Robert Donica


Everybody laughs when we first share with them that one of core values is NO JERKS!, but we actually take it pretty seriously. Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time

Many years ago, I had an employee who was a jerk. Let’s call her Tina. Tina was unbearable. She sulked, pouted, and complained her way through each day. Tina’s life was filled with drama, and she loved to wallow in it. She was rude to co-workers and unwilling to go beyond her job description in her daily activities. She was more than happy to sit idle on a slow day and let others bust their butts around her. BUT, Tina was amazing at her job. It was inconceivable to me that anyone could do what she did as well as she did it. Others agreed with me on that point, but called her top agency Fishers“poison in the pond.” If I were to remove (i.e. fire) her, I was told by a fellow business owner, the rest of my office would be able to rise to their full potential. Tina’s presence was making my office sick. But her work was helping me to grow our business. Although I had tried on many occasions to coach Tina through her challenges, nothing changed. I was in quite the quagmire.

The breaking point

Finally, our other staff could take it no longer. Dedicated and hard-working, they were at the end of their rope with Tina’s foul mood and aloofness. “I can’t take it anymore,” one of our employees confided in me. Despite the hardship it was going to cause me, I made the decision to let Tina go. It was one of the hardest days of my real estate career. I like to develop people and encourage them to be their very best, not whack them off at the knees. But I had an entire group of people who were suffering, and the solution was squarely on me to deliver. At long last, I sat Tina down and gave her the bad news.

A lifting of the fog

You know how in movies, when the villain is defeated, the clouds part, the sun shines, and birds chirp? People come out of their homes, smile, and look up to greet the promise of a new beginning? Well, that’s what happened in my office. A terrible weight had been lifted and the mood in our office changed overnight. No more walking on eggshells. No more working circles around a person who was decidedly not a team player. My entrepreneur friend was right – Tina had been poison in the pond. Our employees felt valued and respected. I no longer tiptoed around the office. We laughed more. We got more done. We were happier. (Except for Tina. I don’t think this process made her happier. But you can’t win them all!)

Lesson learned

Years later, as we were forming Rocket Realty and envisioning who we were going to be, I remembered the painful lesson Tina taught me. No matter how valuable someone’s work is, they must have a positive impact on the overall picture. If their ethics, values, or attitudes don’t align with our high standards, then they’re out. We make new hires very much aware that gossip, drama, bad attitudes, selfishness, lying, etc will never be tolerated. You don’t have to like everyone, but you do have to treat them with respect and kindness. This respect and kindness extends to our clients and vendors as well.

Be confident

You can be confident that each team member you encounter at Rocket Realty has been through the Jerk Filter. If you find yourself faced with a Tina in your real estate transaction, call me. I’ll set you up with some of the most delightful people in real estate, who just so happen to work right here at Rocket. Because we don’t do jerks!

Good luck out there,