Good Things Take Time
By DAVID CHARRON
Chief Strategy Officer, Bright MLS and President & CEO, MRIS INvestors, Inc.
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking at a “Visioning Session” hosted by CarolinaMLS and its shareholder, the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association. The audience consisted of MLS, Association Executives and Leadership from across the state of North Carolina. The primary topic of the day revolved around the MLS 2020 Agenda’s (www.mlsroundtable.com) three main takeaways: technology, data distribution standards and market consolidation.
There are quite a few of these forums being conducted, many as the result of the MLS 2020 report and all focusing on what the MLS needs to look like in the next 36 months.
But back to Charlotte. How refreshing that all attended the session in Charlotte, not because they felt they had to, but because they wanted to. Charlotte Executive Anne Marie DeCatsye and her smart, hip President Jason Gentry invited representatives from around the state including peers, brokers, agents and key influencers. Also included were brokers from other markets who shared their experiences, their frustrations and fears, and importantly their business challenges that go well beyond effectively managing their data.
What made this so very interesting is there was no “ask”. Anne Marie and her leadership’s objective was simply to provide everyone with a baseline of information where attendees could form their own conclusions and return home to craft their respective action plans.
Some may choose to ultimately move in different directions. And some will no doubt move forward and work collaboratively. But all acknowledged the elephant in the room; maintaining the status quo is no longer an option.
Relatedly, last week I received a call from Kirby Slunaker of REColorado who simply wanted to let me know that 2 separate MLSs in the state were signing letters of intent to consolidate. Congrats to Kirby and Lauren, their peers and their leadership on making this a reality. No small feat. Wow!
I was reminded that discussing similar issues across markets allow the parties to build trust. Trust is key to maximizing any major opportunity or overcoming any significant crisis. And once this foundation is established, people and the markets they represent can move forward in a collaborative manner, knowing there will be challenges, knowing it will be messy and knowing the foundation of trust will further ensure these hurdles are overcome.
As I was thinking about these events, I happened across “THE” speech by Billy Chee from the 1993 NAR Conference. https://youtu.be/CyKFXVQwAPA. It’s less than 11 minutes long. Have you ever seen or heard the speech itself? Curiously it appears to have been viewed less than 500 times yet his “lions coming over the hill” comment is quoted regularly and enjoys industry-wide acclaim to this day. Regardless, Billy makes specific references to arbitrary boundaries, well-funded outsiders, outmoded thinking and even states that “…NAR will be a facilitator of technology and not a vendor.”
And here we are 24 years later. We still have some miles to go. Billy was ahead of his time for sure.