Guest Post: 5 Keys to Creating A Selfless Culture by Jonathan Keyser

Published On: March 2, 20206.2 min read

By Jonathan Keyser

For the second of our Scale Up Summit presenter guest blogs, we’re thrilled to publish a blog by Jonathan Keyser, Founder of Inc 5000 Keyser Commercial Real Estate and Wall Street Journal #1 bestselling author of You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Win. Jonathan’s work is the kind of content that makes Scale Up Summit so valuable: a CEO who used innovative management practices to out-scale the competition. 

In the notoriously cutthroat competitive landscape of commercial real estate, Jonathan’s turn to the ‘Selfless Service Model’ helped accelerate Keyser’s growth to become one of the fastest growing commercial real estate firms in the country. We’re thankful for  this preview of what Jonathan will share at Summit and excited to see his whole presentation! 

While I would rather spend a couple of hours with my audience, to discuss the value, creation, and intent of selfless service, I can see the worth of this request. As a result, I have pieced together five practical things you can do to create a selfless culture, or as I like to call it “JK’s Five Keys to Success”.

1. Play the Long Game

Many people in the modern world expect to selflessly serve and gain immediate results, almost like a quid pro quo agenda. However, selfless service is not about instant gratification, and it is not about what you get tomorrow; if you are just in it for short-term gains, this is not the right path for you. If you truly care about long-term sustainable business success, I believe selfless service strategy is for you. To engage in true successful and sustainable selflessness you must play the long game and push through the temptations of premature gain for the value of the other. Some acts of selfless service have nearly immediate results, while others could take weeks, months, or years to pay off or in some cases never. No matter the result or outcome, putting good into the world, even without benefit to you, will never be a bad thing. Trust me, in the end, all the hard work and effort will be worth it.

2. Self-Improvement

 A. Read books

If you were to take a stroll through Keyser’s office, you would find all kinds of books centered around the topic of self-improvement. With subjects ranging from time management, relationship building, leadership functions and more, there is a seemingly infinite amount of resources and ideas waiting to be read and utilized. In a world where most people buy books and never read them or never buy them in the first place, be counter-cultural and pick up a book. It’ll help you unlock your true potential. Some of my best “Aha!” moments have been when I was intrigued by another’s point of view found in a book. Test yourself, set aside a couple of hours a week to read, it is a strategic advantage that most don’t see. Books can challenge you to be a better person, a stronger leader, and a more confident self. Having a confident, unshakable mindset is one of your most powerful weapons. Fueling your mind with encouraging content will lead to an impenetrable strategy; it’s that simple.

B. Hire a coach

My coach and friend Steve Hardison changed my life. Most people won’t hire a coach. It seems unreasonable to them; they say things like “I don’t need a coach I’m successful.” I strongly disagree, I think that everybody needs a coach. The eye cannot see the eye, so it is the mirror’s job to show them what they cannot see on their own. Similarly, hiring a coach helps us see our own weaknesses and build upon them for everyone’s benefit. One of the things that I’ve learned from Hardison is that everyone and everything can be your teacher. If you think you know it all, you are not fit to be a leader. By taking care of yourself and always improving you can be in a position to serve others with more fervor than before. Which leads me to my third point…

3. Be 100% Coachable

Most people reject criticism. A 2018 Gallup survey found that only 10.4% of employees are engaged after negative feedback. We can all agree that criticism is not always fun, we don’t always want to accept it when it happens, and sometimes it’s not true. However, being coachable and open to criticism is the only way to discover ways to truly improve ourselves. Value, in the lens of coachability, is created when a culture embraces truth and vulnerability with one another. Leaders that are coachable create transparent, valuable and venerable organizations.

4. Be Fully Present

86% of smartphone users check their devices while speaking with friends and family. If we as a society are this distracted with our families, think how much of a game-changer and a shock it would be for people to experience that full, undivided attention. With so many distractions begging for our attention, it’s a challenge for society to sacrifice their undivided attention. The only other way we are truly going to connect and serve the other is if we become fully present and absorbed in the conversation. When you listen and actually engage, their minds will be puzzled, because you are showing that you care about them, on an individual level.

5. Never Punish Mistakes

Punishing mistakes is a killer. Fear keeps people out of bold, courageous, massive action which is precisely where value is created. You want your team’s creativity to be unleashed, rather than afraid, timid or looking over their shoulder. In a work environment where people are free to be creative without fear, your team can achieve excellence through their newfound go get ’em attitude. By punishing mistakes, employees will never know their true potential, and neither will you. Don’t take my point out of context though, if someone is habitual with their mistakes, instruction and action should be discussed. But like stated above, when you enable people within your business to take risks and be unafraid of failure and punishment true significance is created.

Jonathan Keyser headshotAbout the Author: Jonathan Keyser is the founder and thought leader behind Keyser, the largest occupier services commercial real estate brokerage firm in Arizona. An Inc. 5000 company, Keyser has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing firms of its kind in the country, serving companies and their real estate needs globally. His selfless service approach to business has resonated with corporations and individuals seeking a competitive edge to acquiring and maintaining clients. Keyser’s best-selling book You Don’t Have to Be Ruthless to Win and online Keyser Institute courses inspire others to activate selflessness in their life and see how and why this counterintuitive strategy can create extraordinary, long-term success.


Ruthless Book shotJonathan is a featured speaker at Scale Up Summit 2020 in Dallas, TX. The premier learning experience for leaders at growing companies, this Scaling Up Summit features keynotes and workshops from leaders in strategy, sales, marketing, branding, and leadership. In addition to gaining a year’s worth of valuable business knowledge in just two days, ScaleUp Summit is a fantastic opportunity to network and start a dialogue about ideas for moving your business forward with your executive team and owners of other leading scale up firms.

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