Chris Drury is no stranger to the real estate business.
A 35-year industry veteran, Drury has helmed the shop at Kia-wah Island Real Estate for a decade.
The company president and broker in charge came to Kiawah from the St. Joe Co. and its predecessor, Arvida, one of Florida’s largest real estate developers. Before coming to Kiawah, he was in charge of sales for the company’s West Florida division. He also was vice president with homebuilder Saussy Burbank, heading up the sales teams at several Arvida residential communities in Charleston, Charlotte and Raleigh.
Kiawah Island Real Estate, an affiliate of Kiawah Development Partners, handles nearly nine out of 10 property transactions on the upscale resort getaway south of Charleston. Last year, the firm was involved in about $350 million worth of real estate deals, its best year since the housing market crashed and the Great Recession started in December 2007.
Q: A brief description of your business?
A: Kiawah Island Real Estate is a residential real estate broker serving buyers and sellers of luxury primary and secondary residences. KIRE lists and sells Kiawah properties exclusively, making it the authority of the Kiawah market. Having completed more than 10,000 Kiawah real estate transactions, our 23 on-Island agents combine their experience to provide buyers the widest range of offerings, and the seller the most qualified prospects.
Q: Who is your favorite business leader and why?
A: Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines. He is my favorite business leader because of the corporate culture he created within the company that he founded. He made work fun for the employee and was very customer oriented.
In the end, he made Southwest Airlines a very profitable company in a tumultuous industry for more than 40 years.
Q: Who is your favorite leader of any kind and why?
A: Abraham Lincoln. He was known for his honesty and humility as well as his great vision.
Q: What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?
A: Study what great leaders have done and emulate those ideals that are congruent with your personal beliefs.
Q: The best advice you could give?
A: Stay humble and lead by example. Always do the right thing. Be fair and honest.
Q: What are you doing to grow the next leader in your company?
A: Among other things, our company offers a customer-oriented training program called “Integrity Service.” This is an 8-week course where participants meet weekly to discuss certain skills and behaviors and then practice these new ideas during the week at their respective jobs. It is far more a personal development program than it is a customer service training program. Over the years we have seen individuals develop new skills and grow into their leadership roles.
Q: What is the best book on business or leadership that you’ve read and why?
A: There are many, but I particularly like “Gung Ho!” by Ken Blanchard.
Q: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader at your business?
A: I see my role primarily as the “head coach” of a very experienced and talented team at Kiawah Island Real Estate. Not unlike an athletic coach. And even the most skilled athletes still need a coach. For example, Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson. As a result, my job is to encourage, support, cheerlead and motivate my team, while keeping them focused on our “big picture” goals, leading by example and redirecting them when necessary.
Q: How do you define a great business?
A: In my opinion, a great business is an organization that serves a need, provides a value-added product or service, builds customer loyalty, consistently generates a profit and, as a result of all of these things, creates an “evangelical customer.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing about doing business in this region?
A: A number of things make this region a great place for business. The Lowcountry’s climate and wonderful lifestyle are ideal. The “Southern hospitality” and culture of the region are very different than the hectic pace of doing business in the Northeast.
Q: Name one thing government could do to help your business?
A: Stop all the regulations on banks, closing procedures, etc.
Q: Name one thing government could stop doing to help your business?
A: See above.