It was around this time last year that I was writing on change, saying, “If I’ve learned nothing else in almost fifteen years in the real estate business, it’s that the only constant is change — shifts are plentiful, but they’re rarely easy.”
Perhaps you’ve seen that I made my own change, moving on to the next chapter where I can work more closely with brokers and agents. I rediscovered that my passion — my ‘why’ — in this industry was firmly rooted in helping others be the best at what they do. I realized that I couldn’t continue that mission without changes, including changing my own mindset as to my role and my goals as a part of this big, beautiful industry we call “real estate.”
Refusing to change, to adapt, to act sometimes feels like the easiest option. If you’ve ever seen me speak, you’ve probably heard me say, “The easiest thing to do is nothing at all.” We’re all human (presumably), and as humans, we are creatures of habit. Any deviation from our patterns can feel as daunting as cliff-diving. But here we are on the precipice of 2020, and we need to be ready to jump.
That’s the full cost of doing nothing. You never reach your goal.
I’ve called it ‘paralysis by analysis’ before: overthinking a decision to the point that you make no headway toward success. We all feel it when we are weighing our options, hesitating due to the perpetual “what if” of something better coming along. As brokers, as managers, and as leaders our goals are critical as the status quo is just not going to cut it any longer. Whether it’s choosing where to invest your marketing budget, what kind of tools will support your agents best, or even where you are going to make the strongest impact in the lives of others — if we don’t act, the cost of doing nothing can be worse than any choice made.
It’s the cost of time.
Benjamin Franklin’s aphorism, “time is money,” is a universally accepted truth in business. Your time spent doing nothing — even when disguised as waiting or analyzing — adds up to tangible dollars. Think of it like this: Agent A has to put together all of their listing marketing materials by hand for every listing. Agent B saves hours every week with technology that automates those processes. Using NAR’s member highlights, on average, REALTORS® could equate their work to about $20/hour in 2018. Agent B had more time in the week toward transactions than Agent A. Agent A could be losing out on a hundred dollars or more every week, and they may consider leaving the brokerage because the tools at Agent B’s company are better. The cost of doing nothing begins to snowball.
It’s the cost of loyalty.
Your actions guide the actions of your followers. A good leader can’t use “do as I say, not as I do.” Lack of action as a broker may cause turmoil in your agent community as they begin to feel that perhaps this brokerage won’t continue to support them and help them grow. Likewise, a lack of action as an agent could affect your referrals and client loyalty. They may have loved you when you sold their house five years ago, but if you haven’t changed, haven’t had any more transactions or interactions, then they may think of you as ‘behind-the-times.’
It’s the cost to catch up and keep up.
By doing nothing, you fall further and further behind. You lose traction in technology, in innovation, in loyalty and retention, in recruiting, and that translates to a steeper and steeper slope to climb. I’m a big proponent of the kaizen philosophy: continuous, incremental improvement will drive powerful outcomes. Too often, small delays become long delays and once you realize that you’ve fallen behind, the price to catch up (and keep up) usually eclipses the original cost you considered. Agents change brokers over values and services, clients choose other agents with newer technology and better reach, and in each instance, a reputation suffers.
So, together, let’s keep up. Let’s take risks. Let’s challenge ourselves every day to avoid the cost of doing nothing, to strive for innovation, and to embrace changes. Despite what you might see posted in real estate discussions online, it’s not too late to begin making a shift to better align yourself with the consumers of today and tomorrow. After all, as Billy Joel once sang, “the good ole days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”