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Your role in the new real estate environment

Thursday, October 13, 2011  
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Viewpoint

by Jeremy Conaway

The events of recent months — relating to the national borrowing limit and the nation’s credit score — have provided one of the most dramatic wake-up calls in American history. For both those who have understood the connection and those who have denied the growing evidence, there is now irrefutable proof that our nation, our real estate marketplace, and our industry are deep in the throes of a revolution that will forever change our approach to democracy, free enterprise, and real estate.

Virtually every American, and certainly those who are associated with the real estate industry, will, or should, find themselves engaged in an intense internal debate regarding what leadership role they will play over the next year as an individual, a citizen, and a real estate professional.

The following thoughts are offered for the purpose of activating and assisting this critical discussion. Agreement with the specifics is not necessary but the adoption of counterpoints is mandatory.

Start by focusing on the relationship between ongoing change and absolute loss. Over the past five years, much of our collective reasoning has gone into understanding the dynamics of change.

It is time that we, as a community, recognize that the mass array of changes that we have encountered over the past several years have come together to create a whole new American and real estate environment with its own dynamics. For those whose vision of the future has centered on a return to the good old days, that miracle is not going to happen. Recognize that it is grief from loss, rather than a dread of change, that we need to deal with first.

This redefinition of purpose becomes even more appropriate when we revisit the five stages of grief:

  • denial and isolation;
  • anger;
  • bargaining;
  • depression; and
  • acceptance.

We immediately recognize these stages as the behaviors we are currently witnessing in our friends, associates, clients, and fellow REALTORS® as they struggle to accommodate the new political and market environment we are all facing every day.

Over the next several months, at various times and at individual paces, we will hopefully reach the point of acceptance. From that juncture we will begin the task of rebuilding this great country and our dynamic industry. We will replace our current attitudes of denial and anger with the innovative spirit and creative energies that built our industry in the first place.

We must quickly come to the realization that that there is a very limited amount of time to do what has to be done. At the present time, a serious vacuum exists with respect to our industry and its response to the new environment. Even now would-be competitors are positioning themselves for the right moment to launch as a rehabilitative force into a dispirited and disorganized real estate industry and marketplace. By way of example, we have written previously about the Lowe’s organization whose presence now appears at every real estate function in the country, and who has already built tens of thousands of working relationships with consumers through intimate and highly scored home remodeling and renovation assignments.

The silver bullet for success and salvation in this new environment is both simple and impossibly complex. The solution is effective, applied, and non-sanded down leadership at all levels of the culture. Only leadership can be the saving grace for both America and the real estate industry. This cannot be the canned noncommittal leadership of the past several years. Moreover, everyone, including the newest member, must rise to this leadership challenge.

At the present time the entrenched leadership elements within the American and REALTOR® cultures are comprised of six segments:

  • those presently involved in leadership;
  • those in the leadership "chairs;”
  • past leaders;
  • dissidents;
  • the executives;
  • and the members.

Each of these players must determine whether their role will be positive, contributory, critical, or opportunistic. Together, these individuals have the power to carry the day. Individually, they and we are destined to continue the ineffective dog and pony show that we are currently witnessing and that has now become a part of our daily lives on both the local and national scenes.

Individuals currently in leadership must immediately step up and quit worrying about their next leadership role. Those coming up through the ranks must start acting like leaders and not actors in a green room waiting for their shot at the top.

Past leaders must also rise to the occasion, but only after undertaking to understand precisely how the present situation differs from the environment in which they last exercised leadership.

Dissidents who wish to make a positive difference in the situation must be willing to offer constructive solutions that can be utilized within an organizational framework as well as much needed constructive criticism that keeps projects on target.

Finally we come to the citizen and member. Over the last several years, every group discussed above has represented themselves as speaking for you. Today we see real examples of appropriate doubt of effective representation, and everyone involved knows that no one speaks for those who don’t speak for themselves. You have as much or more to lose as any other group discussed in this article. If you fail to engage, you will find that the new order will simply leave you out of the equation.

Jeremy Conaway, RECON Intelligence Services, is a frequent organizational consultant to the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association.


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