Are you Obsolete as a Leader?

by Marilyn Wilson on June 1, 2015

Let it goAccording to NAR’s newly released D.A.N.G.E.R report, one of the threats facing Associations today is the average tenure of its leaders. The report goes on to say that Association leaders run the risk or burn-out and lack of action because they have been at the job too long.

While I clearly understand why this one made the list I would also like to make some suggestions about how to deal with the reality of where we are today.

If you’re one of those Association Executives or MLS CEO’s that have been in your position for a very long time, here’s a few things for you to consider:

  1. Am I still motivated?

It’s easy to get burned out when the day to day issues facing Associations and MLS stay relatively consistent. Do you find yourself getting frustrated or worse when a subscriber or board member brings up a topic that has faced the industry for years? Is your first reaction to think or even say “we tried that 7 years ago and it didn’t work” or “why would we do that” or “my brokers drive me crazy” or “why don’t agents just pay attention?”

  1. Am I staying up to date?

While the basic premise of Associations and MLSs has stayed the same for many years, external and internal industry forces are in play changing the game regularly. Since January of this year, the pace of change has never been higher. Between Zillow, AMP, Broker Public Portal, Upstream, RESO, IDX Changes, and the CFPB (and these are just the big topics from inside the industry), the world we operate in is changing radically. Are you taking the time to get up to speed and importantly embrace the changes coming our way? Are you leading efforts with your boards to carefully think through these topics and provide meaningful and proactive solutions to our members?

  1. Do I consider the needs of ALL of our customers?

Today, every organization in real estate has a LOT of audiences to address. If you think that the only group that matters is agents you are gravely mistaken. Every Association needs to have deep engagements with its brokers, technology partners and importantly the real estate consumer. Whether we want to admit it or not, home buyers and sellers are at the center of a lot of the changes that are coming our way. If you still believe that they don’t really matter to your organization you need to get over that. If you are not looking at every one of your programs in terms of how they can impact the client of ALL of your core customers, you are asking for trouble.

  1. Can you Let it Go?

Now here’s one of the most important factors to think about to evaluate your effectiveness as a leader. If you’ve been in a marketplace for a long time, you undoubtedly have long-standing relationships. Some of them are very positive and some are not so great. If you’re being honest with yourself, are you holding on to grudges from years past that were based on issues that don’t exist in your marketplace anymore?   Are you giving fellow leaders the benefit of the doubt? If you’ve been around for awhile, you have seen people grow into higher level positions from entry level. You have seen some switch from bring a broker to an AE or or a lower level position to an MLS CEO. You have seen sales people from MLS vendors become CEO’s of MLSs. Are your relationships with those people today based on their real-time performance or are you bringing grudges and gripes from years ago to the table even today? If so, then it might be time for you to follow the words of Disney’s Frozen and “Let it Go”.   Holding onto negativity does nothing but harm you and poison relationships. Maybe a better path is to call that person, take them to lunch and get it all out on the table. Tell me what you’re holding on to and forgive them on the spot. If this just isn’t practical, you can forgive them privately and then move in.

  1. Are you still having fun?

Now here’s the most important question. Are you still having fun? Do you get out of bed every morning excited and ready to go or do you open your eyes and start dreading the day ahead. If this sounds familiar then you know what you need to do. I don’t have to say it.

If you’re just “holding on” until retirement, trying not to rock the boat and just surviving, you are not doing yourself or your organization justice. It’s time for you to evaluate your options and move on.

If you don’t feel like that’s an option, then it’s time to overhaul your attitude, focus, and commitment. It’s time to attend the CMLS, AEI, Mid-Year or Inman conferences. Start your day by reading RE Technology.com to read the latest on technology trends. Or maybe you can sign up for the WAVes of Change series from WAV Group.   It’s time to find a new lease on life. If you don’t, you and your organization will be stagnant. You won’t be able to tap into the new ideas heading your way every day. Your organization will become a little less relevant every day, setting itself up for failure.

Good luck with your life quest. Don’t put it off. Your life depends on it.

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