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7 Questions with Patricia Santos
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7 Questions with Patricia Santos
Name: Patricia Santos
Current title: CEO
Current organization: Zome
Married for 21 years, mother of 2 daughters. With a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from University of Minho, with a postgraduate degree in Safety at work from ISLA and a degree in Law from Universidade Católica, not yet finished, training in classic NLP and a new code for NLP, Coaching and Neuro Communication.
With more than 18 years of professional leadership roles in reference companies, where his career of more than 14 years in project management, business creation, development of business models, systematization of methodologies stands out. of work and leadership of commercial teams, in a national and international context.
I set high goals for myself and others, and expect to meet those goals. I’m a strong self-starter who shows a high sense of urgency to get things done... now. I like to get things done quickly, and that includes conversations.
I frequently look for new, better, and more efficient ways of getting things done. I tend to have high urgency and little aversion to risk, often seeking ways to reduce costs (both money and time), and make systems more streamlined and efficient.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
As CEO of a large company, I faced several challenges, having to choose just one, I would say it is to be able to develop the ability to inspire the company's leaders to the importance of developing themselves as leaders, to invest in training their teams, to how crucial it is to give yourself passionately in what you do, because at the end of the day, the company's profitability is just the result of multiplying the number of people we attract to our organization, by the number of lives we change, that is, the people we help to fulfill themselves personally and professionally. (profit = people X changing lives).
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started my career in the field of construction of telecommunications sites and later on wind farms, in the health & safety coordination. My attitude has always been to involve the team in the importance of complying with the rules and why they existed to protect them. I have always invested a lot in my learning and growth to be a reference in my area of expertise, and I worked purposefully to become a project manager, in addition to my basic training in engineering and industrial management, I did a certification as a project manager and so I was able to take the leap in my career. I realized over time that what I was passionate about was being able to leverage the talent within each element of my team, and being an entrepreneur was in my blood. In 2006, with my husband, we opened a real estate agency in a franchising system, but only in 2011 I dedicated myself full time to this project, after realizing that it made it possible for me to fulfill my purpose: to change lives!
Once again, I invested a lot in my training to become a reference in the real estate market and in the management of real estate teams, once again combining my basic training with other complementary training: coaching, NLP, neuro communication and systematizing and simplifying all work processes. I gave many hours of training, trained many consultants and real estate teams and coached hundreds of consultants.
In 2019 we joined another large real estate group and created our own brand and franchise model, we are 9 founders of the company and I was nominated for the company's CEO for recognition and credibility in the sector, at the time I managed one of the most productive units in the country with more real estate teams and for my communication skills and ability to motivate people.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My day starts early. I like waking up calmly because I need at least 20 minutes to wake up. So, I wake up at 7 am and listen to music for 20 minutes. Then I will wake up my daughters. For us, it's very important to start the day with cuddling. We have breakfast as a family, before walking our dogs. On the way to school, music returns to accompany us, and sets the rhythm of our beginning of the day.
I arrive at the office and like to chat a little with the team. Then I listen to 30 to 60 minutes of a podcast, or YouTube, or read something for my own development. Two hours later, I take a break for coffee and some more conversation. I believe these moments are important, not only to unite us as a team, but also to give us energy to work. I also believe that, in these moments, very powerful ideas and insights emerge that help guide the company's course.
It’s usually my lunch time.
After lunch usually, that's when I have several meetings on strategy, management, status and creation of new concepts.
I return home with my husband, and this moment is full of kisses and hugs from our daughters and games from our dogs. Family meals are moments that I value a lot and that's when I take the opportunity to find out how the day went by all the family members, when we have relaxed moments that help us share the happy moments and abstract from the most challenging situations.
At bedtime, after snuggling with my daughters so they can have sweet dreams, and returning to walk our dogs, I take the opportunity to read, study, investigate, think of new ideas or watch a movie or a series with my husband. I also like listening to music before bed.
The weekly schedule
In fact, music follows me all the time and, despite not having a favorite musical style, I always choose music that is related to my mood. It helps me to gain energy in certain contexts and also contributes to my inspiration. This positive impact of music turns out to be relevant in a life as full and intense as I have.
I choose to organize my weeks by dividing the tasks over the days of the week.
On Mondays, I focus on the fortnightly meetings with the directors of Marketing and Training Department, the weekly meeting with the national Zome leadership.
On Tuesdays, I have the weekly meeting of the Executive Committee, where we assess the current situation against the defined objectives.
On Wednesdays, I have a weekly meeting with the operations department and this is also the day of the week that I choose not to schedule any more meetings as I like to have a day to think about the business and the improvements to be made. As a rule, it's the day I dedicate to organizing the creative ideas that come to me. After structuring the ideas, I prepare a presentation for two to three people on the Executive Committee, according to the areas that the ideas in question will impact, so that we can discuss these themes and improve the concept.
On Thursdays, I have the weekly management meeting of Grupo Business Hubs, of which I am a shareholder. And, at the end of the day, at 9.30 pm I have a relaxed and improvised chat at the Club Epic Start of Real Estate at the Clubhouse.
On Fridays, (when possible) I record the episodes of the podcast “Power Minute by Patricia Santos”, I have the fortnightly meeting with the finance, technology, expansion department and with my Coach. It is also the day of the monthly meeting of the Zome Administrative Council.
To compensate for the intensity of my professional schedule, on weekends, I like to ride a bike with my husband and socialize with family and friends. I maintain a balance between my personal and professional life that is essential for me to feel fulfilled. Of course, in the current context of the pandemic, some of these activities take place at a distance, but fortunately we have at our disposal several platforms that allow us to be close to our family and friends.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Being a leader is not being a superhero, being a perfectionist, I am very demanding with myself and as the company grew, my expectations for myself also increased and I often felt overwhelmed with the feeling that I could not fail. The biggest lesson I've learned recently is that what people look for in a leader is a human being and not a superhero, no one looks for a perfect human being.
As leaders, having the ability to assume that we also have fears, that we also have frustrations, that we also have feelings, that we are human beings and sharing how we do to overcome them is much more valued by the team and helps them to grow much more than if we put on the superhero cape that nothing affects us.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I read a lot of books, so it's not easy to say which book had a profound impact on me. I'll mention one that profoundly changed my way of thinking and therefore my way of leading. Grant Cardone's The 10X Rule. When in 2006 we were defining the company's annual goals, we had only one real estate agency, just opened, we set a goal of €500,000, which for the first year, considering that we had only 1 semester and we were in a city with less than 2000 real estate transactions, was ambitious. We were challenged to multiply this goal by 10 and with that it went to 5 million€. This goal became our goal for the next 5 years, and yet it was a goal that left us with butterflies in our stomachs, of how we were going to achieve such a record. I wrote the goal down on paper and taped it to the door in the kitchen of my house. We knew that in the city we were in, there was no market to reach this value, which forced us to think differently and expand the business to other cities. It took us 6 years to go over the 5 million, as you can imagine it was really annoying (I’m kidding). Today we own our own franchising brand, Zome, which in 2 and a half years has already 26 units in Portugal and Spain and is expected to close the year with 27 million in sales and more than 600 million euros sales volume.
In fact, it wasn't until I was challenged to do this exercise and learned that it was from The 10X Rule book that I read it, and it continues to be a rule that, not only, I continue to apply, but I enjoy challenging others to do it.
We all tend to overestimate what we can achieve in 12 months and underestimate what we can achieve in 5 or 10 years.
In 2006 we set a very ambitious goal, never imagining that 16 years later we were going to own a franchisor brand, with 26 units and earning 54x more.
When we multiply by 10 what we want, it is not a matter of immediately achieving 10x more what we want, but rather changing the way we think and act on what we have to change in order to get 10x more results.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
For me, leadership is built on trust, trust reinforces relationships and friendship, which in turn improve communication, pride and a sense of belonging.
These are, for me, the essential ingredients for leadership that connects people.
The way we build leadership capacity in the company is through a careful selection of the people who are part of the team, they have to identify with our principles and values, as this is the only way to be able to transmit and generate trust. We do not teach people neither attitude nor values, we select the people who fit the profile we are looking for, everything else we teach.
We have a unique training plan in the industry that not only includes training in technical areas of real estate, but also in the area of leadership, coaching, neuro communication, neuroleadership, communication, marketing, trainer certification, etc...
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Fortunately, I have several stories, in our company we value social sustainability a lot and that's why we like to contribute to society in actions that we call Zome 4life (Love, interact, feel, embrace) and our most recent action was on our anniversary on April 21, where for three days, in all our HUBs there were static bicycles in which the kilometers traveled were converted into money to support the purchase of equipment for people with reduced mobility. The entire Zome community got together and more than 1000 people cycled “raising” a total of 3,347 kilometers to support the Associação Salvador (an institution that helps people with reduced mobility). A joint effort that turned into two electric wheelchairs, a lifting platform and two manual wheelchairs, which changed the lives of four people with physical disabilities.
Our mission “Change Lives, together!” it is very present in everything we do on a daily basis, and goes beyond real estate mediation. We don't just want to be the best company in the world, but the best company for the world!