack of innovation. Many times, senior brokers fail to empower up-and-coming brokers — supporting the antiquated thinking that younger brokers have to “pay their dues” before success — and it can create a negative vibe in a company. At his San Diego headquarters, he asserts that keeping team members motivated is always a priority.
“To those highly talented freshmen brokers, I say: Don’t let the seniors hold you down,” Jason Hughes suggests. “If your current company doesn’t embrace your enthusiasm and energy to reap large financial rewards, penalize them by going somewhere else.”
Jason Hughes notes that it’s essential for senior brokers to avoid getting a sense of entitlement after spending years in the industry, and that they shouldn’t equate tenure with industry superiority.
The San Diego CEO adds age shouldn’t even play a factor in a broker’s success.
The San Diego leader declares that mentorship is paramount. Jason Hughes recalls the mentorship he received when he was younger that made a huge impact on his career. When he was in the ninth grade, he was paired with a commercial property broker for an interactive career day of sorts. After touring various buildings with him, Hughes admits he was immediately attracted to the field. It ultimately inspired him to go into the industry full-time after graduating college.
He also lives by the quote: “Success is not an entitlement. You need to earn it every day.” His company’s meetings end with this adage, which he got from one of his business heroes, former (and now returning!) Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Hughes has read all of the billionaire’s books, and he and his family had the opportunity to meet the storied entrepreneur in person for a private two-hour meeting at the coffee giant’s Seattle roastery.
The meeting led to him receiving life-changing advice on proceeding with company decisions after asking the simple question: “Will this make my team proud?”
Jason Hughes is extremely proud of his team and refers to them as “the secret sauce” in what has made his firm extraordinary. During team meetings, which he opts to hold in an office living room or at a giant farm table in lieu of a traditional conference room, he likes to ask his team members what they’re most excited about or what’s energizing them at that moment. Ensuring his team feels supported in pursuit of personal growth is another core value of his mission.
As Jason Hughes continues to take his brand, which started in San Diego, onward, he remains focused on reminding senior brokers not to get complacent and that a strong work ethic is still the driving force behind every successful broker.
“There is no free lunch in this business, regardless of how long you’ve paid your dues,” he says. “The top talent is embracing innovation. Without it, the end is near.”