Thoughts on Leadership: Collaboration and Success

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Lewes, DE to meet with the fantastic team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty and spend time talking to Gallo Realty’s leadership team, including Broker/Owner Andrew Ratner. We sailed along the historic Lewes Canal, we dined outdoors at an incredible, 3-acre property owned by Chris Holt, COO of Gallo Realty’s The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group. We also discussed principles for success, time management and how to create an unstoppable mindset to win in business … and in life. All in all, it was time well spent  and I couldn’t be prouder of the great work the Gallo Realty team is accomplishing in their marketplace.

While in Delaware, I had the opportunity to tour the famous Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, a Delaware mainstay founded by Sam Calagione in 1995. Dogfish Head is as notorious for its brews at it is for its business philosophy: the brewery is one of the fastest growing independent breweries in the nation. (Just from 2003 to 2006 alone it grew a whopping 400%!) Given such massive success, I knew that when I got the chance to meet Sam, he’d  have much to say about business, leadership and growth.

Gino Blefari with Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.

Gino Blefari with Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.

And my instincts were right. Talking to Sam—even briefly—it’s immediately evident why his company has enjoyed such rapid and impressive success: He’s a staunch advocate of collaboration over competition, a concept masterfully outlined in his book, Off-Centered Leadership: The Dogfish Head Guide to Motivation, Collaboration and Smart Growth. Sam understands that working together toward a common goal will always be the best way to ensure success for everyone.

In fact, his brewery has collaborated with businesses of all sizes and in all locations—from local, small establishments to mega-popular bands like the Grateful Dead. Together, Dogfish Head worked with the Grateful Dead on a pale ale called American Beauty, which gets its sweet and toasty heritage from Grateful Dead fans who suggested adding granola as a primary ingredient to the recipe. That’s not surprising since granola was a primary staple of Deadheads.

So, what’s the message? Without collaboration, there is no innovation. Without collaboration, there is no forward movement. Because no matter what business you’re in—beers or helping clients buy and sell homes—it’s the spirit of collaboration that will ultimately get a deal done, expand your business and help you achieve the kind of large-scale, sustainable growth that simply cannot be accomplished alone.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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