By Gino Blefari
Just this week, I visited Groton, Massachusetts, a picturesque New England town about 40 miles northwest of Boston.
I was in Groton to celebrate the launch of Maynard-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices N.E. Prime Properties and as I took in all the excitement of the day, I couldn’t help but remember the historic relevance of the land on which I stood. Here, more than two centuries ago, battles were lost and won, and powerful leaders emerged who would soon build a nation of United States from the rubble of a devastating Revolutionary War.
Specifically, I thought about Paul Revere. Courageous and heroic, Revere is best known for his horseback ride under the cover of midnight that warned the Patriots in colonial Massachusetts of an ensuing British army. But did you know that after the Revolutionary War ended, Revere went on to become a successful businessman? Perhaps one of our country’s earliest entrepreneurs, Revere opened a hardware store—he was fascinated by metal work—and founded the first-ever rolling copper mill in America.
In fact, Revere Copper Products, Inc. is still open for business today. (An even lesser-known piece of trivia: Revere was also an amateur dentist, crafting dentures from walrus ivory or animal teeth.)
As a lifelong student of American history and leadership, I’m fascinated by Revere’s story because he was a revolutionary figure with a passion for evolutionary endeavors. And therein we discover one of the fundamental truths about leadership: A leader’s job should never begin or end with one single successful act. Instead, his or her role should be thought of as a perpetual journey toward improvement and progress.
So, let’s all take a lesson from history and pledge to constantly strive for more, to make systems better, to make customers happier and employees more productive and able to achieve. As the story of Paul Revere proves, it is never good enough for great leaders to rest on their laurels—or in this case, their horses.