By Dennis MacDonald, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Tampa REALTORS®
2020 was both an unprecedented and incredibly effective year for the Greater Tampa REALTORS® (GTR) membership, leadership and staff. From the very onset of the new year, one could almost feel it in the air. After five years of constant stimulation, venture capital investment, the introduction of new brokerage business models, a fast-changing competitive environment and the growing discontent of the new real estate consumer, it was clear that something had to happen, and this was the year.
It was in this environment, a mere five weeks later, that the global pandemic exploded. Over the following six months it became abundantly clear that nothing within the industry, the Tampa Bay real estate marketplace or GTR, would ever be the same again.
GTR mobilized at combat speed and, all things considered, with grace and commitment to respond to the circumstances and challenges of the day. The leadership and staff immediately turned to the task of evaluating circumstances and taking swift action. Working and collaborating to identify an appropriate outside expert and begin the task of creating a strategic business plan that would provide both a path and a destination through the pandemic upheaval. By July, the plan was in place and by September implementation was progressing. Operational change, cultural transformation and member support during the times ahead became the passion and the theme of GTR’s commitment.
GTR’s business plan is like none other in the country. It speaks to what is happening, it exposed the ugly truths, and laid out a clear path using strategic intents and tactics to ensure GTR and its 13,000+ members would emerge from the pandemic victorious.
While the plan is driven by several priorities none is stronger than its commitment to member support and involvement. GTR, like many of its association contemporaries, had always prided itself as being member driven. However, upon closer examination it began to appear that this objective was always a bit illusive and member support came in second to internal politics.
The GTR leadership and staff were obsessive about this subject and maintained a constant pressure with respect to member participation throughout the 2020 research and planning phase. Interestingly enough, research disclosed that a significant force behind GTR’s struggle to reach its previous goals of universal member participation was the traditional committee structure. For numerous reasons, such as favoritism, inadequate meeting management, failure to respect the member’s time, too many or too few members, lack of meaningful productivity and just plain “old politics,” the classic committee format was no longer attracting long-time or new REALTOR® members. In fact, during the research leading up to the plan it was discovered that the number one reason for members failing to participate with the association almost always started with, “I was on a committee once.”
I am proud and pleased to share with you the good news that in the “reimagined” GTR, the classic committee of the past has disappeared in favor of an exciting new member participation format called the task force. There are now six committees and over 25 task forces.
GTR members participating in task force groups will find themselves working on exciting and stimulating projects that will make a difference. The meetings will be managed and facilitated by individuals who are experts in their field, and the timeframe respects the busy schedules and lifestyles of working REALTORS®. In most cases a task force assignment can be completed in a 75 minute or less meeting. The number of times a task force will meet will vary depending on the nature of the task, but the time commitment necessary will always be clearly expressed upfront. Members can work on more than one task force during any year.
Over the next few months, we will be initiating a multitude of task forces (maximum of nine members to ensure effective collaboration) to work on several projects that are highly relevant to the contemporary industry. We promise you a stimulating, motivating and contributory member experience. Please give this new process your sincerest consideration. Visit tamparealtors.org/taskforce to apply for a task force. We have reimagined an association around your interests, your careers and your businesses. We have reimagined an association that you will be proud to serve. And we have reimagined a member experience that will promote your knowledge, your professional skills and your imagination. Some of the most interesting people in our marketplace are being brought together to define the future of our industry.
Please join us to find a spot in your reimagined GTR.