National Association of REALTORS® annual conventions are a keen reminder of this paradigm. In a single day, it was commonplace to speak strategy with technology companies; brokers; Associations of REALTORS® (National, State, Megaboard); Association governed MLS, broker governed MLS, broker owned and governed MLS. Perhaps the only oddity is that there is no example of a broker owned, Association governed MLS.
Same Issue, Different Rights
I think that often there is a tendency to try to lump disparate groups together in ways that are naive in our industry. Uninformed people may talk about strategic issues without regard for the nature of things in local markets. For example, a broker owned MLS consumer website appeals to many brokers whereby an Association owned MLS consumer website may not. REALTORS® may appreciate Association owned consumer websites, but brokers may object. There is no right or wrong. There are many rights and many wrongs. Choice is a matter of local consideration and proper execution.
The Right Balance is Never Static
Regardless of the chosen strategic paradigm in a market place, there will always be critics. Given a choice, groups form that favor or do not favor an initiative. Perfect alignment on any given issue involving hundreds or even thousands of people is unrealistic. We are a society of compromises that understands that you may be on the right side of some issues while your peers may sometimes be on the other side.
There are Lots of Rights
Remember that strategy is more of an array of strategies than a single strategy. With any enterprise organization there are many issues that form policy and policy forms strategy. You win some, and you will never win them all. But you keep fighting for your version of right.
At the NAR convention, I had an encounter whereby someone remarked that WAV Group was supporting one issue over another. I had to explain that WAV Group does not support any issue. We support them all. WAV Group is not a policymaker; we are a research company that leverages information to help clients form and execute their strategy. Our only goal is for the client to succeed with the strategy that is chosen by their leadership.
The Silent War of 2014
2014 will bring forth the continuation of the silent war of rights. The National Association of REALTORS® will battle with State and Local Associations over who owns the member as a customer and the consumer as a customer. Associations will battle with MLSs over who owns the member as a customer and the consumer as a customer. Brokers will battle the Associations and MLSs over who owns the member as a customer and the consumer as a customer.
The Right Truth
There is only one right truth. The real estate broker owns the data.