By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me in Tampa, Florida for the biannual meeting of the Mavericks, a small think tank of CEOs who get together to exchange ideas and foster company growth. It was an inspiring conference, as it always is, and I had four key takeaways from the meeting that I want to share with you now:

1. Openness and transparency are vitally important among leaders.During this meeting, brokerage leaders share numbers from the past year, wins, losses … everything. All the figures were out in the open, readily available for us to assess and review. Why is this so critical? Because transparency fosters trust and creates solutions to problems that are steeped in pure fact. Transparency, I should note, is also craved by your team members. In a digital age when information is readily available at the touch of a tiny screen, all leaders must be transparent with their employees to fully connect and inspire them to grow.

2. Some of the best ideas happen when the meeting ends (or hasn’t started yet).We spent the better part of three days together as a Mavericks team and while our formal meetings were incredibly productive, it was during the breakfast, lunch, dinner breaks and downtime (even on bus trips we took together) that some of the best and most inspiring ideas were formed and shared. In her book, The Creative Brain, Harvard psychologist Shelley Carson has this to say about the flow of ideas:

“Everyone has a built-in censoring system that filters thoughts and stimuli from the outside world before they reach conscious awareness. Learning to loosen up this mental filtering to allow more novel ideas to flow through is one of the biggest challenges for people who don’t think of themselves as creative.”

Taking Dr. Carson’s idea back to the breakfast, lunch and dinner table, we’re in a less heightened state of censorship during the casual times than we would be when sitting in a conference room, therefore our filtering system is less active and the creative ideas can more freely be shared.

3. When it comes to positive change, accountability is key.At every Mavericks meeting, we make sure to have the previous host broker report on the progress made since we made suggestions for his or her brokerage. During this meeting, for instance, a broker/owner shared how his company has grown and advanced. As you know, the fourth discipline in the 4DX system is to “create a cadency of accountability,” because no matter how amazing, creative and innovative your plan or ideas may be, they don’t mean much if they’re not seen through to a successful conclusion.

4. New eyes see old things in new ways.It’s interesting how analyzing both the good and bad at another brokerage can open your own eyes about what’s working or not working at your own. When turn a critical eye toward someone or some business entity, you’re able to more clearly realize what you may be lacking in your own business strategy.

So, what’s the message? When you get together with your peers to create positive change, it’s amazing how quickly you can see results. That’s precisely the reason I encourage everyone to attend the Real Living Connection Annual Sales Convention and all of our events throughout the year; these events all represent opportunities for us to connect but they’re also chances for us to view our own businesses through the lens of others. Attendees are doing things to win business we may not have thought about and they can, in their own ways, expose the weaknesses in our strategies we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Bottom line: Gathering with peers, collaborating and exchanging ideas—whether it’s in a classroom, conference room or during a coffee break—is really one of the best ways to grow.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.