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The Curious CEO: Gino Blefari Shares Five Insights on Leadership

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Gino Blefari is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential and iconic names in the real estate industry. As the CEO for HomeServices of America as well as the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, he oversees the country’s largest residential real estate brokerage company based on closed transactions.

Recently Buffini & Company CEO Dermot Buffini interviewed Blefari as part of the company’s new web series, “The Curious CEO.” Blefari shared stories and insights from his decades-long career as a leader and mentor in the industry as well as the innovative way he creates relationship bonding with his team.

  1. Complacency is ‘Insidious’

Blefari started off his career as a REALTOR® and segued into leadership positions at several firms before founding two companies of his own, Contempo Realty Group, Inc. and Intero Real Estate Services. In 2014 he was named chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates, which operates the real estate brokerage networks of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate.

Throughout his career, he constantly strives to grow and improve.

“There’s always another level for us to aspire to,” he advised. “And that’s what we want to be doing, aspiring to that next level, because otherwise complacency sets in. It’s the most insidious disease in the world. It sits up on your shoulder and says, ‘Right where you’re at is fine.’ So you always want to be improving.”

2. The Four Disciplines

Blefari always uses the “four disciplines of execution,” in his business endeavors.

  • Focus — It’s important to identify and really focus on one, two or three of the most important things you need to do to reach your “wildly important goal” (WIG).    
  • Lead Measures —Then identify what are the most important things that “can influence and predict” that you reach your goal.   
  • Engagement — “People play better when you keep score,” Blefari said. “When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
  • Accountability — Every single week, he holds a short accountability call with the top leaders of the brands that he oversees. They must report on the progress of the actions that they need to do to reach their goals.

3. Accountability Further in Action

Blefari believes in the power of accountability so much that everyone on his team has an accountability partner that they are in touch with every day.

There are two reasons for this, he added — it creates a discipline of talking to their accountability partner and it helps to build the team’s culture.  

Whenever Blefari first meets with a potential hire, he uses a unique way to get to know them — 18 “connecting” questions. These questions are not even related to the subject of real estate but are more of a way for Blefari to connect and establish a bond with the person.

The questions include an array of topics such as family origins, hobbies outside of work, significant influences and their respective highs and lows in their life.

“Then you have that bond right there, and the rest is easy,” Blefari said.

4. A Personal Mission

Throughout his long, storied career, Blefari has always had the same mission, no matter what stage he was at.  

“I help people achieve their goals faster than they would in my absence,” he said. “That’s my job. That’s what I do.”  

As part of that mission, he also ensures his teams adhere to 15 core values that have been part of the culture of his past companies. Those values include trust, respect, confidence, focus and self-control, among others.

5. A Season of Change

As the real estate industry attempts to get its footing after the past few rocky few years, Blefari advises team leaders to think of this time as a “season of change.”

Great leaders, he added, “leverage the change to go to the next level. That’s what separates them from the competition. The great ones forced more change upon themselves and more change upon the rest of the organization before the world pushes it on them.”

Watch The Curious CEO first’s episode with Gino Blefari now.

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