Achilles Slays Hector, Peter Paul Rubens, 1630-1635
So Gahlord Dewald, seriously one of the big brains in the real estate industry, puts up a thought-provoking post on strategy. It’s worth reading in full. But I got obsessed with his definition of strategy, especially since I just wrote a post on strategy. Funny how things seem to come in bunches. Anyhow, Gahlord on Strategy:
The art and science of maintaining and deploying resources in order to have the freedom and flexibility to continue operations.
There are a few things to unpack in this definition of strategy and since I’ve come this far I may as well unpack them.
- Strategy is an art because it involves personal choices.
- Strategy is a science because there are often visible and repeatable results.
- Maintaining resources is about conservation and growing.
- Deploying resources is about spending and taking action.
- Freedom is your ability to execute your plans at will.
- Flexibility is your ability to respond, react and pivot when required.
- Winning means to continue operations.
So that’s the root theory of strategy that I follow, as much as a bullet list will allow anyway. For the purpose of our “Large Business vs Small Business and the use of Social” conversation, the most important part is what I see as “winning.” It’s merely the ability to continue to operate.
It’s a really nice formulation. I posted a response on his blog in which I reveal that my definition of winning involves not just continuing operations, but getting the other guy to cease operations. It’s a far more martial, more violent, less peaceful view of the term, I guess.
So how might the above be modified if you believe, as I do, that strategy cannot be divorced from conflict. In business, we call that conflict “competition”.
Dick Lebeau, Steelers Defensive Coordinator
I spoke recently with a friend of mine about the nature of strategy. Actually, it was about football, but somehow led into strategy, and I thought it was interesting enough to share.
Most people use the word “strategy” incorrectly. They think any sort of plan means “strategy”. As in, “What’s our strategy for increasing leads from the website?” Or, “What is your strategy for getting better reporting from the accounting system?”
I think of strategy as something far more fundamental: it’s the general philosophy of how you win. It turns out, there are only two kinds of strategies: doing the unexpected, and better execution. Everything else is detail.
And y’know, I think at least in real estate industry, most people have very little idea of how they plan to win.
Following up on my post on NAR 800K, I found this article on Inman News about a survey it conducted of its readers (subscription required). Apparently, most of the respondents agree with yours truly in thinking that at least another 20% of agents need to exit the industry before we can have recovery. But here’s the interesting point — the Inman readers think that part-time agents are the most threatened:
Part-time agents were viewed as the most likely to leave the field, with 46.8 percent of those surveyed identifying them as the most threatened by the market shakeout. That compares with 33.5 percent who said full-time agents were most threatened, and 32.4 percent who identified brokers.
Let’s assume that I’m correct about NAR 800K. Well, that might be a very good thing indeed. However, whether losing 20% is a good or a bad thing depends in part on who it is that will be leaving and who will be staying behind.
I differ with the Inman readers, because I don’t believe that the 20% drop will come from part-timers. I think they will come from the ranks of full-time agents, particularly those in the critical first and second quintiles. Allow me to explain.
Just in case you’re only reading Notorious through email, and haven’t updated your subscriptions after I’ve changed some of the editorial approach… I’ve been writing quite a bit on real estate related issues over at the 7DS blog, and AOL Real Estate. You might want to check at least a couple of those out.
And over at AOL:
Just figured you might want to know. Because y’know, it’d be a sin to miss any of my brilliant thoughts. Or even the plainly dumb ones.
A while back, over on Notorious, I speculated that the number of real estate agents would drop further. Since the best measure of the number of real estate agents is the membership of NAR, I thought we’re headed to about 800,000 members of NAR from the around 1.2 million number we’ve heard recently.
As of January of 2011, NAR had 1,039,988 members, which represents a drop of 4.96% from January of 2010.
Well, I’ve been doing some research and number crunching for a presentation I have coming up, and wanted to share this little tidbit with you all.