Posted on January 27, 2014

Developer Ryan Beedie shares leadership lessons

REAL ESTATE | 60-year-old development firm Beedie Development Group has expanded tenfold in past 20 years

By Glen Korstrom
BUSINESSVANCOUVER

Real estate developer and Beedie Development Group president Ryan Beedie delivered plenty of business lessons during a discussion with members of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs January 20.

Foremost among them: give employees a chance to grow by having a feeling of authority over the part of the company that is theirs.

Beedie attributes his company’s success in large part to his father

doing that with him. “I’m really reluctant to overrule someone on something unless it’s major because it’s like I’m saying, ‘I don’t believe in you,’” Beedie said.

Once the best employees possible are recruited, he said the next task is to cultivate an environment where they feel free to share critiques. “I want to be challenged,” Beedie said. “We want the best outcome, and we’re not going to stick to a line of thinking just because that’s the way we’ve been doing it.”

Beedie Development Group has also been able to grow approximately tenfold in the past 20 years because it has guarded its reputation tenaciously and treats clients as Beedie himself would want to be treated.

The company has what it calls a “lifetime guarantee” on its buildings, and when it comes to deals, Beedie’s priorities are reputation and relationships rather than grinding every possible dollar from a client.

Things were different when his father founded the company and every dollar helped determine its survival.

Now Beedie says if he gets 85% of what he wants on a deal, it’s a win. His father also taught him the importance of humility.

Beedie and his father butted heads for years over whether to move the company’s head office out of an aging office on Kingsway Avenue. When Beedie’s father finally approved the move, painstaking efforts were made to ensure that his office was as similar to the original as possible.

Beedie said his father later wrote in an email, “I’m sorry for causing such stress over this issue. I was just afraid of change and what would happen on the other side.You were right.”

Beedie then added: “Being able to apologize is a beautiful characteristic that a lot of people don’t possess or they have a difficult time getting there because their ego won’t allow them.”