Thoughts on Leadership: Leveraging Change

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me traveling to Dallas on Monday to participate in a HomeServices leadership meeting, then flying home Tuesday evening to attend meetings for the rest of the week. And of course, earlier this morning, I sat down to write this post to you.

Today I want to talk about change. When HomeServices was founded in 1998, it was on a mission to do things differently: to change the brokerage model and to embrace an ongoing commitment to innovation. That mission has led to years of financial success and a legacy that’s unstoppable, and that 1998 mindset is one we must still embrace today.

Read more: Thoughts on Leadership: Leveraging Change

Twenty-five years ago, the world was much different. To give you an idea, here’s what life in 1998 was like:

  • Top movie: Titanic (no reflection on today’s real estate market)
  • Top TV show: ER (no reflection on today’s interest rates)

The top Fortune 500 companies changed a lot, too. In 1998, General Motors, Ford Motors and Exxon ranked in the top 3, respectively. Today, the top 3 Fortune 500 companies include Walmart, Amazon, and Apple. Do you know how many of the top 10 companies from 1998 made the list today? Two. In fact, Google was founded on September 4, 1998! A total of 179 of the current Fortune 500 companies didn’t exist in 1998, and more than half – exactly 291 – of those Fortune 500 companies on the 1998 list are no longer in business today.

In life and in business, there will always be someone who’s better. There will always be another level to achieve your stretch goal. Please understand that your stretch goal is someone else’s baseline … but the truth is, you should have a baseline that’s a standard people can’t even aspire to achieve. You should have goals so big they scare you, goals that the person reading (or writing) these words right now doesn’t even yet have the capacity to achieve.

Every goal you accomplish in your life means that you have become a better version of yourself to achieve it. And that means setting a standard higher than anyone else’s. There will always be another level. There is no “I’ve arrived.” That’s when complacency sets in. Complacency is the most insidious disease in the world. It just sits up on your shoulder and says, “Everything’s fine, I’m doing great. No need to improve.” That’s when we stop learning. That’s when we stop growing.

To prevent complacency, here’s how adopting the mindset of embracing change has defined HomeServices over the last 25 years:

Number 1 – Know that there’s always somebody who is playing at a higher level. There’s somebody who is creating distance from you, and your job is to catch up and pass them. You must create goals that inspire you to become even more than you are right now.

Number 2 – Find mentors. A mentor will take you from where you are today to somewhere entirely new. They’ll move you in ways you can’t move yourself. And a mentor doesn’t have to be a physical person standing in front of you or someone texting you every day. It can be a book, a podcast, an article you read online or a YouTube video. Mentors don’t have to know they’re mentoring you to do it. For me, Earl Nightingale was a mentor with his recording of “The Strangest Secret.” John Wooden was a mentor of mine with his pyramid of success, which became the foundation for the Intero Value Pyramid. Jim Collins became a mentor with his book, “From Good to Great,” which was integral to the original vision of Intero. Jim Rohn became a mentor. Brian Tracy became a mentor. Zig Ziglar, Anthony (Tony) Robbins, Jack Welch, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Warren Buffett, Greg Abel … you must have mentors in your life because you must have leaders in your life who have been where you want to go.

Number 3 – Remember that inspirational discontentment is your friend. You will never make any dramatic change in your life until you become so upset with where you are that you finally do the things you’ve been avoiding doing. When you’re discontented enough, you will do them. You can complete all the busy work in the world, but as Jim Rohn would say: “Never mistake activity for achievement.” Once you become frustrated enough with your life, you’ll make the significant changes necessary to become better and finish the work you’ve been avoiding. Inspirational discontentment is not a setback, it’s a tool for transformation beyond your wildest dreams.

Number 4 – Commit to doing the work. The people who have made it to the top – superstars, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, activists, athletes – they outworked, out sacrificed, outgrew, and out hustled everyone around them.

This is our season of change. To get better for our agents. Our offices. Our teams. Our clients. Our family. Ourselves. Managing change is a myth. Who would want to manage change? That’s like managing fear. We must leverage and harness the power of change. In Jim Rohn’s famous “The Set of the Sail” speech, he talks about how all of us are on a little sailboat and it’s not the blowing of the wind, but the set of the sail that will determine where we go.

The same wind blows on all of us – the winds of disaster, favorable winds, unfavorable winds, political winds, social winds, economic winds … it’s all the same. Where we arrive doesn’t depend on the winds, it depends on the set of our sail. We can set our sail in the same direction, or we can set it in a better direction. It’s entirely up to us. We can correct the errors of the past and develop new disciplines for the future. And anyone can do this. There’s no law or rule that says one person can do this and another can’t. It’s about wanting to make the change, getting so fired up about your current sail that you know in your heart you must go somewhere new. Jim Rohn says, “For things to change you have to change.” It’s why you meet new people. It’s why you’re reading these weekly posts and why I listen to new books and podcasts every day. I try to learn one thing new every day.

Together, we must be committed to changing our thinking in a way that will change our lives. Jim Rohn says, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

So, what’s the message? The challenges you face today provide you with the wisdom necessary to grow. You can’t fly without gravity, just as you can’t achieve your goals without leveraging the difficulty, the struggle, the complexities, and the knowledge that comes from the ever-present winds of change.

Thoughts on Leadership: Leading through Change

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls, though Monday wasn’t typical at all. (More on that soon.) On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Executive Team Meeting and on Wednesday, I presented time management to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty followed by a HomeServices of America-hosted commercial real estate market update with National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. I finished the day with a global/domestic alignment session and today, I’m writing this post for all of you.

Let’s travel back in time to Monday, which I mentioned was far from usual. In the morning, we announced that Christy Budnick, former CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, was promoted to CEO of HSF Affiliates and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. I’ve worked with Christy over the years and have seen her lead with confidence, compassion and care. She brings experience and charisma to this role, and I look forward to supporting her growth.

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By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, beginning the week with my normal Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I had a HomeServices of America Corporate Team Gathering and on Thursday I was a guest speaker for Guarantee Real Estate’s managers meeting. I also participated in five succession planning calls this week.

Being a leader means constant self-reflection, accessing your habits good and bad to double down on the former and break the latter. It’s part of a constant re-invention process every leader must regularly go through to evolve and grow. If a leader is going to be a catalyst for outward change, they must also be a source of inward change. And there are three key characteristics that help in this leadership evolution: staying humble, hungry and smart. Let’s examine those attributes and their distinct components as they relate to effective leadership:

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By Gino Blefari

This week my travels (virtually) found me first on Monday completing my regular round of calls, which included my 4DX call with the franchise sales team followed by a weekly update call with all of the national department heads at HomeServices of America, followed by the 4DX call with 30 CEOs of HomeServices of America companies. Tuesday, I discussed 4DX with the leadership team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, then I finished my day with a HomeServices of America team meeting. On Wednesday, I participated in an Ebby Halliday Facebook Live chat with CEO Chris Kelly. Today, I was a guest speaker on a Zoom with the Northern California Women’s Council of Realtors, presenting Mindset Leadership & Marketing Amid COVID-19. Finally, tomorrow I’ll wrap up my week talking all things 4DX with the leadership team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago.

Between virtual meetings and the whirlwind of everyday work, I’ve been revisiting the key insights from some of my favorite business books, “The Leadership Challenge” by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. Particularly applicable is the authors’ chapter on leading through change, and the importance of being proactive about changing course when challenges present themselves. They place emphasis on combatting challenge with change, and even purport that it’s a leader’s top priority to do so.

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By Gino Blefari

This week I taught in a 4DX virtual training with the Guarantee Real Estate leadership team. On Wednesday and today, I’m virtually hosting the HomeServices of America CEO Leadership Conference.

Specifically, the conference was organized to address COVID-19 from a future-thinking perspective.  How will business look in a post-COVID-19 world? What could be transformational about how we approach strategies, execution and successs?  

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Thoughts on Leadership: A Time for Change

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in New York City, in particular at the prestigious Harvard Club for RISMedia’s Real Estate CEO Exchange, which brings together more than 225 powerhouse real estate leaders from all brands and all sectors of the industry to strategize on how best to meet the needs of today’s consumer.

I’ve been attending this event for more than 20 years and you might ask yourself why I go back to the same conference year after year … Well, here’s why …

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Thursday Thoughts on Leadership: T3 Summit

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Westlake Village, CA for the 2017 T3 Summit, a premier real estate event that brings together leaders from around the country to take part in hearty discussions about the current state of our industry and how to best move the needle forward and bring about positive, progressive change. More than 30 CEOs and C-level executives join Stefan Swanepoel, chairman/CEO of the T3 Summit Group, onstage during the conference, sharing their unique experiences and how they’ve overcome challenges specific to residential real estate. I was humbled to have been asked to be among this group and honored to share my life’s story with the crowd.

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