What Was Our CEO Doing in Denver?

“Small and Mighty” Panel of AEs at AEI 2017

What Was Our CEO Doing in Denver?

“You can’t run an association without being in the office!” is something I am often told. And yet I can. And do. (In fact pretty well, according to most sources.) To be specific, I was attending the annual NAR Association Executives Institute (AEI), which gathers over 1,000 association leaders and NAR staff for focused training on leadership. It is the one annual event focused on what we do. And it’s fantastic. This conference is not about real estate. It’s about helping REALTORS(R) in their chosen profession.

The one resounding message that becomes clear when I travel on behalf of our members is how grateful I am for our CULTURE at L.A.R.A.

Our CULTURE is one of mutual support and respect. Surprisingly, this does not exist among some of our peers, which is unfortunate. I enjoy my job. I do all I can to support our members and your businesses, and I feel the majority of you respect and support the way I manage the business of our association. I do not get involved in the day to day operations of your businesses any more than you do mine – and my goal is to be as responsive as possible to each of you, and to the requirements of the state and national organizations who govern us. Sometimes you have to wait for a response to a voice mail message, but other times you get an instant response when you don’t expect one.  What was I doing in Denver? Appreciating what we have back home.

Our CULTURE is one of appreciation for the unique beauty and lifestyle of the Lakes Area. While in a city that is buzzing with activity in more ways than one (wink), all I could think about is the reasons I love our Lakes Area more. We help people LIVE HERE. The best part of leaving is coming back HOME.

I smiled as one of the top CEO’s asked to share secrets of leadership success at our closing session quoted: “Culture eats strategy for lunch!” (In other words, all the meetings in the world can’t recreate what we have organically here at L.A.R.A.)

Did I learn anything? Yes. Did I make valuable connections? Yes. How does it help YOU? (Besides keeping us in compliance with lots of things at lots of levels.) Let’s see …  How about if I share my Top 10 quotes of the week and see if any of them connect for you:

1) “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw is credited although that seems to be questionable. Interestingly, this quote was used at least once a day by various speakers It’s a good thought to keep in mind in our daily lives. Did we communicate something, or only think we did?

2) “You did not wake up today to be mediocre!”

Anyone who has ever heard Leigh Brown live or on video, read that again with her Southern accent!

3) “Exceptional Service is about Systems, Standards and Processes!”

I spent an entire day with Disney Institute trainers proving that consistency provides superior service.

4) “What if we train them and they leave? – – – – – What if we don’t and they stay?”

A reminder about the importance of education and training. In our world, this sometimes switches from a management:employees scenario to our investing in our SELVES and our careers. One speaker, a large broker/owner shared: “We have a lot of accidental* agents running around.” (*The opposite is intentional agents – focused on their career, industry and future.)

5) Leadership is dependent on the actions one takes, rather than the position one holds.

Another reminder from our friends at Disney. Titles don’t earn respect. Actions do. Which leads me to the next quote, used more than once ~

6) “We never know who is watching. But they are always watching.”

Today, more than ever, we should behave as if we are on video – because we may be.

7) “Have very few rules. But stick to all of them.”

One of my favorite of NAR CEO Dale Stinton’s “Ten Commandments for Leadership Success.”

8) “Listen more than you speak”

Some of us can never hear this message enough times. Remember the one that says, “God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason.” Listening vs. waiting for our turn to speak is one of the most important skills we can hone. Also, listening to what is NOT being said is sometimes the most important of all.

9) “There’s a thin line between CONFIDENCE and Arrogance. It’s Humility. CONFIDENCE SMILES. Arrogance smirks.”

10) “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.”

This line was delivered by retiring NAR CEO Dale Stinton, with a catch in his throat as nearly 1,000 association executives were riveted to his message. He claims it is the only quote he has ever memorized, and has always lived by. I feel like I should end this with: “Be like Dale.”

What was I doing in Denver? Feeling appreciative of being in the right place at the right time, and part of something so incredibly powerful. Truthfully, I was mostly looking forward to bringing everything I learned back home to the Lakes Area I love.

Thanks to you all for allowing me to serve you. Denise Schultz, RCE, PSAT, e-PRO and Your CEO

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