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The Epidemiology of an Emerging Market

July 16 2013

reconis epidemiologyClassic epidemiology is the study of the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone of public health, and is used extensively to guide both public and private policy decisions and evidence based health care practices by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventative care. Epidemiologists control this process by designing, collecting, analyzing and interpreting health data. Epidemiology and epidemiologists are always at the front lines when their assigned populations begin to demonstrate health related symptoms and behaviors that suggest the potential of a mass outbreak of a particular malady AKA; an epidemic.

With the information gained from their collection and analysis, epidemiologists undertake to develop strategies and tactics to control, or perhaps manipulate, the disease conditions in a manner that is consistent with the health, political or economic policies under which they work.

As we discussed in last week's article, there is every evidence that the American real estate industry appears poised to experience an epidemic of its own in the shape of what is now being called the "hyper-market."

The statement that establishes the vital link between epidemiology and real estate and its relevancy moving forward is simple; brokers who wish to take advantage of the new market must quickly move to understand and practice market centered economic epidemiology. In other words, every broker in the country must start this new era by making a decision to be either an observer, and ultimately a victim or, in the alternative, to exercise knowledge and leadership by taking advantage of the unique opportunities and challenges being created by the new "hyper-market" environment.

The decision between these two roles is not a matter of size or economics, but rather a decision between dormancy and activism. One of the positive things about an epidemic, whether health or market based, is that it doesn't discriminate. It treats all of its victims equally, leaving to those who will be impacted the decision of whether or not to improve their position or suffer the consequences of non-engagement and denial.

Let's start with the good news. One of the most positive aspects of the "hyper-market" that is now taking shape on the real estate landscape is that preparing to take advantage of its opportunities and challenges will not require learning a new language or even a new science. The essential knowledge of this new market is already intimately understood by anyone who has spent the past ten years in the real estate marketplace. All that is required to engage here is to (1) align one's knowledge with the current circumstances and (2) understand how the unique circumstances of the "hyper-market" will manipulate the classic players, markets and dynamics of the industry.

In order to take full advantage of the benefits and rewards of this new marketplace, brokers must take action to either create a brokerage strategic business plan or update their current one. The critical element that must be incorporated into every plan is called "strategic intent."

While volumes have been written about strategic intent it is a relatively simple concept to learn. The fundamental lessson is that a firm must be driven, not by where or what it is today, but rather by what position it wants to hold in its marketplace at some identified point in the future. For the purposes of this discussion, 2015 is a reasonable target.

So, as a starting point, it matters not whether your firm's current business plan is five years or five months old. You must return to the design table to create, design and implement your firm's strategic intent.

Each firm will, after evaluating its current situation and market position, create a completely unique strategic intent. Franchise organizations will design strategic intents that will have to be delivered to hundreds of firms while smaller firms will have the luxury of focusing on just their situation. Large privately held firms will identify a strategic intent that brings certain advantages to their business model while publically held firms will move to exploit the benefits of their configuration.

However, while strategic intents, like diets, will all differ in terms of wording, emphasis, prioritization and implementation, if they are to be successful they will have to be grounded in structure and discipline. The days of everyone in the firm doing it "their way" are probably over. Moving forward, enough key industry players will develop comprehensive and collaborated programs that the classic "everyone can do their own thing" approach is not likely to provide enough competitive lift and productive dynamic to carry the day.

So, how can a brokerage evaluate its strategic intent and its business plan to power its chances of success moving forward? We developed the following guidelines to act as a tool to make this determination. How does your strategic intent stack up? To be ultimately successful, your brokerage's strategic intent element will:

  1. Require and demand accelerated learning at all levels of the brokerage
  2. Require and demand the brokerage to establish and attain seemingly impossible goals
  3. Ignite and sustain a burning desire to succeed among the brokerage's executives, managers and agents, both now and over the next several years
  4. Create and drive the brokerage to become a powerful and effective leader within its chosen marketplace
  5. Use creativity and innovation to drive a compelling spirit of competiveness at all levels of the brokerage

Some readers or members of their teams may take exception to one or more of the above factors. No problem. Just be sure to replace the offending factors with new ones that reflect a detailed and precise analysis of today's rapidly changing market and industry conditions.

The brokerage leadership value proposition has just changed. Brokerage executives and managers must become economic epidemiologists. The brokerage battle flag must now bear a strategic intent that is not focused on where the firm has been or even where it is today but rather where it needs to be moving forward. Lets get on with it.

To view the original article, visit the RECONIS blogRECONIS blog.