Thoughts on Leadership: A Business Philosophy

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Orange County, attending meetings and alignment sessions with prospective brokerages for our Real Living Real Estate and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (domestic and global) brands. We usually conduct alignment sessions at least once per month, and they’re a great chance for leaders to get to know our team and how we can align on customized strategies to help execute their Wildly Important Goals (WIGs). Our mission is to always help them achieve their goals faster than they would in our absence.

My role in these alignment sessions isn’t really to provide an in-depth overview of the brands—although I’m happy to answer whatever questions they may have—but instead to talk about our overall business philosophy, unique to us and our team, which I believe is a distinct competitive advantage of joining our brokerage networks.

We all have industry-leading technology, we all have systems and tools, (and those are incredibly important facets to any well-run organization) but what really separates one brand from the next is the distinct philosophy introduced by its leaders to guide the business through innovation, iteration and the achievement of its WIGs.

Speaking of WIGs, part of the overall philosophy I review with our prospective brokerage leaders is our specific West Coast Offense for running a real estate company, which includes the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) system followed by every leader in our own organization. I also discuss our fundamental view on leadership, and how a leader’s No. 1 role is to lead by example, the most basic and most violated tenet of leadership. And leading by example means being the very best version of yourself you can be, so that those who follow in your footsteps operate at their best, too. As famed basketball coach John Wooden once said, “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”

A leader must always be the most disciplined, most consistent, most persistent, most authentic, most service-oriented and most personally developed member of the team.

A good leader is all of those things (and more). A great leader practices those traits every day so they become part of her or his non-conscious brain. Remember, the non-conscious brain is servile; it sets no goals of its own. It doesn’t judge the merit or value of the goal, it only tries to carry out the given order.

Goals are, in fact, a huge part of my discussion at these alignment sessions, along with the importance of committing to what you say you’ll accomplish. The truth is, a lot of people think they’ve instituted a system of monthly commitments but very often the system falls short.

Commitments are not goals. Anything you commit to declare, you’re expected to accomplish.

Commitments are also empty promises unless you track them to completion. As part of our philosophy, our team members prepare 10 monthly commitments—I usually do seven business commitments and three personal commitments—and send these commitments to me on the 1st day of each month. Here’s an example of what a list of January commitments might look like:

  1. 24 days worked (1 holiday + 4 half Saturdays) + 5 days off
  2. Write 20 handwritten notes
  3. X hours prospected for listings
  4. X hours prospected for buyers
  5. X listing appointments set
  6. X buyer appointments set
  7. X calls to Circle of Influence
  8. Read/listen to X book
  9. Work out X days/week
  10. Drink X ounces of water/day

So, what’s the message? Sometimes, it’s not enough to show prospective brokerages, or clients, or business partners all of the things your organization has. Sometimes, you have to show them the reasoning behind all that your organization does. This begins and ends with leadership, and the specific philosophy the leader sets as the ultimate example for the rest of the team. Because at the end of the day, a company is only as good as its people. It’s only as integrous as the integrity of its team and it’s only as successful as a leader allows it to become.

As Jim Rohn, a mentor of mine, once said: “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” Success, at the end of the day, isn’t found in a machine. It’s found in the mindset of leaders determined to be the best.

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