Association

How Strategic is your Strategic Plan?

by Marilyn Wilson on March 15, 2012

Image of Chess Board

The real estate industry is in a state of flux – many of the rules as we know it are changing before our eyes. Demanding consumers now require a lot more from their agents. Agents expect more from their brokers. Brokers believe their Associations and MLSs need to do more to help them survive. Every group in the real estate “food chain” is at risk of becoming overpriced, irrelevant or both by the changes before us. So what is YOUR organization doing to prepare for the inevitable changes being thrust upon it? Is your group looking at “worst case” scenario planning?   Are you consciously thinking about all of the entities that may threaten your very existence?   If you are thinking about the threats to your businesses, are you thinking about how to proactively prepare for the worst?  Are you thinking about ways to shore up your organization and even make preemptive strikes to fend off potential new competitors? Let’s start at the beginning.  Does your organization conduct a strategic plan annually?   If so, do you talk about tactical, evolutionary changes or do you question everything about?  Do you think about your business models?  What about your leadership or governance structures?   Do you critically evaluate whether your company is truly poised for growth? Does your business  have the resources, human or otherwise, to implement breakthrough new strategies you may be considering?  Do you think about where you’re spending your money and whether you know if the monies are truly providing the return on investment that you would like? Importantly, when you think about yourself as a leader, are you truly open to embracing the potential for fundamental changes to the way you do business or are you trying to make the current models “fit”?   If you are open to changes, are you putting together a strategic planning initiative that will help others around you understand the need for evolution and maybe even “revolution”? Now here’s the even tougher question…when you look in the mirror can you truly say that you are leading your organization to be driven by the ever-changing needs of your customer base?   Are you as close to the needs of your customers as you need to be? When is the last time you listened to your paying clients tell you about what they really need from you?   Can you clearly articulate who your customer base is?  Do you […]

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Man in Jail

  At WAV Group we work with leading associations and MLSs around the country helping them to find world class talent to continue an organization’s growth and evolution. We are lucky enough to be able to observe board dynamics, internal operations and CEO-led initiatives. As an industry, we are blessed with loyal leaders and followers who value the tradition of real estate and the process of governing the industry as well.  They clearly understand the unique needs of REALTORS® and are passionate about nurturing the real estate industry.  Many of them have long-standing personal relationships with many of their members and regularly “go to the mat” to help one of their colleagues succeed.  This longevity leads to continuity, solid community and effective methods for communicating key issues and advocacy. There is a potential downside, though, in our view.  Many Associations have had the same leader and in some cases, many of the same people on the Board of Directors for many years.  While the continuity of thought can be very valuable, it can also lead to staleness and complacency.  Without a continuous focus on the ever-changing needs of members and the clients they serve, Associations are in danger of becoming irrelevant and in the worst case, extinct. If you’re in a board meeting and you find yourself saying or even thinking things like “we tried that 5 years ago and it didn’t work” or “we don’t need to look at that” or “that would never happen here”, you may in danger of stagnation.  While we can all learn from experience, if we get jaded by experience we may miss out on exciting opportunities to renew the value and relevance of organizations. Historically our industry has valued long-term leadership – many of today’s leaders have been in the same seat for 20 or more years.  Some would prefer to move on to a new position with a new set of challenges, but it can be frowned upon.  Some real estate associations believe that the AE should sit in the seat for as long as they possibly can because they “owe” it to their constituency to do so. I would suggest that it may make sense to re-think this mindset.  While it doesn’t make sense to turn over Association Executives too quickly, the thought of bringing in fresh perspectives to critically evaluate the local real estate economy, programs, services and community relationships […]

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