Thoughts on Leadership: Crushing It

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first working from Northern California and today in Las Vegas for a dinner meeting with Mark Stark, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Mark’s company was represented at our recent Mavericks meeting, a think tank of network CEOs created to discuss the performance of our brokerages. As the saying goes, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”

It’s an interesting concept to explore—the idea that measured performance equates to a faster rate of success—especially this week when I’ve had the opportunity to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, Crushing It. Ultimately, the book is all about how your individual performance can either wade in perpetual mediocrity or, for the inspired leader, allow you to achieve your dreams. If your performance is the latter, then you’re crushing it.

As you may know, Gary’s company, VaynerMedia, is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ new ad agency—Have you seen any of our brand videos on Instagram or Facebook yet?—and our philosophies about business and life are in alignment.

In the book, Gary defines “crushing it” as “earning what you need to live the life you want and loving every day of it.” You’ve probably heard me say it before but to be the kind of leader who achieves his or her goals, you must love what you do. (On a related note, you also must love who you do it with.)

Another key to success that Gary outlines in the introduction is the principle that you must continuously strive for more. He writes: “It’s a matter of survival to think beyond your current success and constantly look for ways to create new ones so that you’re never limited to any one platform or even one topic.”

As leaders we should keep our minds open and nimble. Learn as much as we can without avarice or ego, and understand that as the world changes, we must forever change with it. Success is always in flux.

This idea applies not only to social media, where developments happen with such lightning-fast speed, it can almost seem like you’ve just mastered one platform when a new one comes on the scene, but also to business. Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

To keep you in the mindset of embracing—and not eschewing—change, here are my 10 key takeaways from Crushing It:

  1. Top entrepreneurs share three characteristics: A commitment to service, a desire to provide value and a love of teaching. Quality service is no longer enough. We must provide excellent skills that customers cannot find anywhere else. Remember, service is the frosting on the cake but never the entire cake.
  2. Success lies in how much you care. Caring about your clients, business partners and customers is the best marketing strategy you can employ.
  3. You have to make sure you are always updating your knowledge and providing information and insight that people can’t get anywhere else. Use this as a guiding principle when deciding what content to post on social media.
  4. Your natural gifts can only take you so far. In order to really find success, you have to work at it and work hard. If you’re passionate about what you do, it won’t feel like work.
  5. You must let yourself be both your judge and jury. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. If you’re confident in your abilities and stay true to who you are, your authenticity and self-assurance will guide you.
  6. We’ve been conditioned to believe that anything on a screen has to be perfectly polished and produced. This isn’t true. Today, social media is about documenting rather than perfecting. Learn as you go. See what consumers respond to, what works and what doesn’t. The marketplace will always be honest with you. If you release yourself from the confines of perfection, you’ll create uninhibited by judgment; the quality of your content will naturally improve.
  7. Listening is as important as engaging. On Twitter, for example, the ability to listen to what people say is one that is underutilized. When your customers know you’re truly listening, they’ll respond in kind.
  8. The more content you put out, the more opportunities you create. A comment on your next Instagram post could lead to your next deal.
  9. For those who aren’t comfortable on camera, podcasts are a great way to engage. With easily accessible technology, it’s easy for absolutely anyone to start a podcast that highlights his or her passion and expertise. Review restaurants or shows in your community, talk about the real estate market and what local trends you’re observing. If you’re interesting, people will be interested.
  10. Voice-first is the future. Gary writes: “Podcasts fill our brains during the longer periods when we’re quiet, such as while we drive or travel. Voice-first platforms are going to allow us to fill our brains during all the interstices of our lives, those blips of time that used to be lost to forgettable activities like brushing our teeth, sorting through mail or even checking our phone notifications.”

So, what’s the message? The key to truly crushing it is to understand that there’s a reason Gary uses the continuous form of the verb. It’s no longer sufficient to crush it and sit back, content with what you’ve done. Crushing it is a perpetual activity. Because our world is ever-evolving toward greater effectiveness and efficiency, the principles for successfully crushing it will be ever-evolving, too.  Gary perhaps said it best in his final chapter: “As long as we exist, humans will continue to embrace whatever inventions and innovations offer us the most speed and convenience.”

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