Throughout the month of August, Connect CRE is running a series titled “Leading in Tough Times.” We’ve asked leaders around the U.S. and across the commercial real estate spectrum to share their wisdom and discuss lessons learned. In this installment, you’ll hear from Paul Rahimian, founder and CEO, Parkview Financial.
Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about leading in a challenging environment?
A: Be patient, be fair, and be wise. Good real estate will always appreciate over the long term. When the Fed began raising rates last year, many real estate players hit the panic button. I led with a different approach… move a little slower, be a little more cautious, but not forget the path we are on and the partners we have dealt with in the past and present, and that we want to continue those partnerships in the future. Regardless of whether we were discussing a deal with our lenders, investors, or borrowers, the message was the same… let’s be patient together and figure out the right solution that results in a winning situation for everyone. Market downturns are a time to work patiently with players and achieve optimal results; it’s not a time to give up, flex muscle, or make rash decisions.
Q: What’s the most valuable leadership advice you’ve ever been given?
A: Try to learn something new every day. I had a teacher in high school that would say this every morning at the start of class. It became routine and people started to ignore it, but the reality is that no matter how sophisticated you are, how experienced you are, how wealthy you are, and how high your position might be, you can learn something new every single day. My father is 83 years old and has health complications, yet, he wakes up and spends close to two hours every day to get ready and come to the office. He reads articles, talks to players in the industry, and visits properties. He has told me repeatedly over the years that despite his education and experience – he has a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and more than 60 years in the real estate and construction world – that he absolutely learns something new every day. It can be in the field of your expertise, or it can be something completely unrelated. This mindset motivated me to continue to learn, and I do so constantly. Learning allows you to grow as a person and a professional, but it also keeps you humble and open to new ideas.
Q: What’s the best decision you’ve ever made as a business leader?
A: To create a team that is not only well-received in the real estate space, but that also knows how to work together with respect and integrity. We have a saying at Parkview: “Do what you would do when everybody is watching, even when nobody is watching.” We have always hired the best in the business, but it’s more than just talent and skillset. Our team has always been comprised of good people, that want to do the right thing, even when the decisions are difficult. Our core values of respect, trust and reliability are not just buzz words, they are the essence of our being and beliefs. As we have grown over the years, our team members have also grown. We have learned together, worked together and laughed together – as one cohesive team. Many colleagues in our space give me credit for the success of Parkview, however, the only thing I did right was bring on the highest quality personnel. It’s our team members who have allowed Parkview to grow and gain the respect of our working partners and industry colleagues. This is by far the best decision I have ever made in my career and that will never change.