#03: Thoughts on Leadership: Giant Qualities Inspire Success

By Gino Blefari

It’s been a terrific few days in New Jersey.

I was honored to speak to agents and managers of Bill Keleher’s Somerset-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties; then sprinted over to Secaucus to address attendees of Tom Ferry’s 2014 Blueprint Conference. I loved both experiences and am in awe of the talent, passion and experience I observed in the professionals I met.

My amazement continued last night while watching my beloved San Francisco Giants battle the Kansas City Royals in Game 2 of the World Series. Though the Giants lost the game – knotting the series at one game apiece – my confidence in their chances to win the series is unwavering for one reason: our ‘X’ factor and leader, Manager Bruce Bochy.

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy

If they win this series, the Giants will have tallied three World Series titles in five years. That’s impressive even by New York Yankees’ standards. Yet the Giants don’t have a Yankee-size payroll (they spent nearly $62 million less than New York in 2014; $91 million less than the Los Angeles Dodgers) and, on paper, they are not the best team. Like the Royals, they qualified for the playoffs as a Wild Card team and had to beat two division champions to get to the World Series.

San Francisco’s roster has changed in those five years but with Bruce Bochy at the helm they perform at their very best when it really counts – when the most is on the line. Bochy and his Giants translate nicely to the business world. Sound leadership and guidance, when matched with passionate, hard-working team players, equate to success at just about anything – baseball, business, real estate.

What makes Bochy such a great leader? At a glance, he’s a strong communicator, he is incredibly humble – respecting everyone – he’s confident in his abilities, and he has an innate sense to manage superstars. In Bochy’s dugout, there’s also great chemistry as everyone plays for the name on the front of the jersey, and not for the one on the back. Those who don’t are moved along to other teams.

Bochy reminds me of what author and management consultant Jim Collins describes as a Level 5 Leader, someone who transforms groups from good to great through a blend of personal humility and intense professional will. According to Collins, who conducted tireless research trying to understand how some companies transition from good to great and then sustain peak performance, a Level 5 Leader is always humble and eschews the limelight. He acts with calm determination and uses his established processes and techniques to inspire. He shoulders blame for substandard performance and credits the team for success.

To me, that’s Bruce Bochy, and Bochy is a big reason behind the Giants achievements. As a Giants fan, I’m proud of our manager and team. As a real estate leader, I’m inspired by Bochy’s qualities as they map directly to long-term success in business and life overall.

GINO BLEFARI is incoming CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

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