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What If We Replaced NAR Directors with Randomly Selected REALTORS?

June 27 2018

wav replace nar directors with randomly selected realtorsThis is a whimsical article. Don't take it too seriously, but take a moment to think about this question with me.

My favorite activity on the weekends is to watch a few Ted Talks. This article was inspired by a 9-minute Ted Talk about politicians and democracy, titled "What if we replaced politicians with randomly selected people?"

In the Ted Talk, author and activist Brent Henning presents a compelling case for sortation democracy. Rather than elect officials, they are randomly selected from society along the lines of society demographics – age, sex, religion, wealth, location, etc. The inspiration comes from ancient Athens where they implemented this system because of the corruption in politicians and monarchs. The purpose is to create a representative microcosm of society who would determine how we share and manage common resources.

Henning did a very interesting straw poll of his audience. He asked, raise your hand if think that democracy is a good thing. Every hand in the room went up. I believe, without a doubt, that if I asked a room full of agents if they think that having a trade organization to represent their interests and the interests of homeowners is a good thing, every hand in the room would go up.

Then Henning asks a different question of his audience. Who thinks our democracies are functioning well? Not a single hand in the room is raised. I would not suggest that hands would not go up if the question was posed to Realtors regarding their NAR Board of Directors. I guess that the question would be something like, "Raise your hand if you think that the NAR Board of Directors is functioning well." I think quite a few hands would go up, perhaps even a majority. I am not sure.

NAR Board Composition

  • Real estate brokerage franchise organization with 150 franchises
  • Top 75 largest brokerages
  • State representatives
  • Large local board representatives
  • Up to four outsiders
  • Board/state forum chairs
  • Real estate specialties representatives
  • A Realtor
  • Commercial Overlay Board representatives
  • Association executive representatives
  • Distinguished Service Award recipients
  • Presidents of the International Affiliate Organizations
  • State presidents
  • Regional vice presidents
  • Committee liaisons
  • Past presidents
  • Presidents of institutes, societies and councils
  • Executive committee members
  • Vice president and liaison to committees
  • NAR officers

In total, the number of NAR directors totals somewhere around 727 Realtors. Just as a point of reference, there are 535 members of United States Congress, 435 serve in the US House of Representatives. But there is a big difference here—not only in count, but also volunteer vs. elected. The top 75 firms and the top franchisors with more than 150 franchises are a good example of earned position. There are many others on this list. AEs are hired. Still others are appointed. As I go down the list, I have no argument with the categories with few exceptions.

So I ask these questions, and invite you to raise your hand if you agree that:

  1. the NAR Board of Directors is too large
  2. the NAR Board of Directors is a good demographic representative of Realtors
  3. board decisions would be significantly different if directors were selected though the process of sortation (random by demographic)?

I am not trying to stir the pot here. In fact, if called upon to testify, I would say that in my decades of attending NAR Midyear and NAR Annual, I rarely find a volunteer Realtor director that is not sharp. The only exception is the number of small association executives that are not sharp. I think that this is economic. Small associations rarely have the treasury to hire great AEs, and as a result, many are entry level. I know that this sounds harsh, but it is my anecdotal experience. Obviously, I do not know every one of the more than 1000 AEs nor have I measured their sharpness.

Anyway, watch this video. It inspired these thoughts, and this article.

To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blogWAV Group blog.