Defining the Environment
So, you write a blog….do you consider yourself a leader when you do so? Maybe you should. I’ve been reading a great book, called Born Digital and a lot of it is resonating with me. For a long time (other than when I am beleaguering someone for being antiquated) I have been trying to dispel the notion that the industry changes we’re seeing are relative to “generational trend”. I fully believe that the changes in the industry are a result of industrial evolution.
An excerpt from Born Digital: “Rather than calling Digital Natives a generation – an overstatement, especially in light of the fact that only 1 billion of the 6 billion people in the world even have access to digital technologies – we prefer to think of them as a population.”
See, here’s my quandary. What came first the chicken or the virtual egg? I don’t think that there is some conspiracy of the Generation X and Y to blow traditional Real Estate practices from the face of the earth – frankly we’re collectively not that intelligent. To support my opinion, I offer American Idol. Any generation that makes American Idol the number one show for several years in a row, should be subject to punishment, not admiration!
Mr. Swanepoel offers this opinion: “Generation X and Y are growing up with a poor perception of the real estate industry.”“They believe they can and should fix it.” (Swanepoel Trends Report)
I have great respect for Mr. Swanepoel and his reports, but I respectfully disagree. I think that this move toward redefining the industry is not limited to one generation, but to a movement. The difference is that online media has developed and evolved to a juncture where we can be more collaborative in our thoughts and ideas. This release of platforms and formats, by which we can share has released the flood gates of ideas and innovations. We can easily share what we’ve found to be some truths and untrue ideology of the industry.
As exhibits to support further my statement: Teresa Boardman, Jay Thompson, Russell Shaw, Jonathan Dalton. There are many more, but these are leaders in our industry and not of a demographic that would include them into my “generation.” Even if they don’t consider themselves leaders, they are nonetheless. It’s not happening fast enough for most, but change is happening. The immovable dinosaurs in the industry that simply wish to fight the metamorphosis of the consumer is feeling the pressure for the first time in decades. But how do we move forward?
Rhetoric WAS the Groundwork
Now, let’s not take rhetoric as a negative insertion. I am talking about the idea phase of vision casting. Word pictures, oratory and development are necessary parts of any plan. Conveying our hearts and visions is fully necessary. However, I think we’re at the next step. We’ve got some great concepts that we’re all rewriting our personal spins on: Divorcing the Commission, Blending healthy Agent Skillsets with New Techniques, Giving Room for Various Commission and Business Plans, Using Blogging to Attract Clients, The End of Dual Agency, just to name a few. So, now what are we going to do? We know that change is needed, we know that the answer and the industrial culture is going to change – but how? There is evidence that the RE.net is influencing policy and consumers. We’ve found that we’re nibbling about the edge of real change.
Now it’s time to move forward. Those leaders that history reflects well on, started with a passion… a dream. I’ve been reading some old training material from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Over and over again I see where the material is calling “change”, “setting the bar higher” and “greater educational requirements.” Sound familiar? For the first time in history we’ve been empowered by the social media and technology medians to make real change possible and to enhance the culture in real estate.
What do we want change to look like?
I am not convinced that a complete dissolution of the current real estate practice is in order or even practical. Much of the way we do things is a result of looking at history and finding that it’s a necessary aspect. We have to provide exceptional customer care, we must have licensing laws and oversight, we must use the current market appliances that reach the consumer where they are. There are things we must maintain; agents need to get paid for their services, they have to watch costs, trained and competent Brokers (company owners) are necessary… But having said all of that – we know that the industry needs work.
It needs a fresh look and the institution who should be in the watch tower has become complacent. There is very little stopping us from becoming more unified and continuing to raise our “virtual voices” until we stop merely influencing the industry and start molding it. In my opinion, that means that we need to get our respective houses in order. It does no good for bloggers to all be writing and opining about what should be, only to start arguing about who is more right. I’ve seen a great and awesome series of examples of how we should be sorting our differences in the past few months. I’ve seen people who disagree; come to the plate and “talk” out their difference in a professional manner and enlighten everyone. We need more of that.
Lead or get out of the way
It’s time for us to stop just being soldiers with opinions, it’s becoming clear that the collaborative tools that we’ve all been talking about and learning about are effective. We should start encouraging those who are naturally leading and promote their ideas and thoughts (Russell Shaw, Benn Rosales, Jim Duncan, Mariana Wagner, Teresa Boardman, etc…). Egos aside, boys and girls! It’s time to help develop the ideas we have and start creating a “population” that can eventually organize and challenge legislators and industry leaders outside of the re.net to move forward!