Facing Our Adaptive Challenge

January 1, 1998

Our once quite stable business of real estate has not escaped the challenge called change. As a real estate practitioner, you have firsthand experience in adapting to new challenges brought about by the forces of rapid change. Quick and effective decision making has now become the first rule of business success.

We're accepting this as good advice for REALTORS® and even better advice for our national organization. We've long struggled with finding a way to streamline our decision-making process without losing effective representation of the industry in the process--a twofold objective that to some seemed just beyond our reach.

No more. As a result of several actions taken during our annual convention in New Orleans, we’ve squarely faced what management consultants call the adaptive challenge. The approved restructure of the NAR Board of Directors is truly representative of where our industry is heading and will bring the right constituent mix.

In sheer numbers we rank high among professional associations. It gives us enormous clout, especially in the political arena. But big numbers in the decision-making process can often be unwieldy and laborious.

Consider the sage advice of Eric Johnston, a former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in describing that organization's challenge: “The dinosaur's eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better.”

So true. We have successfully avoided becoming the association equivalent of the dinosaur and have prevailed in addressing the adaptive challenge. Consequently, at all levels of our association, we’re emerging as an even stronger partnership of real estate professionals committed to 21st-century excellence.

With our internal structure in place, we’re also poised to create real resonance with the public in terms of the value we bring to the real estate transaction. To that end, we’ll be launching no later than midyear a national public awareness campaign. We’ll take our message right to consumers through broadcast and cable television.

This unparalleled effort to keep us central to the transaction will help us meet another adaptive challenge, this one external. In reinforcing through the powerful medium of television our tradition of effective and ethical service, we’ll reach homebuyers and homesellers and property investors in unprecedented numbers.

Another exciting year is in store for our organization. I encourage your involvement so that we can continue to make great strides in 1998.

R. Layne Morrill was 1998 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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