1880 S Dairy Ashford Rd, Suite 650, Houston, TX 77077

Quattro Development Co-Founders Share Their Unique Approach to Leadership — and Low Employee Turnover

When they established Quattro Development in 2008, co-founders Rob Walters and Mike Liyeos wanted to develop a unique approach to leadership for their national build-to-suit company. One of the duo’s key steps involved creating a workplace that stands apart from the often rough-and-tumble nature of the real estate industry.

“We have a culture that I think is different than our competitors and other development companies that we’ve seen,” said Liyeos. That commitment to a positive company culture has helped Quattro Development stay on track toward its goal of becoming the premier small-shop developer in the United States.

Walters and Liyeos credit the business’s national success to one simple factor: their results-driven employees. The duo created a corporate culture that empowers employees to do their best work. The secret, according to Walters and Liyeos, is about leading for results instead of control. Walters and Liyeos recently shared three tips for successful corporate leadership and creating an environment with nearly zero employee turnover.

Flat Organizational Hierarchy

Most organizations have a clear hierarchy and job titles, but that’s not something Walters and Liyeos wanted for Quattro Development. “I was in the Army National Guardfor a while. I got the Army bureaucracy, chain of command-style of leadership. It just doesn’t sit with me. I don’t like being told what to do. I assume other people don’t really want to be told what to do,” Walters said.

Walters and Liyeos avoid prescriptive, authoritarian leadership styles that they believe are ineffective. Instead, the duo take a less structured approach. “Mike and I are both 50% owners of the company and we just aren’t really title-type people, so we don’t have ‘CEO’ or ‘president’ or something like that,” Walters said. “We don’t really have titles.”

“We’re a flat organization,” Liyeos added. “I think it’s refreshing.”

Walters and Liyeos take action when needed and give every employee an equal seat at the table. Instead of handing down orders, the co-founders oversee a little bit of everything and collaborate with their employees at every stage of a project.

Employee Equity

Walters and Liyeos believe that results happen when employees care about the outcome of their efforts. If a business wants employees to take their work seriously, it needs to give employees a stake in the company’s success. For the co-founders of Quattro Development, that meant giving employees equity in the company.

“One of the things that we offer our employees is an equity stake in every project that we develop so that we’re all working together for the common good of the company,” Liyeos said.

Because of this, the team is much more willing to work hard — after all, they have a stake in the company’s profitability. “If they’re making money for the company, it’s not just for this rich guy to get his next yacht. I think they think there’s a general positive theme in what we do,” Walters added.

Careful Hiring Processes

Quattro Development has nearly zero employee turnover, which is a rarity in today’s labor market. Aside from leading with humility, Walters and Liyeos believe that hiring for culture fit is a contributing factor to their success. “I think we’ve been pretty good at finding the right people,” Liyeos said. “I think we’re careful about who we bring on board because we know it’s just not for everybody.”

To source a results-minded team, Walters and Liyeos try to hire people for whom someone can vouch on a personal level, instead of hiring strangers. “A lot of the people that we’ve hired have come from relationships, either family or friends or whatever, that have been referred to us. That definitely helps,” Liyeos said.

However, all employees are expected to meet Quattro Development’s high standards. For Quattro Development’s co-founders, hiring for culture means hiring people who are self-motivated and who don’t need constant direction to do well. Walters said for those who come in and “think about it as being part of a team, just doing your part for the greater good of that team and assuming it’ll all work out and being willing to figure out how to do things on your own, it’s a great place to work.”

Overall, this approach to hiring leads to better results because Quattro Development’s employees care. “I think once you have that team, then when people outside the organization deal with you, it’s a different feeling than if it’s just people fulfilling a role for their paycheck and couldn’t care less,” Walters said. “We try to get people to really care about the company as though it’s a family.”

Mutual Respect Is the Key to Quattro Development’s Success

Quattro Development is a small business of just ten employees — including Walters and Liyeos — but the company has completed well over 150 projects across 31 states. Walters and Liyeos credit their team and their results-driven corporate culture for this success. “Everybody knows what their job is and they know how to manage their schedule to take as much time off as they need to enjoy their lives. We don’t make people come into the office. We just don’t have rules. Everybody knows what they’re supposed to do,”Liyeos said.

The duo realize that Quattro Development’s success rests on the shoulders of its employees. Going forward, Walters and Liyeos want to equip employees with even greater self-sufficiency and expertise so the business can run independently. They’re confident that Quattro Development’s strong culture will continue empowering its growing team as it serves the needs of businesses across the United States.