Each year, for the last four years, I’ve had the same reaction to being included on Inman’s 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders list. I have recoiled from it. I politely thank people when they mention it and I’m certainly honored by my association with some exceptional folks, but I’ve never fully embraced it. I’m sure a good shrink could dig into the deeper psychological reasons for my reaction, but that’s a different discussion. I’d like to move this in a different direction.
Two things have happened in the past 6 weeks to make me want to write this post. And Inman was involved, in one way or another, with both. The first was the Inman CEO Summit and the second was the Inman Connect Recap Trialogu.es podcast.
I sat in the room at the CEO summit having two conflicting thoughts for most of the day. “I belong here,” and “I don’t belong here.”
I belonged there because I knew I could hold my own with anyone in the room, both conversationally and experientially. My business experience allows me to see things from varied perspectives. I’m comfortable in almost any business setting, from a public company boardroom to a white board session with twenty-something coders who have nothing more than an idea and energy.
But I also felt that I didn’t belong in THAT room because I spend most of my time on the periphery of the real estate industry. I don’t have a direct impact on the operations of a real estate organization. I don’t run a company impacting major inflection points in the consumer’s relationship with a real estate company. My influence in real estate is limited at best. And I asked myself, “why?”
My only answer is that I had limited my opportunity to have significant influence because I had decided to not commit fully to the real estate industry. That’s why I recoiled at being placed on the Inman 100 list. It feels wrong that I’d be on the list of an industry publication that I’m focused on only partially. And it’s also why I didn’t feel like I belonged in that room.
Both Rob and Matthew are also on the Inman 100 list. So, Gahlord congratulated them and a short conversation about influence erupted. “What does this even mean?,” Rob asked. “I don’t know that I feel influential.” I certainly could relate to that. And simply listening to them discuss it openly allowed me to set aside my recoil reaction and simply embrace the fact that I have been recognized by a respected industry publication.
Now I feel compelled to do and be what I deem necessary to warrant being acknowledged and sit in the CEO summit room or any other room where real influencers are present. I must become more fully engaged with the real estate community.
What will my actions look like?
First, I’m going to take a different approach to my writing. Recently, several of my close friends in the real estate industry have told me that I’ve become cynical in my writing tone, especially around social technologies and real estate. They tell me it has flowed into my speaking as well. I can see why they think that. Looking back at the headlines of some of my posts, I’ve not been particularly positive about some of real estates hot button topics, like Pinterest for example. While I don’t think it’s my responsibility to find the real estate use for every new online tool that pops up, I do think my tone can change. I can and will communicate my ideas about helping real estate professionals make better decisions in a more positive way.
Second, I’m going to find a way to focus more on the real estate industry. For whatever reason, I love the real estate industry. I love the people in it and I love the challenge it poses. And I think I can help make a positive difference in the coming years. Purposefully limiting that focus just simply doesn’t make sense to me any longer.
And third, my emphasis is going to be on the importance of values-based leadership. When I stop and analyze what really gets my juices flowing, conversations about vision and values and their connection to culture, brand and profits are what really excite me.
It’s time for me to provide specific, actionable guidance to help the real estate industry execute and bring about needed change: Executable strategies; Measurable action plans; Accountability; Transition to values driven cultures; Brand awareness and Brand strengthening; ROI. Not another in an endless list of quick-fix “tips,” but roadmaps to substantive, long-term, well reasoned guidance and success. It’s time.
I don’t yet know the timeline for this, but I know that I’ve been recognized as having some measure of influence in the real estate industry. To recoil from that now would be a mistake. And wasting the opportunity to do something positive with it would be an even bigger one.