Visionary: KW Military’s Levi Rodgers Shares the Lessons That Translate from Army to Business
As the leader of the recently announced KW Military segment, Levi Rodgers has his work cut out for him. “I will be spearheading the educational and recruitment efforts supporting our military,” Rodgers shares. “I feel that internally, we have a responsibility to the agents at Keller Williams to ensure that they not only have access to, but receive best-in-class military focus education, so they can better serve the military and veteran clients that are out here entrusting them with a substantial financial decision.”
As a veteran himself (highly decorated and having served in the U.S. Army Special Forces), Rodgers is heavily in tune with the military community and its unique needs. The leader, who survived an improvised explosive device that left him severely injured and the sole survivor among those traveling in his vehicle, has amassed a wealth of knowledge during his time in the military – knowledge that he has brought front and center into his business, which now brings in between 10 to 15 new agents per month.
“Firstly, you have to be able to dream big and be a visionary, looking two to three years ahead. Also, you have to let others execute,” he summarizes when asked to describe his leadership style. Here, Rodgers shares the military lessons that he carries daily into his business and role as KW Military’s director.
Related reading: KW Military Director Joins Keller Williams Alongside $940M Team
Tactics to Lead Your Real Estate Platoon to Victory
- Never leave your people behind. One of the most important lessons the army has taught Rodgers is to never leave a teammate behind. Every day, he wears a bracelet with the name of the four men that were lost in the explosive device attack as a reminder of this. “If you translate that to real estate, we are not fighting a war, but we have teammates that depend on us. I will be broke and homeless before leaving my team behind.”
Have a meal at an army base, and you will notice that while standing in line to get food, the highest ranking person will be last in line. For Rodgers, the concept is the same in real estate. “I don’t feed myself first. I feed my people first,” he shares. “My people are always going to have business because I make that a priority.”
- Speak your truth. Rodgers’ story carries emotion and resilience. It is also a story that showcases who he is as a person, leader, and business owner. “Once we put my story out there, there were folks who could relate and who reached out. It started at the individual real estate office level, and it compounded. And now, it has morphed into our brand story.” When people connect with Rodgers, they know they can trust him and the team and culture he has assembled – and a key part of that trust comes from the vulnerability and courage to share one’s story publicly.
- Conduct the proper risk analysis. Rodgers’ military career presented many risky situations. In taking those on, there was a process. “Before doing anything, we had a process to identify if the risk was worth the reward. That is a very tactical thing that I’ve taken from the military and applied to my business, ensuring that before I take risks or spend money, I bring in my advisory board and we write out the risks and the rewards.”
- Do not slack on execution. “The models are out there. The important thing is looking in the mirror and executing,” Rodgers shares. “That is something the military has helped me with as well. I’m not afraid of executing and taking calculated risks.” An important aspect of executing? Something Rodgers calls tactical patience. “In a gunfight, sometimes the best thing isn’t to charge the hill, but to take a knee behind a rock and reload your magazines. That is tactical patience. For my business, we didn’t go all in right away. We didn’t start to grow at a very high level until two years ago.”
- Your team is your ship. The military is not the sole space Rodgers draws inspiration from. He shares, his team is incredibly fond of a cinema classic – Forrest Gump. In the movie, Forrest owned a fishing boat, Jenny, and did everything he could to keep it in the water. “We call our company our Jenny boat,” Rodgers says. “Everyone has a responsibility not to poke holes in the boat, and my job is to steer the ship and ensure we stay in the water.” For Christmas, the team even came together and made a replica of the boat by hand!
Exciting Things Ahead
Before joining Keller Williams, Rodgers recalls the company’s theme of putting people first. He even shares that he had donated to relief efforts put forth by KW Cares. “What excites me the most is the opportunity to help others around me. I love this community and its desire to help others win,” he says.
“I think it says a lot about the leadership of Keller Williams to not only fund, but put organizational importance on the military segment,” Rodgers says. “If you look at Gary Keller, Sajag Patel, Wendi Harrelson, Carl Liebert, Marc King … these folks have put all their hearts into the KW Military segment, and I think it shows a lot of care about this segment of the population.”
For KW Military, this is just the beginning.