Chairman, Zeman Homes, Inc.
Mr. Ed Zeman began his career in 1983 and has grown to become one of the most respected and accomplished manufactured home community real estate executives in the country. With expertise in green field development, acquisitions, strategic planning and capital raising, he has a solid record of double-digit revenue growth and long-term value creation. Under his leadership, Zeman Homes has become one the largest privately-owned operator and manager of manufactured home communities in the country.
EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY – Bachelor of Science in Political Science & Business Administration
- True Mentors Founder Club
- Young Presidents’ Organization
- Board Member, Valley Indemnity Insurance Captive
- What is your education level? Graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a political science major and a business minor.
- What are some of your favorite hobbies? I enjoy working and learning, exercising, and playing with my children.
- Why did you join True Mentors? Because I feel the need to help people eager to learn, I realize how important my mentors were in helping me be successful.
- How do you balance work, family, and a social life? It is very difficult, I tend to blur the lines between them all.
- What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get to where you are and what did you do to overcome that obstacle? Wow, tough question, there were many obstacles. I would say the key to overcoming them is work work work, and talk to really smart people who have gone through similar experiences.
- If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be? I can lack patience and get frustrated.
- If you were a mentee, what would you look for in a mentor and why? I want someone who has “been there done that” a person with a LOT of “battle scars” and is kind yet tough.
- What Advice would you give your YOUNGER self, if you was to see them today? I would advise myself to seek out MORE mentors. Also to enjoy the ride more.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? Hopefully giving back and helping people.
- Who was the biggest influence/mentor in your life? Many people. Probably my mother and father.
- How did you get into this profession? My father started the company in 1983 and I started working for him.
- What message you want to give to people aspiring to work in your profession? I would say that working in a niche business or an “old school” business and doing things better than anyone is the way to go. Do not be a “commodity” in your field of work.
- What was your first Job? Sweeping floors and filling dumpsters when I was 7 years old.
- If you had to pinpoint a couple of factors that are the reason for your success in business, what would they be? Work, work, work, work, and work – keep plugging away, get up every day and show up and give your all.
- How many hours do you normally work in a week? Hard to say as I blend work with play…..maybe 60.
- What kind of person would you refuse to work with? Liars!
- What motivates you to do your best on the job? I like to see others succeed and be happy.
- What has been your biggest professional disappointment and how did you learn from it? I have had a ton – I just keep remembering that when one door shuts another one will open if you keep on plugging away.
- What do you look for in a good employees? We have a very clear set of core values, if our core values align that is 90% of success.
- What is your biggest pet peeve in employees? Whining/entitlement.
- How would you describe your work style? At this point I am more of a “nose in / fingers out” type.
- What kind of personality do you work best with and why? I like someone who thinks “5 layers deep”.
- What irritates you the most about other people in business, and how do you deal with it? Liars, dishonesty, unethical people.
- Has there ever been a turning point, or a defining moment in your professional career? If so, what was it and how was it applied? (Was it a good book, or an event, or quote, seminar, or a manager that inspired you?) No, my progression has been a series of small victories and failures.
- What role should ethics (character, honesty, trustworthiness, integrity) play in business, as a business leader, and as a mentor to future business leaders? Ethics are an absolute must to me, it is an immediate deal breaker if someone is unethical and/or dishonest with me. I am very patient and understand mistakes (I have made thousands of them) but covering them up and/or lying about them is unacceptable.
- What are three of your greatest strengths? Why? Trying to keep an open mind and see all sides- Listening. Being brutally honest with myself and others – Honesty. Not getting sucked into conventional wisdom or following the crowd – Decisions.
- What are some of your greatest weaknesses and how do you overcome them on a daily basis? Lack of patience – I try to slow down and calm down. Anger – I have little tolerance for nonsense or laziness. Giving appreciation to staff. I do not do this enough.
- What Mindset is needed to consistently lead? You must be willing to help others.
- What are the qualities of a good leader?Honest, humorous, generous, interesting, humble.
- What are the qualities of a bad leader? Ego, Selfish, disrespectful.
- Tell me the difference between good and exceptional. Exceptional is the extra effort you put in and everyone knows it.
- Do you think a leader should be feared or liked? Respected.
- What do you look for in terms of culture — structured or entrepreneurial? Some of both depending on the size of the organization and the type of business.
- How do you handle stress and pressure? Exercise and eating right.
PRINCIPLES OF SUCCESS QUESTIONS
- How have you create self confidence in order to create your success? It took a very long time and a lot of mistakes to create my confidence.
- What are the most important virtues/principles/traits of leadership that have enabled you to become successful? For me, I think it is diligence and hard work.
- What do you say to a person who wants success but have no vision? I think they have to do a complete and thorough SWOT analysis on themselves and then start to get to work and just start working and keep analyzing along the way.
- How do you keep your Vision alive, innovative, and new? Great question, I think innovation comes because you constantly seek it, I need to constantly get around smart people and ask them what is working for them and what they think I am doing right and wrong.
- Action? What does it mean to you? How do you make it a consistent habit? I am not sure – just get up every day and get after it. Work, work work.
- How do you Eliminate Distractions? I think the first step is being honest with yourself and define your weaknesses then start to work on them and do a fearless inventory with yourself and see how you are doing.
- What does it mean to get in the habit to do more than you get paid for? This is one of the most important things you can do. Always do more and work harder than anyone, keep doing it even though you think no one notices, cream eventually rises to the top!
- What are Tips that you can give in order to have a pleasing personality and influence people? Read. Dale Carnegie “How to win friends and influence people” is a great start. Other than that be honest, do what you say you are, look people in the eye and show a genuine interest in helping others.
- How do you focus your attention as a leader when there are opportunities that come to you every day? You need to start with your vision of what you want your company to be. Once this is done it cuts out 80% of the distractions.
- How do you cope with failure? What does failure mean to you? Failure sucks and I hate it with a passion, you need to acknowledge it and “own it”, vent a bit and vow to be better in the future, then double your efforts.