Thoughts on Leadership: Planning for Success

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels took me to not only three stops, not only three companies but also three countries: London for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co; Berlin to spend time with the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate; and finally, back to the U.S. in Las Vegas, for a meeting with Corporate Magic to finalize the creative planning for Sales Convention 2019.

But let’s back up and dive deeper into each of these three stops, because at every place I went, I left with an important takeaway that applies to all of us as leaders focused on growth and the accomplishment of our goals.

In London, I toured several Kay & Co offices, attended a black-tie launch event and an awards ceremony, and walked through a $55 million listing, or more accurately, a property priced at 42.3 million pounds. (It was just as spectacular as you could imagine it might be.)

I knew right from our initial meeting that the team members at Kay & Co were special but my days in London solidified the notion that they are an extraordinary group of leaders. Kay & Co Chairman Samuel Bikhit founded the brokerage in 1982 and now leads it with Managing Director Martin Bikhit. The estate agency was recently named “Smaller Managing Agent of the Year” at the prestigious ARMA ACE Awards, which recognizes the U.K.’s leading residential asset managers and suppliers. It is also a perennial honoree of the British Property Awards, a recognition program that helps consumers choose estate agencies. Samuel and Martin have assembled a passionate, hardworking team of professionals and I have no doubt they will revolutionize the London market. As Winston Churchill once famously said, “There is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.”

Kay & Co, this is your time., now let’s go out there and take it!

Visiting the Hyde Park office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co to celebrate the brokerage’s launch as a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network.

From London, I traveled to Berlin to spend the day with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rubina Real Estate and Carsten Heinrich, the brokerage’s co-founder and CEO. I began the day with Bloomberg News, sharing insights on the global expansion of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the influences of the U.S. market on international real estate. The team at Rubina Real Estate were exceptional hosts, leading property tours, recording a video and in the afternoon, gathering together for a reception to celebrate the brokerage’s success in the Berlin marketplace and beyond.

Like in London, my overall positive impression of Rubina Real Estate was strengthened tenfold watching our German franchise team in action. Rubina Real Estate is a brokerage focused on helping its clients through technology, service and sharply honed skills. As Albert Einstein, who was born in Ulm, Germany, once said: “Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.”

My time in Berlin proved that Rubina Real Estate agents, like all great leaders, are characterized by their desire to add value to the lives of those they serve. This sentiment isn’t just one I recognized, Rubina Real Estate has won several impressive awards over the years. Rubina Real Estate is a perennial honoree for Germany in the prestigious International Property Awards held each fall in London. In 2017, the brokerage was named Best Real Estate Agency and Best Property Consultancy (Marketing) for all of Europe. The brokerage was also honored at the 2018-2019 Asia Pacific Property Awards, named an Award Winner for Property Consultancy (Hong Kong), Best Property Consultancy (Germany) and Best Real Estate Agency (Germany).

Lastly, I traveled from Berlin to the bright lights of Las Vegas, also home to the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 2019 Sales Convention. And while Sales Convention will take place March 10-12, (learn more at, we already have everything planned out. We know exactly how the show will run, a whole four months before the curtain will rise on General Session, Day 1.

The lesson here is about planning and how crucial it is to success. I can’t stress this point enough: For leaders, it is critical to plan in advance. Whether it’s your own business plan, a listing presentation, a meeting with thousands of attendees or a small, office event, the chances you’ll find success are exponentially increased with careful and thorough planning. (As a side note, after completing our creative planning meetings with Corporate Magic, I tell you this Sales Convention will be the best show ever.)

So, what’s the message? If we combine the three lessons learned in my three stops this week, the overall takeaways are: to surround yourself with competent leaders; always provide value to those you serve; and finally, when tackling anything, plan in advance. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” In fact, Franklin’s quote has had a significant impact on my life. When I was a junior at San Jose State, I remember my professor, Dr. Pete Zidnak, would start his business class with the quote of the day and that Franklin quote was among those he gave to our class. Even now, years later, it still means so much to me and really, should mean so much to everyone reading this post. In any endeavor we take on, we should never fail to plan.

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