From Better To Best.

By Kelly Burge 
CEO, Northwest Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS®

Kelly Burge PhotoI’m just back from five days of learning and networking at the Association Executive Institute (AEI) in Charlotte. It was cold outside, but the sessions were good and informative as always. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from keynote speakers Jon Gordon and Dr. Rick Rigsby, leadership experts who challenged attendees to make an impact, and to pursue excellence in everything we do, every single day.

With baseball season back in full swing, I was particularly fond of a quote Dr. Rigsby shared from former St. Louis Cardinal and 2002 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Ozzie Smith. An undisputed sports great, Smith once explained his philosophy from 19 years of playing professionally, saying:

“Absolutely nothing is good enough if it can be better, and better is never good enough if it can be made best.”

That got me pondering: what are we as a professional association striving for every day? Are we content with just being better? Or are we leaning in with all our might toward being best?

In many respects, I believe best is what we continue to strive for here in NWIA. Three years post-merger we’ve come a long way toward becoming a united association. Just look at our Board of Directors, who represent all the quadrants of our vast 13 county area. Look at the move that is taking place to one consolidated NWIA MLS, which later this spring will serve our entire membership with a leading technology provider, at a reasonable cost, and with a higher level of professionalism than ever before.

Best. On some fronts, yes, we’re absolutely moving there.

In some ways, we’re content with better. Our board’s political advocacy efforts are not as strong as they could be, should be, or frankly need to be to continue to meet our Core Standards requirements. Our member involvement and engagement levels are lukewarm. Case in point: a little less than half of our membership will even bother to open our April e-newsletter, though it is our most comprehensive communication piece every month. We cancel about as many continuing education classes as we actually hold each year, due to lack of member registrations.

Better, yes. But not best. Yet.

Is there more to do? Of course. It was clear from the conversations at AEI that the real estate industry is in a rapid state of change, both technologically and in the way professional services are delivered. Consolidations of boards and MLS’s around the country continue to occur at a rapid pace. MLS of Choice, coming July 1 is going to revolutionize the way business is conducted in this industry.

I’m curious as to how you see us moving from better to best in the coming months. How can you personally get engaged to help further the cause of improvement across our association? Can you email a legislator about an issue at the statehouse? Will you attend Summer Meetings in Okoboji in June? Will you be at the next IAR Legislative Bus In Day event in 2019? Can you attend a local education class to support our board? Are you willing to step up to become a champion for legislative issues, or lead a community event to help us meet our Core Standards?

Making the move from better to best isn’t just my responsibility, or that of your Board of Directors. Every one of our 500 members plays a role. I believe together, if we want it badly enough, we can get to the best version of our association.

Drop me a line at [email protected] with your ideas to get us from better all the way to NWIA’s best. I’d love to continue the conversation, because I recognize that there always will be room to move forward.

The hope that I can make an impact, and improve myself and enhance our association is what provides the drive that makes me want to get out of bed every morning.

Okay, that. And the smell of good strong coffee.

I’m proud to be together on this better-to-best journey with all of you.