Leading a company from a millennial’s perspective

A lot of times when I go about my daily business, people probably wonder how a guy 29 years old can take on such responsibility leading a top real estate development company? I just embrace it.
I still have kept many of the philosophies created by my father, Gary Schottenstein, our chairman and CEO, that have allowed our company to be a leader in the real estate development industry for more than 40 years — one is our six core goals, of which the first one is my favorite: “Build honest, open relationships with residents, customers, contractors, related parties and the public, so that our promises and integrity are unquestioned and reaffirmed to all.”
My father has been a tremendous role model and mentor, offering all of us inspiration, guidance and support. He has taught us by example the importance of integrity, honesty, morality, ethics, character and trust.
He has also tutored us on the importance of the ability to get along and communicate with all types of people from all walks of life. He has established great longtime associations with co-workers, suppliers, vendors and customers — and treats them like family.
A self-motivated employee
Although I have kept a lot of our company’s culture and services, there has also been certain ways our company operates now that I believe is related to my millennial mentality.
Our company culture is a group of hardworking individuals, who work well together creating a great team. We also like to laugh in the office and often have company events and charitable outings.
We don’t have people watching the clock. We want our employees to be self-starters, and create their own ways of getting work accomplished. A self-motivated employee is very important to me; if they enjoy working for our company, it will reflect well on what we all achieve.
Our industry has changed a lot even in my first five years. There has been so much construction occurring that we only focus on the top cities to work with, where we can be one of the only multifamily developers in the market and bring in a top product.
Keep an open mind
Some advice I have for young leaders is when you start off a career you usually are very open minded — don’t lose that.
There is always another angle or a different way to get something done. Don’t get set in your ways, and keep a fresh look at things.

Ultimately we are working for the satisfaction of our residents. I love working on new and innovative developments and nothing is more fulfilling than creating a living environment that allows our residents to enjoy where they live, as well as cities that are proud of our developments.

Brian Schottenstein is the COO and a senior vice president at Schottenstein Real Estate Group, one of the largest developer/builders in the Midwest, focusing on residential and mixed-use developments throughout the Midwest and Southeast. It also is the only three-time Developer of the Year by the Building Industry Association.