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Last Update: Tuesday July 27, 2021

Key Idea: Create Opportunity for Others

Ebby Halliday's strong work ethic and leadership have inspired other's to achieve their own success.

Key Question:


Put the needs of others ahead of your own.

You can only create opportunity for others if you are able to move past being consumed with your own personal goals, or if you are able to set goals for yourself that are authentically other-focused. We learned from Keith Grint, professor at Oxford's Temple College of Business that great leaders think about others more than they think about themselves. They think deeply about how harnessing the efforts of others can and will contribute to the greater good.

Q:  How has Ebby been able to attract and keep as many as 1,600 agents?

Charisma is her opening salvo to attract people, but she has backed up her charm and salesmanship with structure. Like all business owners who have built businesses to withstand the test of time, Ebby put systems in place. Most strong sales people want to sell and to be free from the many details faced by a business owner. Ebby has worked to undergird the sales agents with structure so the agents are free to sell, sell, sell.

Think about it

What opportunities are you creating for others? Do you have defined career paths in your organization? If not, could you? If not, why not?

Clip from: Ebby Halliday built a business and a legacy.

Dallas: Ebby Halliday is a legend in this city.  She started her business in 1946 with nothing but the love of her family. Classic Americana, this is a rags to riches story. She went from the Great Depression to create a multi-billion dollar business.  She is truly one of today's pioneers and quiet heroes. .Today she has over 1500 independent realtors, hundreds who have become millionaires on her watch.

Ebby  will tell us how she broke through the gender barriers long before there ever was a feminist movement, how she found the person who replaced her at the top and why she gave the company to her employees.

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Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Ebby Halliday, Chairman

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Business Classification:
Real Estate

Year Founded:

Create Opportunity for Others

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Since 1945 she's been selling people in Dallas houses, and she's still in the office every day. This woman has built the road to self-employment for thousands. She's created a place where customers are served and where people who want to work for themselves can learn how, and hundreds have succeeded. This may be the largest privately held real estate company in the country, reaching its all-time best this year by moving 17,500 families into homes and ringing up over $3 billion in sales.

EBBY HALLIDAY (Owner, Ebby Halliday Realtors): And let's wind the clock back to age eight.

HATTIE: All right.

EBBY: I was living on a wheat farm in Kansas. And probably my first entrepreneurial effort, I sold Cloverine Salve. I rode my little horse to the neighboring farms and sold Cloverine Salve and learned the profit motive. I made two cents on every can of salve and put my profits back into ordering some more. My mother ordered it for me out of Kansas City.

HATTIE: What would the salve do for people?

EBBY: It would do everything, according to the print. It didn't matter: snakebites, bug bites, eczema, it was a cure-all. Then I went into Abilene, which was 18 miles away, to high school and worked after school, Saturdays and summers in a department store and perfected my selling skills.

HATTIE: Now did your parents say, `Ebby, we expect you to work,' or was this just interesting to you?

EBBY: Oh, my dear, in those times when we were going into the greatest depression the world has ever known, all the banks in the nation closed the year I graduated from high school. And wheat was down to 10 cents a bushel, and even farmers were wondering where their next crop--and some, where their next meal--was coming from. So a work ethic based in that economy, you worked to eat. So I took a bus and went to Kansas City, which was the largest city that I knew about, and applied at the old Jones Store. The personnel department sent me down to the millinery department, and they gave me a job at $10 a week plus a small commission on my sales, and sent me to the basement department.

HATTIE: And that's where you started wearing hats.

EBBY: Yes. It wasn't until later that I traded my product from hats to houses. So in a year or so they transferred me to the W.A. Green store in Dallas, Texas and put me in charge of the main department.

HATTIE: You just kept coming up.


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