As leaders of Associations and MLSs, it is imperative that every Board member, CEO and Association Executive remember their core goal – to help REALTORS® thrive for the long haul by arming them with the best information, service, and support we can.
To live to this vision every leader has to be selfless and focused on helping support and nourish our industry as a whole for the greater good.
Unfortunately, I regularly witness organizations that are not living to this mantra. Some Association Executives and CEOs call their MLS organization “theirs”, acting as though they own the company themselves outright. They forget their job is to adapt to the ever-changing needs of their members.
Some Association leaders forget the lesson that NAR has taught many times. The MLS should not be the underwriter of the financials of your Association. The Association needs to stand on its financial merit.
Some MLS leaders act on their own without board input or approval on bold actions. Some Board members clearly approach their role as a way to drive their own personal agenda or to support their company’s business model.
Today we see a ton of protectionist behaviors out there where an Association ignores the needs of its members and focuses instead on what it will take to shore up its own organization. We see boards of directors without term limits suffering from cronyism and outdated thinking. In some cases, it gets so bad that local industry leaders have to revolt and create a board coup in order to get new thinking into the board room.
We have also seen local associations threaten to sue state associations and we see brokers quit their Board of Directors because they do not believe their voice is being heard.
All of these behaviors create unnecessary drama and distract our industry away from the job at hand: How do we continue to arm REALTORS® with the tools, insights, training, and support they need to be the best customer servants they can be?
We make it much easier for third parties to enter our industry when we do not present a united front focused on doing the right thing for homebuyers and sellers. It is time for us to come together and find productive ways to be the best we can be. It is time to be more open-minded and nimble to find new productive ways of working together so we can better serve the ever-changing needs of consumers.
It’s time we lay down our swords, forgive the past and start to find new ways to become the most well-oiled industry we can be. As we head to NAR Mid-Year, let’s begin a discussion about the best ways for our industry to work together from here on out.
Marilyn, I think your article is so right on. Having spent 38 years loving what I do is a strong testimonial that when we sow, we reap. The members have taken care of me for a very long time. I, in turn, have taken much pride in the professional organization which has been built by its members. Thank you for your article. Long over due! Pat Jacobs, North Oakland County Board, Michigan
I have seen this first hand. That type of behavior can tear an Association or Board apart and drive members away. We are blessed to work in a Profession that encourages competition and cooperation with your peers for the united goal of serving our clients, not our egos.
A friendly reminder of those basic ideals is needed from time to tome. Thanks!
Agreed 100%. Thanks for sharing.
This is spot-on. #yourmembershipmatters It’s time for all of us to come together and do whatever it takes to bring value to our clients, support the membership for success and be proactive for our future.
Dawna Bledsoe, NW Louisiana
Marilyn, I will agree that Board member, CEO and Association Executives should have a core goal to help their association as elected members by that Association. As you state, it is our goal to assist the board to “thrive for the long haul by arming them with the best information, service, and support we can” I have been an active member of the Realtors Association for more than 30 years. For many years that membership was with a very small board of less than 80 people. As times changed, and NAR mandated that we have a function office, I stepped into the position as the AE for that board. Our board consolidated with another board in our local area. We still remain a small board of less than 500 people. Over the past few years I have served as MLS Chair, and currently an elected BOD member. I have yet to see anyone utilize their position as a committee member and/or member of the BOD to gain control or manipulate it for their use. While I would love to get into the portion concerning the use of “MLS Fees”, I will try not to loose my focus on a few of the statements made in the article that I want to address.
Knowing what I know, the statements that were made in your article, and in particular the following three:
“I regularly witness organizations that are not living to this mantra. Some Association Executives and CEOs call their MLS organization “theirs”, acting as though they own the company themselves outright. They forget their job is to adapt to the ever-changing needs of their members”
“Some MLS leaders act on their own without board input or approval on bold actions. Some Board members clearly approach their role as a way to drive their own personal agenda or to support their company’s business model.”
“We have also seen local associations threaten to sue state associations and we see brokers quit their Board of Directors because they do not believe their voice is being heard”
It is my personal opinion that this is casting a wide net and could be stirring the pot. These statements are heavily weighted to a particular incident and/or situation in our state. As such, the article is not being fair to the majority of volunteers in the numerous boards in my state that have volunteers who give endless hours of work to help their organizations.
I am in total agreement that it is time for us to try and work together to better our industry, we are a great organization and have helped our members and customers in more ways then they will probably ever know. In order to do so, I agree with the statement that we need to “lay down our swords”….but lets be fair to everyone and not try to group a lot of good hard working REALTORS in to a category that is actually very limited and based on past incidents of a small group. Thank you.