Meet Rainy Hake, Executive Vice President of Alain Pinel Realtors

rainyhanke SVT: Is 2014 going to be a sellers or buyers market in Silicon Valley?

RH: 2014 should prove to be a more balanced year for both buyers and sellers in the Silicon Valley. 2013 saw Bay Area sales continue to rebound, with median sales price increasing by double digits, plus multiple offers and bidding wars fueled by a consistent lack of inventory.

Moving forward, the California Association of REALTORS(r) is forecasting sustained demand for homeownership with continued, but slower, growth in sales and home prices. The California median home price is forecast to increase 6% to $432,800 and even higher locally.

One thing to watch in 2014 is policy changes to the mortgage interest deduction and mortgage reform, plus the actions of the Federal Reserve which could impact housing affordability and the economy. That said, mortgage interest rates are expected to stay historically low, with 5.3% rates projected for the average 30-year fixed mortgage.

While sellers enjoyed soaring prices and multiple offers in 2013, 2014 should offer patient homebuyers a less frustrating environment – as inventory levels rise, competition from investor’s decreases, and the real estate market becomes more balanced and stable for buyers and sellers.

SVT: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

RH: I have been fortunate enough to have met many amazing leaders and business professionals throughout my 17 year career in real estate, but one of the most influential is a man I have never met.

I have worked for amazingly successful business gurus who have taught me a lot about the practicalities of running a company, including the fact that profits never trump principles when you are building a company intent on long term success.

I have met influential minds from all around the globe who have inspired me to be the best version of myself that I can be. While at Oxford getting my MBA, I learned that the information you ascertain in books is helpful but not nearly as valuable as the relationships you create. Life is about learning and growing as an individual, but knowledge without an outlet to share it, is insignificant.

People who influence us most create more than just an intellectual connection; they make an emotional impact that resonates far beyond a single moment. My family, my teachers, my peers and my colleagues have all inspired me to be the person and leader that I am today. But the person who has impacted me as a leader the most is Abraham Lincoln, a man I have never met but with whom I feel a connection.

Lincoln and I were both born February 12th, only 172 years apart. Given our shared genesis, I have always possessed a curiosity and thirst to learn about the 16th President of the United States. After absorbing lots of school papers, biographies and movies, I feel as though I have a kindred connection to one of America’s greatest leaders. Based on examples from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I will outline examples of attributes that Lincoln possessed and that I have tried to emulate during my career:

  • An Eagerness to Listen to Different Points of View – Lincoln created an environment where others were free to disagree without fear of reprisal. Yet at the same time, he knew when to stop considering the various opinions and make a final decision. It is this democratic leadership style that I, too, embrace as an essential ingredient to running a team of creative and intelligent individuals.
  • A Fortitude to Learn from his Mistakes – No one is perfect, but Lincoln tried new things without a fear of failure – knowing that failure is an opportunity for growth and learning. True leaders embrace the opportunities created by occasional failures, allowing organizations to reach new heights.
  • An Awareness of his Own Shortcomings – As a leader, in order to compensate for your own weaknesses, you first need to recognize what they are. This is why Lincoln built a cabinet whose strengths complemented both his strengths and weaknesses.
  • A Willingness to Share Credit for Successes & Failures – Lincoln stated that the “path to success and ambition is broad enough for two.” Every great company needs a strong leader in the spotlight for people to follow; however, all great people need to feel valued and appreciated. The greatest leaders know how to use the spotlight to lead and when to share it. Great managers surround themselves with an exceptional team, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the people that keep a well-oiled machine in motion, otherwise the whole thing can fall apart.
  • An Adeptness in Channeling Emotions – While Lincoln treated those he worked with well, he also got angry and frustrated, so he found ways to control those emotions and channel them into productive outlets that produced creative and bold solutions. Business is business, but for the most part, it is run by people and not robots, so proactively dealing with emotions in an effective way makes a leader more successful.
  • A Hands-On Management Style Directly from the Field – Lincoln is the only US President to pick up a gun and start fighting alongside his troops on the battlefield. By visiting the battlefield and hospitals, Lincoln established lasting connections with the troops which also helped bolster morale. Any great leader needs to be in the trenches with his people; you cannot effectively lead from an ivory tower.
  • A Courage to Adhere to Fundamental Goals – Despite the immense controversy, Lincoln never wavered on his commitment to ending slavery. Every great leader needs to have clear cut goals and vision based on fundamental principles to use as a beacon of light when the skies get gray.
  • An Ability to Communicate Goals and Vision – Kearns Goodwin stated that Lincoln had a “remarkable ability to communicate his goals to his countrymen.” Goals and vision are only thoughts and ideas, unless a leader can compel action by inspiring others through his words and actions.
  • The Wisdom to Re-Energize – Lastly, often the hardest for most leaders with a passion for their goals, is the insight to take care of self. While Lincoln used humor to relax and replenish himself, all great leaders need an outlet to re-energize themselves, because if the leader is not strong, the organization suffers. So, I have learned that fun is a good thing and creates well-balanced leadership.
    Kearns Goodwin ended her keynote address with the following words from Leo Tolstoy about Abraham Lincoln. His greatness consisted of the “integrity of his character and moral fiber of his being.” When it all comes down to it, I think great leaders have great heart and great character, and I strive each and every day to live up to lessons learned before me and exemplified in great leaders like Abraham Lincoln.

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