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What If We Replaced NAR Directors with Randomly Selected REALTORS?
This 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: the NAR Board of Directors is too large the NAR Board of Directors is a good demographic representative of Realtors 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 blog.
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Is Too Much Agent-centricity at the Heart of Industry Dysfunction?
A couple of months ago I wrote a post called "Challenge for Positive Change" that highlighted many of the relationship dysfunctions we are experiencing in the industry today. We have the honor of working with large brokers as well as MLSs, Associations, technology companies and even title and home warranty providers. We see misperceptions and distrust running rampant between each of these groups. It's clear that there are many that are feeling as though our industry could be working together much better than it is at the moment. Fast forward a few weeks and we get to CMLS and the now infamous outline of issues delivered by Craig Cheatham, President and CEO of the Realty Alliance, a highly-respected network for many of North America's largest full service brokerages and their affiliated business. Many people in the audience were shocked with Craig's candor and level of frustration, but I'm not sure why. The types of issues he outlined are the types of issues that have been circling around in MLSs and Associations for a long time. I think the difference is that many groups were simply not listening or taking the conversation as seriously as the tone in which Craig delivered his eloquent presentation of the issues suggests they need to. The issues he outlines are complicated. Some are quite easy to rectify, but many of the issues are based on local tradition, not on sound business logic that considers today's consumers and the brokers that serve them. I have a theory as to why large brokers believe real estate organizations are in conflict with their business goals. I believe that the industry's extreme focus on satisfying the perceived needs of agents is getting in the way of progress.
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