Inman is exploring what the future of real estate leadership should look like through a series of articles, Q&As with industry pros, and a-part series called Leadership Week. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a leader who wants to join us for our exclusive Disconnect in The Desert event on March 26-28, or want to recommend a colleague, send a note to email@example.com explaining why.
Denee Evans is the CEO at Council of Multiple Listing Services. A distinguished executive who is passionate about strengthening communities through finance, innovation, and technology, she has applied a broad range of financial expertise, program development experience, and leadership skills to accomplish this objective by transforming departments, offices, and organizations into peak performing operations that have a direct impact in our communities. We recently had the chance to sit down with Denee and ask her thoughts on the future of real estate leadership in 2018.
As a leader, what keeps you up at night?
The real estate industry tends to pour so much effort into today’s problems that there never seems to be anything left for tomorrow. So I’m constantly looking for that one compelling case — that one defining vision — that can persuade the entire industry to stop hunting for the next disruption and start investing in the creation of something better. Don’t worry about being relevant today. Start working to be indispensable tomorrow.
If you could change one thing in real estate, what would it be?
I would bring all the stakeholders together and channel their energy toward a collaborative effort that leads to something better — a marketplace that is intuitive to the needs of consumers, provided by brokers, served by agents, and connected by MLSs. This might make some people uncomfortable, but that’s a good thing. Operating outside your comfort zone is often the first step toward success.
How have your expectations of your management team changed over the past two years?
At the Council of MLS, I work with different management teams that are growing all the time. I’ve seen the CMLS Board of Directors evolve from a tactical one that asks “what now?” to a strategic one that asks “what if?” I’ve built a dedicated full-time staff that eats, sleeps, and breathes MLS in order to better support our members. And as a result of their efforts, the expectations of the industry are starting to change so we can begin to explore what the real possibilities might be.
How do you keep your team competitive?
As a trade organization representing the MLS community, this question requires a different kind of answer. It’s really less about direct competition and more about delivering value as an indispensable resource that makes our MLS members the ones that everyone else aspires to be. I want them to be the MLSs that define service excellence, develop best practices, and are recognized as best-in-class organizations.
With so much disruption in real estate, what’s your best advice for managing change?
The time has come for MLSs to stop managing the change and start making the change. You don’t have to worry about disruption when you are one of the leaders contributing to a better marketplace. Let’s inspire the industry to reimagine tomorrow’s marketplace in ways that make sense. Since change is inevitable, let’s collaborate with those who are seen as its architects. We’re working at this every day at CMLS, inspiring not only ourselves but everyone we work with along the way.