Change HurtsPerhaps there is a new chief executive, a new business strategy, an MLS conversion, a new product launch, a merger, a new data share, or a dramatically altered competitive landscape, in the real estate world, big change means big risk.

In other words, company performance may rise like a rocket or fall like a rock. The only thing it’s not likely to do is stay the same. Change may be inevitable, but big change is scary, nevertheless. And how you deal with it plays a big role in the outcome.

In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen big change in the works at some of America’s biggest and most widely followed real estate companies, primarily in the technology industry:

Big, big changes in the technology world. How do the pros handle it? Not as easily as you’d think. There’s no magic bullet or miracle cure for change. Dealing with change is hard. Dealing with big, gut-wrenching change is, well, something few people do well.

Look, everyone resists change. It’s human to resist change. Change is scary, and for good reason. You see, the universe is addicted to chaos. No, I didn’t make that up; it’s the second law of thermodynamics.

And the only thing that brings order to chaos – at least on planet Earth – is organisms,  people, and their organizations, like companies. And the way good executives do that, their primary weapon against the inevitability of change, is by making smart decisions, i.e. good strategic planning.

Let me say that again, since it’s an important point: smart decisions bring order to chaos.

Of course, the reverse is also true. Not only that, but not-so-smart decisions are far more likely.

The bottom line is this. If you let change or the prospect of chaos rattle you, you won’t think clearly and you’ll make bad decisions. The result will inevitably be more chaos. So take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and try to enjoy the ride. If you’re really freaked out, meditate, go for a run, drink a glass of wine, whatever works for you. You’ll feel better. When it comes to big change, that’s the best strategy. Really.

As we head into the National Association of REALTORS convention, take note of what has changed from last year. Think carefully about how the new landscape figures into your strategic plan. Think long term. Consider the best outcomes for your customers.

Remember this, too. Don’t be a silent cow that simply follows the cow in front of you. The view from there is not very good.