Thoughts on Leadership: Learning from Leaders

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Vancouver, BC for the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Summit Conference and today in Palm Springs, CA for The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals 2018 convention. But more about that great experience in next week’s post …

Today, I want to share some highlights from our Summit Conference, a gathering of top-producing sales professionals in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network and a chance to glean inspiration from those who never rest on the laurels of their success. Summit Conference attendees are constantly seeking to become even better than they already are. They focus on self-improvement and they focus with sharp, thoughtful intention on the future. As Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

As it does each year, Summit Conference 2018 featured some incredible speakers, including our own Chris Stuart, COO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who delivered a powerful presentation that included brand and technology updates, and Wendy Durand, vice president of global marketing for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, who moderated the conference general sessions with expert skill. I was honored to talk to the crowd about disruption, the current state of our industry and where I believe real estate is going.

We were fortunate to have Dr. Daniel Amen speak at Summit Conference. Dr. Amen is a physician and 10-time New York Times bestselling author who gave a fascinating keynote about the brain and how we can change the way we think to ultimately change our lives. Dr. Amen outlined his BRIGHT MINDS approach to enhance memory, reverse cognitive decline and remember what matters most to you.

Additionally, Mae Cheng, head of Dow Jones Media Group’s Luxury Network (also publisher/editor-in-chief for Mansion Global) moderated a fantastic panel, “Building Relationships with Developers.” Panelists were all experts in the new development arena and included: Etsuko Fields, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hawai’i Properties; Steve Chin, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties; Lori Lane, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties; Jonathan Oleinick of Evolution Ventures, LLC; and Dennis Walsh, Certified New Homes Specialist.

Debbie de Grote, owner and founder of Excelleum Coaching & Consulting, also shared her knowledge with the crowd, as did Phil Hansen, a famed artist embracing new ways to create. Hansen has been featured many times on the TED Talks stage and spoke powerfully about creativity and perceived limitations. Phil coined the term “Embrace the Shake” as part of his personal story of transformation. Phil developed an unruly tremor in his hand that prevented him from creating the pointillist drawings he loved. He went to a neurologist and discovered he had permanent nerve damage. Phil was devastated he could no longer bring to life with his hand the art he imagined in his head. Still, unable to stay away from art, he began experimenting with his limitations, and produced a series of creative experiments with different canvases and techniques that would completely change his artistic horizons. Today, “Embrace the Shake” is a motto for many businesses to approach limitations in a whole new way.

Finally, Mike Lipkin, a longtime advertising executive and author, discussed radical change, disruption and a topic close to home for me – leadership.

Speaking of “Close to Home,” the phrase is also the title of my soon-to-be released podcast, which features candid conversations with inspiring leaders from all industries and backgrounds. At Summit Conference, we recorded four podcast sessions with Lori Lane, senior vice president of the New Homes Division, City Haus and Luxury Real Estate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties; Mike McCann of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS® The Mike McCann Team, (ranked #1 team in the network in units and GCI for 2017); and Jeff Cohn of Omaha’s Elite Real Estate Group (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate). Jeff’s team was ranked #2 in the network for units in 2017. His team was also ranked #1 for units in the Midwest region last year. We also recorded a session with Mike the keynote speaker on motivation and persuasion. Stay tuned for the release of those sessions, coming soon!

My overall takeaway from the speeches, presentations and conversations I had with top producers for my podcast was this: Never underestimate the value of exchanging ideas with those who are smart, driven and undeniably successful at what they do. Learning is a constant continuum, not a short trip with a start and end date; keep opening your mind to new ideas, new knowledge and new experiences. It’s the only way you’ll really grow.

So, what’s the message? Remember that phrase I like to say, “Once you think you know it all your slide to mediocrity has already begun.” This week, take it to heart. Chat with someone in your office who is a clear and focused leader. Ask a local business expert to share coffee and ideas with you. Carve out time to attend a lecture given by someone who is at the top of their field. Sign up for Sales Convention 2019 in Las Vegas, where you’ll encounter individuals who will motivate you to enhance your skills and industry expertise. When you surround yourself with leaders who are successful and in the business of constant improvement, I promise you’ll end up in an even better place than you found yourself in today.

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