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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Thoughts on Leadership: Leadership Lessons from Hawaii

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Wailea, Maui, recharging with my family – that is, until I wasn’t.

“Let me know how I can help. Ginger chews? Gatorade? I have some ginger chews already and will send ginger ale. Our Chef is also putting together some assorted teas. Wishing you all the best and let me know how I can assist in any way.”

It was a text from an unlikely source, though not as unlikely as you’d imagine.

Well, I’ll back up a bit and tell the full story.

On Tuesday, I was walking around the beautiful grounds of the Wailea Beach Resort. If you’re ever in Maui, it’s the place to be, with 22 meticulously landscaped acres. (The former golf course superintendent in me appreciates the care taken to preserve the property.) It’s located on a perfect stretch of beach in Wailea and the staff provides impeccable service.

I also had the opportunity this week to meet Samuel Spurrier, director of group sales at the resort, who ate breakfast with my wife and I, and gave us a tour … but more about breakfast later.

Anyway, I’m strolling through the resort when I started having excruciating pain on my left side. Who do I call? Samuel. I asked him where the urgent care and hospital were located and he immediately provided me with the information.

At the hospital, nurses drew blood, doctors conducted tests and it turns out the best of the worst possible scenario had happened: I passed a kidney stone. As I write this post, I feel completely fine.

Anyway, the text above was from Samuel, who had ginger chews for nausea and tea waiting in my room. He also checked up on me during the day – if that’s not convenience, service and value, I’m not sure what is.

During that earlier breakfast with Samuel. Angela Vento, general manager at the resort, stopped in and had a cup of coffee with us. After she left, I told Samuel how impressed I was with her, and he proceeded to share her story with me.

Angela is one of the few female GMs at a major resort in Maui. As a female GM, she was deeply influenced by Queen Kapi’olani, who was one of Hawaii’s last reigning and beloved queens, known for her deep commitment to philanthropy, health and education for the Hawaiian people. In 1890, Queen Kapi’olani founded the Kapi’olani Maternity Home.

Queen Kapi’olani lived by the Hawaiian proverb, Kulia I Ka Nu’u, which was defined in a book Angela read called “Managing with Aloha” by Rosa Say:

Kūlia i ka nu‘u is the value of accomplishment and achievement. The literal translation for Kūlia i ka nu‘u is “strive to reach the summit.” Those who have this value continually pursue improvement and personal excellence. For them, the most satisfying competition is with their previous selves: They consider their life and everything within it to be a work in progress, and they enjoy the effort. ‘Hard work’ is good work when it employs the energies of striving and reaching higher.

This motto and the idea of being a constant work in progress guides Angela’s leadership style and motivates her to seek excellence in all that she does. It is also the foundation of the resort culture, which is about upholding superior service to associates and guests.

As service-oriented leaders, Angela and Samuel live and demonstrate this most important leadership value in every aspect of their roles. I witnessed first-hand the extraordinary service provided by the Wailea Beach Resort team, and it left a lasting impression on my time spent in Maui.

Sometimes, the leadership lessons for these blog posts are found in books, articles or podcasts. Sometimes, the lessons find me. This was one of those times.

So, what’s the message? Leadership lessons can come from anywhere, even a beach resort in Maui where a brief stint in the hospital is followed by the best hospitality you’ve ever seen. Leadership is about service, perpetual improvement and being open to new ideas, and when one arrives for coffee, listening to exactly what she has to say.

Thoughts on Leadership: Habits for Happiness

By: Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting with my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Executive Team Meeting and on Wednesday, I joined the monthly HomeServices of America Corporate Virtual Team Gathering. Today, I presented Time Management to the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, followed by a Mindset & Leadership presentation for the team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Realty.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Lead Like a Monk

By: Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting Monday with my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly executive team meeting and on Wednesday and throughout the day today, I joined the HomeServices of America CEO Leadership Teleconference, where topics ranged from budget guidelines and culture-building activities to key brokerage metrics like recruiting and retention and per person productivity. 

In these blog posts, I often share what I’m listening to and reading, in case the topic might inspire you on your leadership journey. This week is a departure from my usual, and in my recharge time, I’ve been listening to a really interesting book called “Think Like a Monk.” It’s by content creator and award-winning host, Jay Shetty. In 2016, Shetty launched a YouTube channel that four years later amassed more than four billion views. Bottom line: When he speaks, people listen. His ideas apply across industries and generations. Good ideas are like that though, they transcend time. Here are a few of the concepts Shetty explains in his book that might be applicable to your business or life: 

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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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Thoughts on Leadership: Learning from the Best

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me at home, starting the week with my typical Monday WIG calls with our CEOs. Next, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Weekly Team Meeting and participated in a virtual webinar, “Lessons in Leadership” with my good friend Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company. The session was moderated by RISMedia’s founder, president and CEO John Featherston. Finally, I finished the week with nine Q1 reviews with our CEOs, which I will continue through Friday.

Let’s jump back to the RISMedia webinar because it was a virtual chance to brainstorm and collaborate with two fantastic industry leaders. In case you missed the session, here are a few takeaways we discussed: 

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Thoughts on Leadership: The Value of Meeting

By Gino Blefari

This week, for the first time in more than a year, my travels find me in Austin, Texas, kicking off Monday as a presenter for The Realty Alliance General Membership Meeting at the JW Marriott Hotel. I spoke on three specific aspects of the West Coast offense for running a real estate company: philosophy, accountability partners and the importance of having a system. On Tuesday, I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Weekly Executive Team Meeting and today, I participated (virtually) in the exciting launch of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Atlantic Portugal, a fantastic brokerage that will help expand Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ ever-expanding footprint throughout Portugal.

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Thoughts on Leadership: Setbacks and Success

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me at home, starting off Monday with a Berkshire Hathaway Energy meeting then my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I attended the HomeServices of America monthly CEO leadership meeting and on Wednesday through tomorrow, I hosted (and will continue to host) nine Q1 company reviews with CEOs and CFOs.

Speaking with companies about their progress made me think about success and setbacks, and whether the two are really all that different. In theory, success is what we’re striving for but the relationship between success and a setback is not dichotomous; setbacks are just opportunities to refocus our efforts on our way to success.

Let’s examine famous examples from history. In every one of the below true tales, leaders experienced a major setback that eventually led to a major breakthrough and ultimately, extraordinary success.

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Thoughts on Leadership: More on What Mentally Strong Leaders DON’T Do

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me at home, kicking off the week with my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly executive team meeting and HomeServices of America monthly team gathering. And today, while in Microsoft Teams meetings and taking calls, I thought about our post from last week, and the feedback it received.

As it turns out, while providing insights into what to do as leaders is helpful, it’s just as effective to discuss what not to do. In the spirit of continuing this productive conversation, here are a few more things mentally strong leaders don’t do:

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