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!
I just returned from the 2011 NAR Issues Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico and wanted to share with the Leadership LAB some highlights of this wonderful event. This is by far one of my most favorite meetings of the year. It was exciting to see the large number of current and former NAR Leadership Academy class members in attendance.
The meetings kicked off with a welcome by NAR President Ron Phipps, who reminded us that “Home Ownership Matters.” The payoff was information and statistics relating to his recent testimony at the Capitol, where he noted that real estate represents 15% of the U.S. GDP and touches almost every aspect of our economy.
We then had a fascinating look at the recent election results and how the current polls are trending with Bill McInturff and Peter Hart. They pointed out that this era will be defined by a massive shift in power from the states and institutions to the people and communities. Confidence in Congress is at 9%; furthermore, it has been a decade since the majority of Americans have felt the country is heading in the right direction. I did find it amusing that one poll revealed that 29% of respondents think the economy will get better, while 29% think it will get worse. Anyone got a coin? Another poll found that 21% of Americans believe that their home value is increasing, while 18% believe it is decreasing.
Bethany McLean, author of “All The Devils Are Here,” spoke to us about the financial collapse and her inside look at the players involved. Her research into this subject matter was very intense and she had amazing insight to share. I highly recommend you read her book. She did leave us with a glimmer of hope after presenting so much negative information when she told us that bad business tends to get the spotlight and media, but that there is much more good business outweighing the bad.
The highlight of day one for me was listening to John Ansbach talk about generational diversity. He poised a great question: “How fluent are you with each of the generations?” He also pointed out that the generation gap maybe bigger than we realize and took us on a journey through each of four current generations of Americans. His statistics on the number of Members of Congress in each generation was very eye opening. One example is that there are only four U.S. Senators from Generation X, the rest are Baby Boomers and Civics. He also pointed out that if you don’t “speak” Generation Y, you better learn it! It’s not a good business strategy to ignore 80 million people!
On the second day, Vince Malta and Dale Stinton discussed building the REALTOR party. Did you know the REALTOR brand is now worth $4.5 billion in brand value and has a 95% recognition value? Stay tuned for more exciting information as NAR decides how to take advantage of the Citizens United vs. FEC ruling. We must increase our advocacy of home ownership.
The dueling economist session was entertaining as the debate was heated and quick. It was too hard to take notes and make sense of it all, but let’s just say every economist has a different view and opinion of where we are headed!
Former Senator Trent Lott and former Congressman Paul Kanjorski gave us an inside look at their respective views of the recent elections, the current Congress, and what they see happening in 2012, with no partisan spin… yeah right! Finally we wrapped the conference up with an amazing and entertaining discussion between political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin.
I highly recommend you become a President’s Circle member and attend next year’s Issues Conference! It will be held February 16-19, 2012 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida.
For every Realtor® who still raise questions regarding whether he or she should embrace social media and emerging technologies, consider this perspective: Popular social media platforms, like Facebook, give you an opportunity to let followers – fellow Realtors®, clients and prospects, other business professionals – know you as a person. They get to know you as more than just a real estate professional through your online profile.
My followers on Facebook, for example, can learn through my posts that I’m into dirt bikes and a certain type of music. They learn some of my personal interests, and more about who I am, by reading what’s on my wall.
In mid January, I attended Inman Real Estate Connect in New York, an annual gathering of real estate and technology leaders. My participation at the event reaffirmed to me that social media is the direction that the world is heading in terms of communicating. The way we’ve communicated in the past is simply not working as well as it once did; print communications too often today get thrown out in the trash.
Today, a growing number of people expect their leaders to communicate through social media and video because these forms of communication reach a much wider audience. And, frankly, social media is much more sophisticated since it allows for two-way communication.
Some leaders will question whether they can keep up to date with technology since it changes so rapidly. My response is that leaders today must make the time to learn how to take advantage of social media and keep pace with the changing dynamics. They’ve got to make the effort to be in that space.
The key to successfully using social media is not a foreign as some may believe it to be. If you can go to a party and engage and interact with people face-to-face, you can take advantage of the benefits of social media. If you can surf the Internet, you can be part of the online discussion.
At the Inman conference, I was introduced to what might be the next big development in technology. It’s a new version of the user-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia called Qwiki. It’s much more visual than Wikipedia, and I think search engines like Qwiki will dramatically change the way we go online to conduct searches. On Facebook and YouTube, imagery is so important because someone can view a photo and really become enlightened by it.
And, as we know, from a real estate and personal perspective, projecting a positive image is a key to success.
Chris Nichols is a REALTOR® at Prudential Utah Elite Real Estate, President-elect of the Utah County Association of REALTORS® and 2010 NAR Leadership Academy Participant
UCAR members work to enhance the public perception of REALTORS® through a new web site WhyREALTORSCare. They can proudly highlight one of their members who has made extraordinary commitments to improving the quality of life in their community.
One of the cornerstones of NAR is political involvement. As a member of the Government Affairs Committee at the Utah County Association of REALTORS® (UCAR), we spent many hours in the fall of 2009 reviewing local candidates and making decisions as to who we would endorse and support in the November elections. We developed a new Statement of Policy (SOP) to serve as the guiding document for these decisions.
The Association’s main concern focused on Provo, the county seat and largest city. The challenge we faced was a popular mayoral candidate and a 12-year city council member; who’s record of actions and votes adversely impacted property rights.
UCAR leadership publicly endorsed three city council candidates and a new mayoral candidate based on their alignment with the SOP. When the results were tabulated, the endorsed mayor as well as all three council candidates was elected.
But these victories came with a price: grassroots and neighborhood backlash spreading concern that REALTORS® played too active a role in the election and were only motivated by greed. Some association members even questioned our actions.
Thus the idea was developed to educate and inform the public, as well as association members, why we got involved. The result is Why Realtors Care, a website whyREALTORScare.com and Public Relations campaign to highlight how UCAR members actively participate in their community through service and outreach to make a positive difference.
The site covers UCAR efforts to create housing opportunities, community service projects, and political involvement efforts by using the Preamble of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, as our foundation for protecting property rights.
This year we were fortunate that UCAR member Greg Adamson was selected as a 2009 REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award winner. Greg created a foundation in 2004 called Utah Heart 2 Home, which completes home make over projects for families in need. The site includes video showcasing how two Utah Valley families had their lives changed for the better through Greg’s efforts. The stories are heart-rending and compelling but are great examples of how REALTORS® make their communities better places to live.
It’s my hope that this site will continue to grow and develop as we add more examples of local and national efforts to make our communities stronger, make housing affordable, and encourage the political efforts of REALTORS® for years to come.