My Takeaway From AEI: Positivity

By 2018 AE Committee Chair Rebecca Grossman, RCE, GREEN, CEO, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®, Ariz.

When I returned from the 2018 Association Executives Institute, I immediately tried to reflect on what my big takeaway was and how I could put something I learned into practice right away. Like many of you, I was on an AEI high for quite some time. I͛m still full of ideas and renewed enthusiasm, and I want to take advantage of that before the day-to-day association challenges steal my thunder.

What resonated with me the most at AEI was Jon Gordon's "power of positive leadership" message. I found ample opportunity to reflect on his message my first week back. We had a board of directors meeting and I was so pleased with the positive energy that the group exhibited. I feel very fortunate that my leaders over the past several years have been very encouraging and have made good things happen because they believed in the vision and direction of the organization and they projected a positive image and can-do attitude.

Unfortunately, I have not always had positive leadership. There have been years when the leadership's negativity was truly detrimental to the organization. Negativity paralyzed the board and kept it from making the tough decisions. These leaders were unable to overcome the pessimism painted by the association energy vampires that Jon described in his CEO workshop. We all know these people and we sometimes let these few individuals pull us into that destructive vortex. I think Jon Gordon's words that your positivity must be greater than all the negativity is sound advice, and should I meet up with those energy vampires again, I will be ready!

Another idea from AEI that I plan on implementing with my association came from Tricia Thomas' session on building culture. She stressed the importance of having a strong, sustainable culture, but what I found most compelling was her emphasis on defining this culture and communicating it to our members and our community. I can't wait to have a session with my staff to start the work on our culture commitment. The questions Tricia urged AEs to consider are: What are the behaviors and the beliefs that we value most for our staff and our members? What is that environment that we try to create when our members come to visit us? What are the behaviors that we expect from our leaders? What makes us different and how do we communicate that difference? What is there in our culture that is hurting us and how can we turn it around?

Those moments that stood out for me at the Institute relate well to this issue of REALTOR® AE. To build positive leadership and a strong culture, you must be able to communicate with your members on a personal level, and we are all looking for ways to do that through technology. How can we interact with meaning and intent to members with the right message at the right time?

I can't wait to learn from my fellow AEs who will share their ideas in this issue. After all, as you may have heard me mention recently, we are all about sharing.

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