Video Transcript

00:09 Barbara Corcoran: So, number seven is "Fun is good for business." I alluded to this early. I think it's the most under utilized tool in doing a business. I built my business half because of publicity and half because of fun. I would spent a third of my time planning the detail of fun again and again and again. The very first event I planned was the Harlem Bus Ride. I simply announced to my however many people at the time, 12, 13 people, that we were going to go on Friday night, "Wear your best outfits. Wear your best jewelry. Oh, my God, really deck up. I have a surprise." "Where are we going? Where are we going?". "Just meet downstairs at 6 o'clock."

00:44 Corcoran: And I put them in the open-air bus. "Where are we going? Where are we going?" "Just hang on!" And at a time when Harlem was downright scary, I took them on a slow tour of Harlem, up and down Harlem. I had at that time only one African-American salesperson who is still with the Corcoran Group, Vee Wilson. And Vee's... Well, we talk about it and laugh now. This is Vee's rendition. She said, "I swear to God. When you had that bus driver pretend the bus was broken and leave us on 145th Street... "

01:13 Corcoran: She said, "I felt like a Maytag pole with those white women clinging to me."

01:20 Corcoran: And let me tell you, here's what happened. Now, here is an interesting thing. We get back to the office. What do you think happened for the next three years when new salespeople joined the company? It became folklore. "Oh, gee, you hear when we went on a tour to Harlem?"

01:34 Corcoran: Alright? And guess what it was, it was a missed fun time. And that was a wake-up call for me, and I started becoming the queen planner of bizarre fun, just doing a knock-off of my father in every way that I could. So, we started with the Harlem Bus Drive. Then we went on to the theme parties. I think that's the next flag here. Is there another flag here? Okay. You can just let these roll. These are all 1940s girl, dress 1940s. The theme parties... We had a party every February. All companies have parties, but they usually have them at Christmas. We had them in February.

02:06 Corcoran: Yeah, bizarre, right? Dressed as a nun! You would think that people wouldn't come dressed as a nun, but trust me, I had like 300 people dressed as nuns. Right? Whatever. But the theme of the dressing is what made it bizarre and fun. When I announced one of the last parties before I sold the company, I was running out of themes, to be honest with you. Cross-dress. I'm telling you, I had a rebellion at the castle. People are like, "I'm not cross-dressing." The straight guys. But guess what? They only way in is if you cross-dress. Do you know how exciting it was to be at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom and look down and see 800 people, and you couldn't tell who were men and who were women?

02:37 Corcoran: Alright? And you know what? It got people out of their comfort zone. It was so bizarre and so ridiculous. And you want to know, early around when we gave these bizarre parties, everybody laughed at us and found us totally unsophisticated. You know what happened in the end? They really were jealous and they started imitating us. But you know what? Not everybody can create fun. I have seen very successful businesses that created fun culture with a guy running the business. He's the most boring guy in the world, but at least he is smart enough to have gotten some weird aspiration to take charge of the fun.

03:08 Corcoran: Fun. We became the creative hotbed of anything new in the real estate business. And the reason we became the creative hotbed is we had all of the ideas outside the company when people were having fun. I never had a good creative idea at my office, none of my management meetings. Let's think of a new way of doing it. We would left-brain analyze and all this. But guess what? It was always somebody else that popped the idea out when we're riding an elephant, riding a camel, whatever the heck we were doing, riding racehorses up and down, riding the motorcycle gang on the back of the motorcycles, whatever.

03:38 Corcoran: People laughed and you know what else you get? In real estate business, top salespeople hate each other. You get a queen bee and she doesn't want another queen bee in that office because she is the star. And you know what I was able to do? Get many queen bees recruited from my competitor firms because I made sure everybody loved each other like one big happy family. And it could not have happened any other way but bizarre fun. So, I'm a believer in fun.