2011 marks the fifth Academy class, and I’m happy to say that I have been involved in every one of the five classes. Each year the board reviews and refines the program with the goal in mind to ignite the leadership passion of each individual.
What I enjoy most is the opportunity to help Academy participants find a place where they can reach their own personal goals. I firmly believe that mentoring is a key component of leadership, especially among volunteers. The Academy is a place where aspiring leaders find supportive colleagues. I think this is an advantage to the REALTOR association model, a place where people who’ve had individual success as entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to work collectively for the good of the profession.
I have a couple of passions that drive my involvement as a volunteer leader; the Realtors® Political Action Committee and professional development. I served as the fundraising chair for NAR this year. It’s an exhausting schedule of meetings, and it’s exhilarating. Especially when I see that moment of recognition for people when they realize the efforts the PAC funds shapes the future of our businesses. On the education front, I have been appointed to the REALTOR® University board of Regents. REALTOR® University is set to offer high-quality entrepreneurial and career-oriented programs in real estate. I want each of the Academy participants to make their own decisions, we have a great group that I know will take advantage of the networking and educational opportunities that are part of the Leadership Academy experience.
When my year as chair ends, for both the Academy and RPAC, it doesn’t mean my passion will dwindle for either cause. I believe that we’re creating the future by our actions today. Developing the future leaders for the National Association of REALTORS® is to create a compelling vision of the vitality of organized real estate.
I encourage all Realtors® to get involved in whatever drives your passions. In my twenty five years of being a REALTOR volunteer leader I’ve had many roles and plan to continue my involvement. Currently, I’m running for 2014 secretary/treasurer of the Texas Association of Realtors® and in 2013 at NAR I will be the Liaison to Committees for Gary Thomas.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” I aspire to leave a legacy of confident, motivated volunteer leaders. We’re always working on improving ourselves and on that course of personal improvement we need to be willing to learn from others. Participating in the Academy helps the participants grow as professionals, and serving as Chair this year helped me, too. I like to say I’m “under construction and will never be complete.”
Hundreds of incoming Realtor® officers and association executives brought enthusiasm and excitement to the 2011 NAR Leadership Summit, held the fourth week of August in Chicago. As a
co–presenter, I was energized by the reception given to myself and consultant/author Valarie Willis as we addressed those assembled for the afternoon session August 22.
It was inspiring to have 1,700 people shout, “We are Realtors®!” while we were on stage. But in all honesty, this was my first time speaking before such a large group and it was a little overwhelming – but in a positive way! Let me acknowledge that there’s a big difference in speaking before a group of 300 or 400 versus the large crowd that was in the gigantic hotel ballroom that afternoon.
I opened up by joking that after kicking the past president out of office, the incoming officers should take it easy on the association executive. Here’s what I meant: The executive now has to learn how to work with a lot of new personalities for the upcoming year and will do a better job if he or she is not burdened by new pressures and demands. I offered two recommendations. First, keep the business of the association simple; and second, remember what’s best for the membership is what really counts.
In a volunteer situation, it’s best to minimize the amount of action items that have to be addressed because the president just has one year in office. You can’t get a lot accomplished if there’s a large laundry list of items on the agenda for each meeting.
The best policy an incoming president can have is to listen to what the members have to say and be transparent. The association executive and the staff are there to take care of the day-to-day issues related to running the organization; the president should focus primarily on the needs of the members and recognize that they have a blank canvass to paint using every color on the pallet. But the leaders have to solicit and use input from everyone, not just a select few.
Let me elaborate. The four areas or characteristics of being a great leader are honesty, being forward-looking, being inspirational and competency in your profession. Of those four, honesty keeps surfacing as being the number one trait in a leader. A leader needs to say what he or she plans to do, and then do it.
I made it clear to the Realtor® officers and executives that leaders have to talk candidly about expecting the best out of others, and to be inspiring and authentic, especially in today’s market when we’re going through some tough times. You can’t sugarcoat the message.
The real estate industry is changing, and it will be much different three to five years out from what it is today. Realtor® leaders must realize that we must innovate in order to provide the best products and services for our members.
By Don Yaeger
Don is a four-time New York Times Bestselling author and former Sports Illustrated Associate Editor. Using rich, personal accounts gathered from more than 20 years of interviews with many of today’s greatest sports legends, Don has distilled Sixteen Consistent Characteristics of Greatness, which he will share at the National Association of Realtors Leadership Summit on August 23, 2011.
Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-son team who together compete almost every weekend in some back-breaking marathon. And if they’re not in a marathon, they are in a triathlon – some of them daunting Ironman-length events which are a combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of biking and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.
It’s a remarkable record of exertion and discipline – all the more so when you consider that Rick can’t walk or talk.
For more than 30 years, 70-year-old Dick has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, he pushes Rick in a wheelchair. When Dick cycles, Rick is in a seat on the front of the bike. And when Dick swims, he pulls Rick in an inflatable dinghy.
Rick’s fight started at birth when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. “The doctors told us that Rick would be a vegetable for the rest of his life,” Dick told me while working together on Team Hoyt’s autobiography, released this spring. “They told us to forget him. Put him in an institution. On our way home, my wife and I cried.” But the Hoyt’s refused to abandon Rick and, much to the surprise of doctors and others around him, Rick responded. “When you looked in his eyes and he was looking right at you, you could tell there was a lot going on up there,” said Dick.
At 12-years-old Rick proved doctors wrong when he found his voice through a computer called the Hope Machine. Soon after, Rick learned of a five-mile charity race for an athlete from his school that had been paralyzed in an accident. Through his computer, Rick told his father he wanted to show his support. Dick doubted that he, a self-described “porker,” could run five miles while pushing Rick in a wheelchair, but he gave it a shot.
“That first race almost killed me,” Dick remembers. But none of that mattered when Rick typed out, “Dad, when we were running it feels like I’m not paralyzed anymore.”
That was all Dick needed to hear. The sentence changed their lives. And it changed the lives of countless others, too. “Team Hoyt” was born and their story, captured on YouTube and in the media, has inspired tens of thousands of others.
Today the duo is embraced by all who meet or even hear of them, but it wasn’t always that way. In the beginning, Dick remembers, “Nobody wanted Rick in a road race. Everybody looked at us, nobody talked to us, nobody wanted to have anything to do with us.” Even the Boston Marathon, which Team Hoyt competes in every year, wouldn’t let them compete until they completed a qualifying race in record time.
But Dick never gave up. His motivation is singular and selfless. He is determined to give his son a better life, a life that transcends the limitations of his body.
“He is not just my arms and legs,” writes Rick. “He’s my inspiration, the person who allows me to live my life to the fullest and inspire others to do the same.”
To learn more about Team Hoyt, visit their website at www.TeamHoyt.com. To order a copy of their new book, Devoted, go to http://www.donyaeger.com/index.php?page=devoted.
Tips from the Great Ones
Dick and Rick Hoyt are living proof that the power of adversity, when harnessed, can fuel limitless internal strength.
Adversity is one of the most potent forces in life. One that can bring out the best or the worst – build you up or tear you down. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
Every person faces all kinds of adversity every day, whether it’s internal – like depression, poor health or insomnia – or external – like a natural disaster, canceled flight or speeding ticket.
When you come face to face with these setbacks, you must use your resources to create opportunities. Your problems have no mind of their own – so outsmart them. Think of one hardship that has been weighing on your mind lately and take it head on. Stop procrastinating and making excuses. The idea is to tackle adversity proactively, not just when you are forced to, because this is what gives you the advantage.
Your reaction to adversity shapes your character, clarifies your priorities and defines your path. And, as in Dick and Rick’s case, it can fuel your greatness.
By Otto Catrina, 2011 Vice Chair, NAR Leadership Academy
Over three days in August, more than 1,600 REALTOR® leaders and executives from across the nation will gather in Chicago to network, share ideas, learn and help set the course for the organization in 2012 and beyond. I’m referring to the 2011 Leadership Summit, the annual gathering of incoming state and local association officers and their chief staff executives.
The theme for this year’s Summit, which will be hosted by NAR 2011 President-Elect Moe Veissi, is “REALTORS® Are the Heart of the Deal.” I have the honor and privilege of participating in a presentation entitled “Leadership from the Heart,” along with Valerie Willis, a master facilitator and author.
Our presentation is based on The Leadership Challenge, a book written more than 25 years ago that still offers valuable insight for leaders today. For those who can’t attend the Summit, let me share a few thoughts related to the presentation Valerie and I will deliver August 22.
Conduct a Self Inventory. Each of us has to find our own voice as a leader. The best way to do that is to conduct a self inventory of our leadership skills. Do this on a daily basis, even though it’s hard to admit to making mistakes. It’s hard to be perfect. So be vulnerable, because that’s part of what constitutes being a human being. And, don’t try to compare yourself to others. Learn what leadership traits you have and where you are in your career. Each of us has to have his or her own voice.
Recognize these four principles. One direction we’ll take at the Summit presentation is to point out four principles of leadership and challenge the audience to work on mastering these every day. Some days, you might master these 80 percent of the time, and other days you’ll master them 100 percent of the time. They are:
• Forward looking
We all can grow into leaders. People are born with a leadership mindset, but they are not born leaders. Becoming a true leader requires that we continually develop our leadership skills over time. Some people are naturally charismatic, and others are not. Some need to explore their inner territory more often to determine if they’re doing well as a leader. Personally, I subscribe to the Harvard Business Review on Leadership because it forces me to be more visionary and forward-thinking, especially regarding technology.
Celebrate victories, even small ones. Today’s economy continues to raise challenges for REALTORS® and the industry. Still, we must always aspire to succeed. Leaders today need to constantly celebrate victories and not concentrate on the negative stuff. Even a small victory is worth celebrating. Leaders need to constantly ask, “What can I do to help make people feel better?”
Let me conclude with this metaphor on leadership: It’s like peeling an onion because you learn more and more with each layer. And, as you learn more as a leader, you can become more inspirational to help constituents get past the obstacles ahead.
Technology has been instrumental in my success as a Realtor®, but when I entered the real estate industry, I had a lot to learn. For me, using technology to grow my business started somewhat by default. I don’t have a technology background, but the subject always appealed to me. When I got into real estate and started doing transactions that involved other agents, I learned that a lot of them were not very tech savvy.
I saw this as an opportunity here in my marketplace of Columbia, Missouri, so I taught myself. Now, I’m very up to speed and have realized this: Putting a good technology platform and system in place is almost as good as having a live person on your team.
An independent agent might not be able to afford a licensed assistant, but they can employ technology to gain a competitive foothold in their market. The best initial advice I can offer to Realtors® is to earn the E-Pro designation; it’s the first one I got, and it put me way ahead of the competition.
For those interested in putting technology to work, let me share these observations:
1. Lead Generation Websites Work. Set up your website to become a lead generation site to capture data on prospective buyers. What you’re doing is asking the user of the site to register with their name, phone number and email address. If they provide a fake email and name, they don’t want you to contact them; but if it’s true contact information, they want you to call. Does it pay dividends? My lead generation site generates more traffic in my office that 107 other agent web sites combined.
2. There is Power in Social Media. Many people who use social media sites – whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Plaxo — are not taking advantage of these platforms. I see more mistakes than successes because the user is not projecting themselves as a real person. I plan a purposeful mix of personal and business information to reflect the balance of my personal life and work.
3. Understand the Benefits of Blogging. To truly understand all the benefits of the web, you have to interact with prospects and spread content to multiple sites. It’s crucial to spread your message everywhere, and a great way to do that is through a blog. I’m blogging every day about what’s going on in my micro area. I focus on who’s buying and selling in my community, and the results were exponential to the power of ten. It does take time, but I’m reaping the results.
From the leadership perspective, technology allows leaders to keep in contact with constituents in real time. Realtor® volunteer leaders, whether they’re involved on a national, state or local level, are truly mobile today and can respond instantly to those who need advice.
One final suggestion: Make your email address the same as your name. It will travel with you for life.
One development from the real estate market slowdown centers on the growth in education and training for those of us who work in the industry. Professional REALTORS – agents and brokers who are committed to the industry, their clients and REALTOR values – have made a conscious decision to commit to a higher level of learning. The knowledge gained allows them to keep up to date on developments in real estate and the business worlds, and even creatively modify their business model.
Education can be the inspiration that can change your future. When you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Although it may be challenging to constantly learn new things and adapt, it allows you to better serve today’s client most effectively.
Here’s an example. I recently taught a one-day course through NAR called “Generation Buy,” which examines the buying habits of people from different demographic groups, from the Generation X and Millennials to the Boomers and the Matures. Most homebuyers today are very well educated, and there’s a totally different methodology regarding how you should effectively communicate with each group. They all want to receive your message in a different way.
As an instructor, I know I can serve my clients best by becoming better educated myself. I prefer to opt for the so-called “masters” level of education that transcends the general required continuing education courses needed for broker/sales license renewal. It might be a class offered through the Council of Residential Specialists, REBAC or the Masters Certified Negotiation Expert course, which I also teach. I systematically choose which skill set will best enhance my business today and in the future.
As REALTOR leaders, we have to inspire other REALTORS, including younger professionals, identify those who have a true passion for this industry and encourage them to participate in their local and state association leadership communities. We need to lead by example and encourage these young REALTORS to get involved with the development process on their local association education committees. And, we need to serve as mentors, but we also have to learn how and when to get out of the way!
In addition to constantly honing our own skills as REALTORS, we need to know what’s happening in our own marketplace and our business. REALTORS should be shining examples of what’s happening in the marketplace. If you don’t know what’s happening in the marketplace, you’re not “in the business.”
Looking to local business networks is a great way to build leadership skills and stay on top of what’s happening in your market. Many organizations – like the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce in my market — have awesome leadership academy programs that are not REALTOR-centric, but focused on local business and business professionals.
These programs provide the knowledge, but let you step outside the box to build your business by growing your network. I may have lunch several days a week, but not always with fellow REALTORS; I try to make appointments with other business people. These relationships help me sharpen and develop my leadership traits, learn new skills and build my business.
Deb Greene, ABR, CIPS, CNE, CRS, GREEN, GRI, SFR class of 2011 from Minneapolis, Minnesota
There’s an interesting story from the Middle East I want to share with you. A dying man leaves his 17 camels to his three sons. To the first son he leaves half, to the second son he leaves a third, and to the third son he leaves a ninth. Well as the three sons do the math they find that none of their portions divide very well into 17 camels. Arguments ensue and before blood is shed they decide to consult a wise old woman who tells them she’s not sure if she can solve their problem, but instead she offers them her one camel, thus giving the three sons 18 camels. This gives the first son 9 camels, the second son gets 6 camels, and the third son gets 2 camels. Well… 9+6+2 = 17 camels, so the three sons return the 18th camel to the wise old lady!
In real estate, life, and in leadership positions I often find myself searching for that 18th camel. It’s interesting how we as humans tend to focus our time, energy and thoughts on the problem versus the solution. Getting to yes shouldn’t be as hard as we tend to make it on ourselves.
I used to work at The Little Nell hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain in Colorado. This amazing resort hotel is owned by the Aspen Skiing Company and is rated a 5 star/5 diamond property. Guests pay top dollar for just a standard (insert luxurious) room. With that, they expect amazing service (insert treatment). One of the challenges posed to us as employees was to never, ever tell a guest ‘NO’. This gave us the unique opportunity of always finding ways to say yes, or offering different options/solutions that kept us away from the dreaded ‘NO’. Unfortunately that experience was many moons ago and I have sadly fallen away from the practice of always finding the yes or solution and avoiding the ‘NO’.
Much of the difficulty in getting to yes is our mindset. Lewis Pugh , who swam at the North Pole and also at the base of Mt. Everest (check out his TEDtalk), shares three interesting thoughts on the subject of mindset. First, there is nothing more powerful than the made up mind. Second, just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the future. And finally, what type of mindset do I need to have to complete a task? Remember the 3 brothers and the camels – their mindset was focused on the fact that 17 camels can’t be dived by 2, 3, or 9… thankfully the wise old woman gave them an 18th camel, which she knew she’d get back!
This real estate market is ripe with opportunities disguised as problems. I would suggest that the most successful REALTORS® will be those that can find those elusive 18th camels!
From front row left to right: Victoria Lowry, Pittsburgh, PA, Kathy Haddock, Duluth, GA, Janice Shows, Ridgeland, MS, Patricia Ohmberger, CRS, GRI, LTG, PMN, Lincoln, NE, Patricia Ohmberger, Lincoln, NE, Leigh York, Weatherford, TX, Laurie Rushing, Hot Springs, AR, Zola Szerencses, Winter Park, FL, Karen O’Donnell, Mayfield Heights, OH, Sherri Souza, Livermore, CA, Matt Ritchie, Alexandria, LA, and Linda Lee, San Diego CA.
Back row right to left: Chris Tenggren, St. Charles, IL, Ansel Crombleholme, Rochester, NH, Veronica Seva-Gonzalez, Washington, DC, Sean Moore, Columbia, MO, Keith Kanemoto, Longmont, CO, Craig Ragg, Castro Valley, CA, Suzanne Sherer, Cape Coral, FL, Mike Craddock, Tulsa, OK, Deb Greene, Minneapolis, MN, Matt Case, Benzonia, MI, Louis Baldwin, Winston Salem, NC, Jason Wright, Tyler, TX, Hagan Stone, Brentwood, TN, Rei Mesa, Sunrise, FL, and David Raphael, Essex, VT.
“REALTORS® bring value to home buyers, sellers and investors, and the NAR Leadership Academy gives REALTORS® the skills they need to bring value to the association and the real estate industry as a whole,” said National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps, owner of Phipps Realty and Relocation in Warwick, Rhode Island. Now is the time to ‘seize the day,’ and the Leadership Team and I are confident that the 2011 Graduates of the NAR Leadership Academy have the strength, wisdom and skills to shape a bright and positive future for our industry and our nation.”
Best wishes and Congratulations to the class of 2011!
As told by Leslie Rouda-Smith, Otto Catrina and Pat Pipkin
The NAR Leadership Academy is going through some changes. Beginning with the selection process for the 2012 class applicants may now be asked for an in person or Skype interview. Chairman of the Academy Advisory Board Leslie Rouda-Smith, “The goal of the Academy is to identify those with potential for leadership at the national level. The interviews give us a chance to discover each person as an individual and find out their passions to create a mix of people that will progress and grow.” With this in mind the advisory board is going to choose a smaller size class than previous years, “we’ll make sure that we have a complementary group of talents and diversity for leadership at NAR.”
“Each of us on the board put in hours of time reviewing the applications before we get to the actual selection meeting. The diversity of perspectives among the board members in the room and the open dialogue we have during the process really contributes to what we hope will be a well-rounded representation of our membership” says, Otto Catrina, Vice Chairman of the board. The Advisory Board is a group of ten; eight REALTORS®, two of which are graduates of the Academy; one state Association Executive and one local Association Executive. They met during the recent Midyear Business meetings in Washington DC to begin the selection process for the class that will graduate in May 2012.
“The advisory board is always looking for ways to improve the program and the interviews are a change in process that allows the board to connect faces and names, it’s a benefit for the candidate and to the selection process” says Pat Pipkin of New Mexico, immediate past Chairman of the board. “With the smaller, more elite group size and the use of interviews, we hope to get a really dynamic group of future leaders.”
The Leadership Academy Advisory board is:
Leslie Rouda-Smith, Chairman from Plano, Texas, Otto Catrina, Vice Chairman from Castro Valley, California, Pat Pipkin, Immediate Past Chairman from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jill Beck, Executive Vice President of North Dakota Association of REALTORS®, Bonnie J. Boyd from Mentor, Ohio, Ingrid Glancy, from Denver, Colorado, Brenda G. Ghibaudi, CRS, PMN from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dwight Hale, from San Antonio, Texas, Theresa Hatton, Executive Vice President of the Greenwich Association of REALTORS®, Mary T. McCall from Tampa, Florida.
When members of the 2011 NAR Leadership Academy met in Chicago for session IV, we knew we were near the end of our time together; not surprisingly, our class has grown closer and friendships have gotten stronger. After all, learning and building relationships are paramount to the program’s success. Even though we have our own aspirations and are determined to succeed, we work as a team and are supportive of the collective efforts and achievements. Together we’ve helped build and pave the future of our profession. Synergy among our group is outstanding.
We started the session with a Tuesday evening reception where we mingled and got caught up on business and personal affairs. On Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Advisory Board Leslie Rouda-Smith offered some opening remarks, followed by Vice Chairman Otto Catrina, who hosted a session entitled “Modeling the Way.” He offered these characteristics of great leaders: Honesty, forward looking, competency, inspiring, credibility and shared values. Otto shared his own experience as a member of first Academy class and pointed out how his leadership experience evolved.
Later we toured the Realtor® building, an amazing experience. We met with a wide range of department heads and staff representing the library and Information Central, Center for Realtor® Technology, Marketing and Business Development, Realtor® University, Commercial, Conventions, the NAR Executive Offices, and the Global Alliance. Passion and dedication from our staff was clearly displayed by all.
The Chopping Block was our dinner destination. It’s a cooking school and retail space that let guests cook their own dinner. Wow! What an awesome team-building activity. As we walked into the “kitchen,” appetizers and drinks were offered. We had professional chefs assist us through the entire evening. We will long remember this wonderful experience.
The next day, we received a great deal of insight into the complex organization that comprises NAR. Erin Campo from NAR Executive Offices provided the NAR Governance overview. She explained the importance of the expertise profile and the responsibilities and criteria necessary for committee involvement. It is interesting to learn about the appointment process, where each year 1,500 positions are filled based on 7,000 recommendations from 2,000 applicants.
We also heard from national leaders. Elizabeth Mendenhall, Vice President and Liaison to Committees, shared the NAR strategic planning vision, its purpose and process. And, Charles McMillan, 2009 NAR President, offered insight regarding his path to national leadership and the rewards and sacrifices of being President of the world’s largest trade organization.
As we finished the session, we had to say good bye and look forward to our final session in Washington DC during the spring meetings in May. We look forward to our graduation and one more opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments together! Must say the Class of 2011 rocks!