Several years ago while visiting with friends in Ft. Worth, I was treated to an evening at gorgeous Bass Performance Hall. Patti Austin was the featured artist, singing some of her favorite Ella Fitzgerald tunes. The building, of course, is built for sound, and the notes from her powerful voice and the orchestra that accompanied her reverberated from the walls and lingered long after the music stopped. Most of us were humming those tunes (or something like them anyway) for the rest of the night. That experience reminds me of a great quote that I’ve heard attributed to Beethoven: “When the music stops and the notes fade away, the melody remains.”
The influence of a good leader is like that. I’ve been privileged to serve with some outstanding leaders in various volunteer organizations, at work and in my own family. Their words and their actions, the lessons they taught me, reverberate in my mind and continue to influence me years after the meetings and tasks have been completed.
The REALTOR® organization is fortunate to have a wealth of good leaders. As an AE, I have tremendous respect for those of you who volunteer to serve. You generously fit service to REALTORS® around your professional and home lives. You spend countless hours at the board table, feverishly fund raise for RPAC, conference call and web conference, send emails in the wee hours of the morning, travel to DC and your state capitol to lobby your elected officials — all these tasks and many more designed to ensure a bright future for this organization and this industry. Collectively these actions create a melody that lingers, its notes echoing long after the work is done.
If you aspire to be one of these inspirational REALTOR® leaders or if you’re serving in leadership already and you’re looking to expand your sphere of influence, we have a program for you! NAR’s Leadership Academy is accepting applications now through March 31, 2013. Click on this link to check it out: http://www.realtor.org/programs/leadership-academy. You’ll learn new skills, be impacted by lessons in leadership, make some life-long friends and create your own leadership melody in the process. I hope that you’ll consider applying!
I remember being in a meeting with a great leader that had to make a tough decision on a somewhat divisive issue. I felt for her as I knew that no matter what decision she made, there were going to be some people who were happy with her decision and some people who were not. What impressed me is that she was able to quickly gain clarity on what she ultimately felt was “the right thing to do”. You could tell that it was difficult for her, but ultimately she set aside her personal feelings and inclinations and made the decision that she felt was most beneficial and reflective of the overall organization. That is not always the easy thing to do, but in my opinion it demonstrated great strength of character to be able to act on what you feel is right, even when it is difficult.
This situation gave me pause to think about what really makes a great leader. Here are a few qualities and attributes that I think makes a great leader.
Great leaders are Courageous. This does not mean that they are not afraid, or intimidated by a situation from time to time, but great leaders find a way to summon the courage to move forward when others would shrink away from the challenge. It takes courage to push into the unknown, go against the grain or speak out when you aren’t sure if your opinion will be popular. It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go forward in the presence of fear.
Great leaders have Vision. I believe that a great leader knows the “why” behind the “what” that they are doing. They also have the ability to help other people catch the vision of the “why” so they can accomplish the “what”. That’s a lot of “why’s” and “what’s”! I’ve always been inspired when I’m around people who have conviction and clarity in purpose. When the cause is just and you have a leader who can share the vision of the cause, special things happen.
Great leaders have empathy. Have you ever been around someone who genuinely understands your plight and is willing to admit that they understand how you feel? I immediately connect with those kinds of people and want to help them because they were willing to help and relate to me. They don’t think themselves as better or above those that they lead. In fact, most of the time they are anxious to get into the trenches, roll up their sleeves and get to work right alongside of those that they lead. Leaders who have empathy earn the hearts and trust of those around them.
Great leaders care. We’ve all been around someone who we know really cares about us. No ulterior motives, not quid pro quo, just care about you because you are you. They see the good in people and strive to bring out the best in others. They can be trusted and are unwavering to their commitment to a person or cause. They accomplish great things because those around them can feel how much they care.
Great leaders know when it’s time to lead. Many times a great leader is also a great role player and follower, but when it’s time to lead, the best leaders step up and take an active role. They don’t stand on the sidelines waiting for someone else to do something. They recognize the moment, mobilize and take action. They aren’t worried about failure or ask themselves, “what if this doesn’t work out the way I want it to”. They just know it’s time to step up and have the self confidence that they can do the job that is front of them. They have a “make it happen” kind of attitude and courage to take on challenges no matter how big. Great leaders take control of their destiny and don’t leave it in the hands of fate. Great leaders rise up and lead when it’s time to lead.
Do you think you are or could become a great leader? If so, apply to the NAR Leadership Academy to hone your current skills and to develop new talents. You will gain insights and experiences that will enhance every facet of your life. All organizations need great leaders. NAR is no different and NAR needs you! Application deadline is March 31st. REALTOR.org/LeadershipAcademy
When I’m asked about what person inspired my passion for serving as a Realtor® volunteer , my father comes to mind. He was NAR President in 1991, and over the years I watched him run a large real estate company while still being a positive and passionate leader. And, an event played a role. Years back, I interviewed for a leadership position at a professional organization in my market. In fact, I interviewed at the same organization five times, and each time another candidate was selected.
It would have been very easy to say, “The heck with it,” and just give up. But I’ve learned to never give up if I’m passionate about a program or cause. If there’s not an opportunity in one place, there might be one someplace else. I went to another, smaller organization and was offered a leadership position on my first attempt. The lesson to share is that I kept my passion for leadership, which has resulted in a national position as Vice President on the 2013 Realtor® Leadership Team and my long commitment to the NAR Leadership Academy. And, I was just elected as Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Association of Realtors®.
In our industry, there are many opportunities to make a difference as a Realtor ® based on your passion and expertise. The key is to identify where you can serve the membership the most. Through my involvement with the Academy, I’ve always maintained it’s important to mentor and groom future leaders – to engage them and let them find their passion
My biggest mentor and supporter has always been my husband. He’s a farm and ranch broker in our home state of Texas, and he’s been a leader in his very specialized segment of the industry for the past 35 years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support. And, I should call out two outstanding Realtors® — Dick Gaylord, for giving me the guidance that led to my role with the Leadership Academy, and Charles McMillan, who gave me opportunities to excel on a national level.
The Leadership Academy has, of course, been a big part of my life since its inception. I’ve had the honor of being associated with every class, and I’ve worked with just about everyone. That’s how I got my nickname of “The Godmother.” And, I’ll remain committed to help our future leaders find their way through the Academy. Applications for the 2014 class are due March 31, and we encourage all Realtors® who are interested to apply.
Education is critical to nurturing Realtors®, and I’m beyond honored to be a member of the Board of Regents and part of the development team working on Realtor® University, especially its Master of Real Estate program, which is a true master’s degree. When I was chair of the NAR Professional Development Committee, a Presidential Advisory Group was formed to study professional development, our image and raising the bar. The result was Realtor® University, and I’m proud to say that our idea is off to a rousing start and celebrated its one-year anniversary February 27.
If you’re not familiar with Realtor® University, there are five areas of concentration, and new sessions are offered every eight weeks. Learn more by visiting Realtor U calling 855-786-6546. So far, we’ve had participation from Realtors® in 26 states and Canada, and have students that range in age from 25 to 70 years of age – which is a good indication that you’re never too old to learn!
The 2013 NAR Leadership Academy class is a diverse group of REALTORS® spanning the globe. Our class this year is composed of 17 individuals who are committed to learning more about the REALTOR® organization, each other and how they can use their talents to strengthen NAR’s mission. Meet the class here.
The class met during NAR’s Annual Meeting in Orlando. Otto Catrina, past chair of the Leadership Academy, provided an overview of expectations for the NAR Leadership Academy experience. As a past graduate, Otto shared his own experience, those of his colleagues and provided an insight into life after the Academy and the role of the Advisory Board. I then provided an overview of leadership and leadership styles and challenged the class to try different styles of leadership in various situations to practice and learn what is the most effective for them.
Stephanie Singer, NAR’s Managing Director of Public Affairs shared several aspects of NAR’s programs that promote the REALTOR® brand to the general public. Stephanie also shared how NAR decides to focus on specific issues or messages that are targeted to the consumer. The class was very appreciative of all of the information and learned that the Public Advocacy campaign provides a comprehensive set of resources for the members to use, and that the campaign is not just a few commercials seen on television.
The class then had a wonderful opportunity to hear from 2012 President Moe Veissi and past president, Ron Phipps. Ron delivered a wonderful message about his leadership within the REALTOR® organization at various levels of the organization and some successes and challenges that he had faced. The group also heard from current leaders Brooke Hunt, Leslie Rouda-Smith and Elizabeth Mendenhall. These leaders shared how an idea turns into an actionable program within the REALTOR® organization. Each of these leaders have lead and participated in different committees and Presidential Advisory Groups that were challenged to determine the course of action and direction that the organization needed to take in response to market situations.
The class had a team-building assignment that took them all over downtown Orlando working in various ways of as a team, learning about each other’s strengths and how to best collaborate to achieve a goal. The end of the day concluded with a wrap-up of each team’s performance and a well-deserved group dinner.
Our next session will take place January 28-29th in Washington DC where the class will learn about NAR’s regulatory and legislative initiatives.
For more information on the National Association of REALTORS Leadership Academy (NARLA) and to apply for the graduating class of 2014 visit REALTOR.org/LeadershipAcademy
At the recent REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Moe Veissi was sworn in as the 2012 National Association of REALTORS® President. He encouraged members to be beacons of light for home ownership in local communities, and he pledged the commitment of the national leadership team in this effort.
The leadership already is hard at work, with Moe testifying on Capitol Hill this week where he made a forceful case before a key congressional committee to protect FHA from potentially destabilizing changes to the agency’s main insurance fund. Some lawmakers have been talking about curbing the agency as a step toward reducing the federal government’s role in home ownership and also to shore up its reserves. Watch his testimony here.
Learn more about the 2012 leadership team and who they are professionally and personally. Meet the 2012 NAR leadership team.
And a round of congratulations to members of the leadership academy who are serving prominent roles at the national level. Graduates of the leadership academy who are NAR liaisons are:
Francisco Angulo (2009), Miami, FL – Global, Resort & Second-Home Real Estate Group
Daryl Braham (2008), Fargo, ND – Political Fundraising Liaison
Brook Hunt (2008), Flower Mound, TX – Diversity, State & Political Issues Group
Reinaldo “Rei” Mesa (2011), Sunrise, FL – Liaison for Large Firm Relations
Kenny Parcell (2009), Spanish Fork, UT – Information, Communications & Professional Development Group
Congratulations to the graduates who will be 2012 Regional Vice Presidents:
Richard Brogan (2010), Felton, DE – Region 3
Michael Labout (2009), Colorado Spring, CO – Region 11
Theresa Stewart (2008), Ada, OK – Region 9
All of the 2012 national committee appointments can be viewed here, login to REALTOR.org required.
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
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.