A little background is required here...I grew up going to very traditional church services where we sang hymns and bowed our heads in prayer and wore our 'Sunday Best' to services. It was very Reverent, Conservative and Comfortable.
Skip ahead to my experience at Debra's Church (Champion Centre in Bellevue)...Kids....This ain't your Mom and Dad's Church experience!
From the moment I arrived I was keenly aware...THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!
Upon entering I notice everyone is pretty casual...I spy lots of jeans and sweaters and the church itself has a built in coffee house and book shop ~ very urban and contemporary and conducive to great visiting :) I take my place in the front row. No hiding for me ~ Deb has placed me front and center so I can cheer her on when she's singing on stage. Now when I say singing, we're talking Rock n Roll baby! The AMAZING band (lead and base guitar, keyboard and drums) got us good and revved up with an instrumental rendition of Michael Jackson's THRILLER (it was Halloween weekend)! It was truly awesome!
Then the singers (including Debra) joined the stage.
Arms waving up in the air...Not bowed in prayer. Loud rock style music...Not Reverent.
Everyone in the church standing (everyone except me that is)...I'll admit it.
I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.
Then eventually the music subsided (although there was gentle background music even during prayer) and Pastor Kevin's (apparently we go first name here) sermon (more like a keynote) was broadcast on the big screen.
Here's where it got really interesting. This guy can preach! Or rather NOT PREACH! This was a motivating, 'even-if-you-don't-believe' message that was truly awesome! (And from a Branding perspective - I LOVED it!)
Pastor Kevin spoke about A.B.S. = Audacious Believing and Speaking! In other words...be bold ~ See it BIG and Speak UP about it! What a great message for anyone!
So what' your point Teri?
Ok ~ here goes: I was on a Google+ hangout with Debra and Michael McClure (who's about to launch a total game changing business in RE ~Stay tuned!!) discussing our upcoming panel presentation at Inman Connect in New York in January (WHOOHOO!!!). All 3 of us share a passion for Raising The Bar in the Real Estate Industry and we'll be speaking to Optimizing the Consumer Experience. We often discuss how reluctant some people in our industry seem to be toward 'change'...and that's when I had an "Aha Moment". It suddenly dawned on me that there is a very strong parallel here!
Religion VS Real Estate
Stay with me here......
It seems to me that whenever CHANGE is in the air ~ we all tend to get a little uncomfortable.
I mean ~ I liked my Traditional, Conservative, Reverent Church experience. The hymns and the quiet bowing of heads is very familiar to me...almost comforting. It's the way its always been done. But is the new style really so bad? I'll bet Debra's Church attracts all kinds of new generation disenfranchised church goers who are feeling more and more of a disconnect with traditional religion and prefer a more contemporary, open and progressive one.
The same could be said for today's Real Estate Industry. I see a major shift happening. With today's new technology and social media and the savvy consumer having access to way more information, the industry has no choice but to loosen the grip and open up to change. The consumer is demanding it.
I see Brokerages bleeding, Realtors® abandoning their careers in frustration...I see disconnected Associations and Boards and a lot of scared people trying to hold on to what used to be.
I also see a lot of opportunity! I see new technologies allowing us to connect in a way we never could before! I see room for growth and new ideas and different ways of doing things.
Whenever there's change there's always some growing pains....but as my very dear friend Debra posted today on Twitter:
HELL YA! That's ABS for ya! Audaciously Believing and Speaking!
(BTW ~ Side note: Deb has since been nominated as one of this year's Inman News' People's Choice for Real Estate's MOST INFLUENTIAL so you should listen to her!! So proud of her!)
I know we all have a natural tendency to protect what we know, resist change and hold fast to what is comfortable, but I encourage all of us (yes even me) to be more like Deb and EMBRACE CHANGE!
I see amazing things ahead for our industry. Let's work together to improve the experience for the Consumer, Realtor®, Broker Owners and everyone else!