stressed businessmanImplied vs express consent

We, as individual members of CREA, are traveling down a road that has more than just potholes. It could be said there are hazards a’plenty on this particular road.

This has become all too apparent due to a lack of engagement by the ordinary members of CREA. Our elected representatives appear to operate on the basis that if you don’t voice a negative opinion to the items on the agenda, it is implied that you approve of what is being put forward.

Nothing could be farther from the truth, as evidenced by the vote on setting up a wholly owned company to operate the IT function of CREA. By a vote of 81 per cent to 19 per cent, it was decided to refer it back for additional information to be presented at the Spring AGM in 2013.

Change is necessary and change is good! CREA and our local elected representatives (I don’t know about yours) put forward all of the information, and I readily admit, not many read or watch it. In Nova Scotia recently, a YouTube video that was circulated prior to the vote in Winnipeg was opened 149 times by an agent population of approximately 1,658 agents. I opened it twice as did others, so let me do the math for you:  less than nine per cent viewed the video! I cannot quantify the number who did or did not read the 32-page bulletin that was circulated.

Locally, we have been unable to get a quorum at board and regional meetings, and still the comment is, “We provide the information, we can’t make them read it.”

Perhaps a quote from Sir Winston Churchill may be appropriate: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

Is this an epidemic of apathy by our industry? How long will the implied consent mentality prevail at CREA and across the country at local boards?

Engagement is difficult, communication…or rather, lack thereof, has caused more conflicts and casualties in business and in life than we care to admit, and yet we continue to go down that road.

Perhaps if you don’t participate or attend meetings, you get what you deserve. But is that fair? When the elected representatives appear to be taking the lack of participation and apathy as positive support for their activities, we all suffer from the apathy and ambivalence.

Personally, I don’t want a new company comprised of the same old, same old, with additional expenses and bureaucracy to deliver to us what we have been receiving up to this point. How many more consumer complaints about Realtor.ca do we have to endure, when much smaller companies out-perform from a creative and usability basis? However, when the decision is made, one way or the other, I will have to live by the decision.

“I may not agree with your point of view, but I will defend to the death your right to it.” Noble words, but what if your decision was made by others based on your inaction, or not knowing the issues?

Have you been encouraged or discouraged by your local elected representatives to contact your peers in an attempt to engage them on this issue? Have your elected representatives used the “implied consent” model rather than the “expressed consent” model? Has CREA done the same thing?

I can only hope that the “sleeping giant” we know as you and I, as ordinary members of CREA, wake up!

Make your decision, based on as much information as you can. Push your elected representatives for accountability on how they voted, and how they will vote next time, and make sure they represent you and your opinion.

Engage your peers to get involved. The correct decision will be made, if we are engaged in the process.

Regardless of what is decided, I can rest easy knowing that if we, as a group, make an informed decision, I will have no issue with “defending” that decision…will you?

David A. Yetman

Broker\owner

Real Estate Navigator

Century 21 All Points

Halifax

12 COMMENTS

  1. Don, you have hit the nail on the head.

    I have been a Director of a BIg Board. As I see it there are a number of things happening. One: our membership is getting older and moving into either retirement or semi-retirement. Do old Realtors “just fade away…”? Second: we have an influx of new, younger members – the technologically savvy agressive young things who generally don’t seem interested in politics – either large P or small p – small p being industry politics. Third: we also have a significant number of “part timers” – in our Association, people who for example have government jobs ie. hospitals, renovation companies etc.
    Who’s left??
    A minority of middle aged or older persons who believe that service to the Industry is important. These are our leaders – who deserve a lot of credit for the time they devote and opportunities they pass-up for the greater good.
    Our Association also has a few experienced and dedicated staff who also provide exemplary service to us all.
    I have tried to paint the background “as I see it”.
    Now for those who attack our Industry – there are those (mainly civil servants – and opportunists in the business community) who would like to see our Industry of Organized Real Estate become Dis-Organized Real Estate.
    These are our challenges…
    Who will step up??

    Larry – in London

  2. As a newly elected board member and long time volunteer I a unique perspective here. I did not run because I was enthused with the direction my board was choosing to take but except in rare cases where the membership turns out in droves our board barely makes quorom. As a past council member on our provincial regulator we would routinely set out to get feedback from industry members with very little success. Is it because the industry is apathetic or have they been conditioned time and again that there really isnt much they can do about it.

    Another failing of organized real estate has to be engagement. Some times its too much but maybe the old ways of doing things have to change. Maybe the old ways of having meetings in hotel rooms have to change. One thing is for sure. We had 450+ members at our september meeting which was a golden opportunity to provide an engaging meeting that would provide unique value to those in attendance. Sadly the opportunity for increased engagement was missed.

    The reality is that the membership is apathetic and they need to be involved. So do we point the finger at them and say get involved or do we build in value that makes it not only worth being involved but critical.

  3. David I know you will receive plenty of support for your point of view. However I was interested and did serve several terms as a “Big Board” director and acquired first hand knowledge on just how the “system’ worked. It doesn’t appear to have changed much in the interim.

    The bureaucrats run CREA, Provincial Association and Local Boards and pretty much do as they please, suck up to the ever changing slate of, “Elected Directors” many that have little or no knowledge of what it is they are making a decision on, (like most politicians), are likeable types that never take a stand on anything and get along by going along, are elected over and over because their brokerages or affiliations are big enough to control the vote and quite frankly too many are only there for the perks of being a director.

    Our system of “Governance” is badly broken and needs a total overhaul and until that happens the Agent’s seemingly bottomless pockets will be picked to support an every growing increasingly expensive bureaucracy and their voices will continue to fall on deaf ears much the same as they currently are by elected politicians at all levels of Government in Canada.

    • A clarion voice of first-hand experience speaks.

      Thank you for this Don.

      Bureaucracies evolve the same way, everywhere, every time, to the detriment of the “people”, always.

      Bureaucrats, those who are ‘always there’, run the show…always.

      Wishfull thinking in the affirmative re revolving door elected officials’ power is a pipe dream in realty; in other words, it is a classic example of an oxymoron.

      Sorry, everyone else who disagrees with Don’s assessment of his actual experience (and mine as well), but the reality is simply this…humans look out for themselves first, then maybe others…if it does not endanger their own tenured positions of systemic safety. (The Commons Dilema, Psychology 101).

      We are all the same, depending upon which side of the fence we are on at any given point in time.

      There are few actual statesmen/stateswomen amongst us, but many politicians, and even more entrenched career bureacrats.

      Brian

  4. I appreciate the article, but I think that the issue is not that agents don’t care, it’s that they don’t know what to care about. All of our time is spent with finding and closing new clients and serving the existing ones. Who really has the time to deal with all of this.

    I am a fairly new agent, 5 years, and am just starting to try to understand this bewildering maze of what this industry actually is. I have to worry about my business, my office policies, my franchise policies, my local board policies, my provincial policies, and finally my national policies. There are so many layers of redundancy that it is making me dizzy.

    I sell real estate locally, am licensed locally, and my listings are hosted locally. The only national issues we are confronted with are Federal Legislation, CMHC, and the Competition Board. In my opinion, CREA should return to the mandate of lobbying on behalf of the industry on matters that are merely Federal related and leave the technology to the local boards and local offices.

    Winnipeg has an amazing local board which provides all the tools I need to do my job. We have a top notch MLS system which doesn’t seem to crash, a call center, tech support, a widely read paper, etc. I don’t care what happens in Ontario or Quebec or Saskatchewan for that matter. Let us do our jobs!

    I don’t even know who my local CREA rep is, don’t know where to find that information, so how am I even supposed to know what they are doing for us?

    To summarize, this industry is far to bloated by regulations and associations. Time to return to simpler times.

  5. I would like to point out, contrary to some opinions, that the active directors of both OREA and CREA are virtually all full time selling and/or managing REALTORS(R). As a past director of both associations, and a full time selling REALTOR(R) myself, I know first hand the thought processes that precede decisions, and rest assured that it is thorough and always geared to what is thought to be right for our members and our profession. The diversity of opinions and experience are vast, and ‘personal agendas’ are virtually impossible to implement. Certainly the BOD’s as individuals have opinions, and leaders with vision for a better future for our members, but this does not equate to self serving agendas.
    I agree that there has to be some different and better ways to engage our members. Not every decision that ORE makes will be accepted by every member, however the more informed and conversant the membership at large is with current issues the easier it will be for boards to make the best decisions.
    Rather than continue to bash organised real estate, and the volunteers that serve on the boards, why don’t we offer some concrete positive suggestions and ideas on how to better engage the membership? The MLS(R) system was formed on collaboration and cooperation, and has served our members and the public well.
    I have read some excellent suggestions and opinions on this page, let’s continue the dialogue and keep our great industry moving forward…

  6. Armchair critics… Got to love ’em. When was the last time you actually did anything to change something other than write a letter and/or complain to a few people? And to the wrong one’s at that! I’m not saying I agree with all the decisions our elected representatives make but at least they are actively involved in the process. The entire process not just one part or one item.

    Most of these people commit 2 years or more of their valuable time hoping to make a difference. And frankly, I think they do. With almost 40 years of actve involvement in our industry, I continue to see comments from the negative Nick’s of the world, that these elected people don’t know what their doing. Well, let me say their doing the best they can. Like our politicians, their ear is to the ground, trying to figure out what “the people” really want, so they can please them. The very people who really don’t know all sides of the issue (let alone all the issues that are being dealt with) and therefore are either easily swayed by popular opinion or become apathetic toward the issue.

    Can change be made? Certainly, as evidenced a few months ago in Edmonton. When the local board of directors approved an unpopular bylaw change, about 25% of the membership showed up at the next General Meeting to express their displeasure. The board heard the people, modifications were made and change occured.

    Why did so many people show up? Because someone started a movement! They didn’t write letters to The Editor or complain to their coffee buddies. Someone took the time to talk with several individual board members – took the time to write an email campaign directed to dozens of the general membership – took the time to drive to several offices to personally speak with the managers, brokers and members who would listen.

    Yes, change occured and the members (some members) are happy for now. However, in my opinion, the modifications were minor. The board had the major change correct and the uproar simply tweeked it.

    The problem many of us have with CREA’s proposals is that these changes will truly be life altering for our industry – for you and me. Things have changed. CREA hasn’t caused the change. They simply have recognized it, and now are trying to adapt. Trying to help us as members adapt.

    It’s not easy to find solutions that will please everyone; including myself. However, I am happy that individual, hard working Realtors, who to the contrary, do actively sell real estate, take the time from their business to work diligently on our behalf.

  7. You are bang on David, like they keep saying, if you don’t create the future you want, you will be stuck with the future you get !

  8. Agents are out trying to learn technology; embracing social media, staying ahead of RECO credits, adhereing to REBBA. Websites? Pfft, FORMS?… Please, PDF a Doc? Docusign? DropBox? Webforms? PDF Expert on an iPad… The lawyers are salivating….

    Are the Brokers Leading and distributing information? Not since the Competition Bureau talked about setting standard commissions and privacy. The local Board? Is tasked with provisioning the data, parsing out the actual listings. Ontario Board? They are dealing with Provincial Issues; Supporting an Education Model, issuing Credits. So here we are; less than [IMHO] 10% of the agents get it. the others Will keep going the way they always have and just coast to the sidelines as they age out.

    Our solution? We ignore the trouble in the United States with Listing syndicators like Trulia and Zillow among others, that have “taken” MLS data, added lipstick and graphs THEN resell the advertising space to the “local” PAYING realtor who wants those listings by postal code. [zip]

    The Americans are just now waking up to the lack of control that is created by their MLS; and we as CREA are running full steam to join them.

    If we have the best populated ( with our listings ) site; THEN everyone will come to our site! Parsing the content out over various sites does nothing to strengthen the REALTOR brand in Canada. but actually dilutes teh content by making it available and common.

    You need only to read the SERPS’s to see that aggregators and syndicators are already dominant in the results pages.

    As agents get VOW’s; If all the listings are free; (ala Montreal Que, ) Boards and Provinces will OPT out. Why do I need an association at all?

    I just need a real estate license. I’ll select my listings to show from MLS.ca

    David Pylyp
    Etobicoke Real Estate Agent

  9. Nice article with some heavy duty name dropping. However after 24 years riding this roller coaster called real estate have noticed that the people in charge of decisions on our behalf have hidden agendas and have not sold a home in a long time or never!!

  10. David
    Thanks for the very good letter which demonstrates a problem that almost all realtors seem to have. I do agree with that point but I then take from your letter that you might think that when there is lack of response the result should always be in the negative rather than the positive? I don’t agree with that at all. We have elected people to make the decisions so if there is no feed back or involvement from the membership they are free to debate amongst themselves and take the vote. I don’t agree with your opposition to the new co. I think the idea was that it not be the same ol, same ol but instead be all new techies, very small and agile to operate and respond quickly to tech changes needed in the operation of realtor.ca.

  11. David:

    Nicely stated. A less than 9% viewing of the You Tube pre-Winnipeg-vote information piece tells the whole story…unfortunately.

    At the root of proactive actions that ultimately lead to victory during all kinds of wars, regional or global in nature, are usually Generals who effectively transpose the effects of their individual powerful personalities onto their soldiers. Names like General Eisenhower, General Wolfe, General Washington, General Patton come to mind, not to forget a non-general, but a great leader nevertheless, being a General in achieved results by the name of Winston Churchill, come to mind. Then the name of a General comes to mind that reflects the reality of the attitude of an aimless bunch of people (with the exception of a few who see the ever-present writing on the wall, and who actually speak out in defense of their positions), and that name is…

    General Apathy.

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