Thoughts on Leadership: Think Tanks

This week my travels found me in Las Vegas for the 2016 National Convention of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). From Vegas, it was off to Minneapolis for the monthly board meeting with our HomeServices of America, Inc. team—it’s always great to spend time with Greg Abel, chairman, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. Finally, I finished the week in Park City, Utah for a Mavericks meeting.

What is Mavericks? It’s a small think-tank group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CEOs who meet every six months to exchange ideas and help members grow. Each meeting is hosted by a different company; this one was at the offices of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties, led by Broker/Owner Steve Roney. Every Mavericks meeting proves even more productive than the last and at the end of our time together, I always walk away with actionable ideas to help our affiliates improve, grow and succeed.

Here’s how a 2010 article by The Guardian defined think tanks: “Tanks … provide a space where experts and leaders from different backgrounds and disciplines can develop, discuss and test values, ideas and strategies.” They’re important to business growth from a developmental standpoint and they’re the melting pot into which ideas are thrown, cooked, stirred and subsequently served to the group at large.

For our meeting, we began with an update on the markets of each Mavericks attendee and how their companies and agents are performing against their market. Next, Steve Roney gave a phenomenal overview of our existing Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices companies. From there, we rode a bus to the high-end, boutique offices of Utah Properties that fill some of the busiest spots of Park City, and do so with incredible strength — Utah Properties is crushing it locally as the market-share leader.  After that, we went to see the main office of Utah Properties, just six miles away as the crow flies but our bus ride actually took 40 minutes because we had to go around the mountain terrain.

While at the main office, we interviewed agents and managers in order to give a critique about what we felt was working and not working at Utah Properties. Vince Leisey, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate in Omaha (and our last Mavericks host) as well as Mark Stark, CEO/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, provided updates on what changes they’ve made based on the feedback they received from our group at both the Omaha and Las Vegas meetings, respectively. They also spoke about how these changes had a positive impact on their companies. Tomorrow, each person in the group will offer one solid business ideato the Mavericks and then we’ll end the meeting after this discussion comes to a close.

So, what’s the message? A great idea left unshared is like a tree that falls in a forest. Does it really count if no one can hear it land? The success of our Mavericks meetings proves that ideas collected, discussed and acted on in a group setting are at the heart of transformative innovation because they’re heard by all.

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

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