Thoughts on Leadership: Guided by Authenticity

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday off with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly executive team meeting and the monthly CEO Leadership Meeting. On Wednesday, I joined the HomeServices of America monthly corporate team gathering then traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Mark Stark, Gordon Miles and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties leadership team.

If there’s one word that definitely does not describe the city of Las Vegas, it’s authenticity. This is a place for escape, where showstopping entertainment meets extraordinary dining experiences under the glitzy lights of Las Vegas Boulevard. But maybe when we’re confronted with such geographic charisma, we recognize the importance of authenticity even more.

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Thoughts on Leadership: A Rescue to Remember

By Gino Blefari:

This week my travels found me on Coronado Island, California for the 2021 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Summit Conference. One highlight of the conference was keynote speaker Jessica Buchanan, a former humanitarian worker turned bestselling author, who shared her story. Of course, the networking and seeing people in person was fantastic (the Global Conference and Meeting team does an incredible job each year), but Jessica’s talk had everyone in the room glued to their seats. It was extraordinary. The standing ovation she received at the end of her speech was undeniably deserved.

Blinded by the hot Somali sun, warmed by the head scarf wrapped around her forehead, Jessica remembers every detail of being in the Land Cruiser. It was October 2011, and she was in Somali teaching, helping children learn how to avoid land mines. It was a day like any other, until it wasn’t.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Leaders as Teachers

By Gino Blefari:

This week my travels find me at home, starting Tuesday with a Berkshire Hathaway Energy meeting and my typical WIG calls. Today I attended an input meeting for the 2022 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention in Louisville and presented Time Management to the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Remembering Pappy

By Gino Blefari:

For this week’s Thoughts on Leadership, I want to share the story of my father Paul Blefari (Pappy), who passed away last week. My dad taught me to be a better brother, son, father and really, a better person. Below you’ll find the eulogy that I read today during the services. I know from his life story you’ll find endless leadership inspiration.

Hello, my name is Gino Blefari, and I am the proud and loving son of Paul Frank Blefari.  

On behalf of the entire Blefari family, I wish to thank each and every one of you for coming here today to the Church of the Resurrection, to join with us as we honor our beloved father, grandfather, great grandfather, and most importantly, my mother’s cherished husband for 71 years. 

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THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP: MAMBA MENTALITY

By Gino Blefari:

This week my travels found me at home, starting the week with WIG calls. On Wednesday I attended a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices global alignment session with prospective brokerages in Aruba and Germany. Wednesday through Friday I handled family items and prepared for upcoming speaking engagements at the NS3 Summit in Naples, Florida and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Summit Conference in Coronado, California.

The headquarters for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is in Irvine, California, right in the heart of Orange County, and while on the topic of Orange County, Tuesday August 24 was declared “Kobe Bryant Day” in O.C. and beyond.

Kobe and his Mamba Mentality (a mentality to attack what’s in front of you without fear but with passion and purpose) instill so many important lessons about leadership.

Here are a few things we can learn from Kobe’s Mamba Mentality mindset:

  • He was a fierce competitor. Even during Kobe’s high school years playing at Lower Merion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, he would show up to practice at 5 a.m. and stay on the court for a solid two hours. He’d also play one-on-one games with his teammates … to 100 points. (During his worst match-up, Business Insider says he still won 100-12.)
  • He never let anything—even injury—sideline him in the execution of his goals. During his years as a Lakers player, Kobe was always the first player in the gym, even when he was hurt. He once played left-handed because he had an injury to his right hand and was determined not to let it keep him off the court.
  • He combined physical practice with mental motivation. He was a proponent of the mental aspect of the game; former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neill wrote in his book Shaq Uncut that Kobe would often practice dribbling and shooting without a ball and exhibit the same physical intensity as if he had a ball in his hands.
  • He was a student of continuous improvement. According to Sports Illustrated, in 2008 he requested Nike shave a few millimeters off the soles of his sneakers to get “a hundredth of a second better reaction time.”
  • He believed in authenticity and the power of personal storytelling. “Be yourself,” he once said to Bloomberg. “That’s it. Be you. There’s no gimmick. You don’t have to contrive anything. Who are you? Where are you today? What is your story? And all you’re doing is communicating that story to the public.”
  • He was committed to accountability in leadership. Speaking with NBA TV, Kobe said in February of 2015: “If you are going to be a leader, you are not going to please everybody. You have to hold people accountable, even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.” Kobe reminded us that you need to be professional, respectful and compassionate.
  • He programmed the non-conscious portion of his brain to reject failure. To Showtime, Kobe explained: “When we are saying, ‘This cannot be accomplished, this cannot be done,’ then we are short-changing ourselves. My brain process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I have to sit there and face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure,’ I think that is… almost worse than death.”

So, what’s the message? One of the most memorable characteristics Kobe possessed was his ability to work hard. He was gifted, yes, but he was the hardest working athlete on the court (and his teammates acknowledged it). He also encouraged that same relentless drive in those around him. Kobe taught us leadership greatness is not measured by your accomplishments, but rather by the accomplishments you inspire in others. Above all else, that’s the gift Kobe passes on to the world, and it’s one that will allow his enduring legacy to live on forever.

Thoughts on Leadership: Going for the Gold

By: Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday I attended the Top 1% Intero event in Sonoma, California and spent the rest of the week meeting with teams across the globe and holding Q2 reviews.

These past two weeks, there was a momentous event happening every day: the Olympics. I love the Olympics because it brings the best of the best together and showcases their incredible hard work and skill. As Entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, “Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.”

There is no exhibit of high performance greater than the Olympics, and for today’s post, I’d like to share some amazing stories that emerged from these epic games.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Management & Mentors

By: Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. From Tuesday through Thursday, among other things, I conducted 14 CEO and company Q2 reviews, which I’m in the middle of completing as I write this post to you today.

The last three blog posts have been about my mentors (read the Zig Ziglar post here, the Og Mandino post here and the Jim Rohn post here), as well as the leaders who have inspired me throughout my career and had a profound impact on my life. In this post, I’m going to talk to you about an incredible leader who also had a profound impact on my life and career, and that person is Alain Pinel.

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Thoughts on Leadership: The Meaning of Mentors

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting the day with my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had my call with Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the HSF Affiliates Townhall (virtual) and a “Go Live” with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices President Martha Mosier and her team where I presented time management. On Wednesday, today and tomorrow, I’ll cover seven Q2 company reviews.

These past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about mentors. I explained the impact of Jim Rohn in this post, Og Mandino in this post and for today’s Thoughts on Leadership discussion, I want to focus on Zig Ziglar and his mentor, PC Merrell.

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THE INFLUENCE OF MENTORS

By Gino Blefari:

This week my travels find me at home, starting Monday off with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I presented Time Management during Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty’s companywide meeting and today I’m attending a top producer’s event at Intero Real Estate Services.

If you read my Thoughts on Leadership post last week, I referenced one of my mentors, Jim Rohn, and even posted a photo from us in the ‘90s. (I guess funky sweaters were in back then?) Anyway, sharing that story made me think back to when I first met Jim at the very beginning of my real estate career.

When I started in the real estate business, I was working at a company called Fox & Carskadon, a prestigious firm in the San Francisco Bay area. At the Sunnyvale office, I was fortunate enough to end up sitting behind an agent by the name of Mike Ray and to this day, I consider him the best real estate agent I have ever been associated with. Why? He was so, so, so knowledgeable about everything related to real estate and the market. Back then people didn’t have assistants, and even without help, Mike would list more than 50 homes per year, which was a lot for that time. He was just that good. Without the benefits and efficiencies of technology, without social media, without anything but his skills and service, he listed that many homes a year.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Leadership Lessons from Paul Blefari

By Gino Blefari:

This week my travels found me first in Capitola, celebrating the three-day weekend at my beach house. On Tuesday, I participated in the weekly Berkshire Hathaway Energy call and spent Wednesday (and the rest of the week) planning for next week’s CEO leadership meeting and other upcoming presentations.

Often in these posts, I’ll highlight leadership lessons from something I’ve read or listened to, but today is a very special Thoughts on Leadership because it’s all about lessons learned from my dad, Paul Blefari.

Today, July 8, my dad turns 96 years young, and for my entire life, he has been a constant source of inspiration on my leadership journey.

Whenever I’m asked the question, “Who had the biggest impact on you growing up?” I always say my mom and dad. To this day, I make time in my schedule each week for my parents. On Sunday, we get in my car and drive for three hours (we call it the “three hour tour.”). We never have a plan; we just drive. Sometimes we cruise to the San Jose foothills or drive through Los Altos Hills or to my house in Capitola. Sometimes we go to San Francisco or Morgan Hill to have coffee with my friend Ben Bruno. Ben brings out coffee and biscotti and we eat right there in the car. My parents are in a hurry for most of the week, and the only place they really hurry to is the doctor’s office. Sunday is our time to have no agenda except to drive.

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