Embracing Change Spurs Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver to Chart Successful Future Course

The REBGV has been on quite the journey over the past 9 years, navigating threats and challenges on many different levels. It is their willingness to embrace change and think outside the box that is steering them towards the co-creation of their desired future. And that future is looking bright.

“We want REALTORS® to be a highly valued profession. We want the public to see REALTORS® as life-long trusted advisors.” Brad Scott

REBGV change journey

Photo: Elise Weatherby via Google

Challenges for the REBGV

Board members have contended with internal as well as external challenges over the past decade. In 2014, as part of the Journey of Discovery – an intensive research project to understand REALTOR® perceptions and consumer needs – the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) described the real estate profession in BC as being “at a crossroads”. The research highlighted changing consumer expectations, new technologies and REALTOR® reputation as some of the potential threats to organized real estate (ORE). The REBGV has seen additional challenges with its own governance structure and its frequently rotating board.

A member-based association of more than 14,000 ® within the greater Vancouver area, the REBGV has non-paying director positions on its board usually lasting 2 years, with one of those years as President. As Jill Oudil points out, training new directors and bringing them up to speed is a difficult but essential part of successfully working with such a changing structure. Jake Moldowan also notes how important a recently formed and very pro-active board development committee is to source potential future directors, as ® “come from all kinds of different backgrounds – nurses, doctors, engineers, lawyers, notaries, teachers – [and] have invaluable information that a board could use.”

Creating a Growth Mindset through Strategic Facilitation

“Are we treading water or are we ready to make a quantum leap?” Phil Moore

Off-site strategic planning sessions facilitated by Charles Holmes have been key to not only helping with a frequently changing board structure but also to moving towards a risk and action-oriented way of operating that gets everyone outside the box and stimulates growth.

REBGV president

2018-2019 President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Phil Moore

One of the major ways in which these sessions achieve this is through identifying current risks. Oudil comments that, “the sessions have helped specifically open our minds to be really cognizant of all the risks in the changing world and times we live in right now.” Moore agrees, suggesting that by “identifying the threats, the risk, to staying relevant [the sessions] created an ability to course correct.” This course correction has led to exciting opportunities for real change and creating their desired future.

The Role of Facilitation in a Change Journey

What is it in particular about the style of these strategic planning sessions and Charles’ facilitation that set the conditions for the REBGV to embrace change? Brad Scott believes one key factor is that they have been working with Charles over a long period of time: “he’s had a continuous role with us and that saves a lot of education and onboarding of other people.”

Another factor is a profound understanding by all parties of the importance of design. As Holmes comments, “the REBGV really gets the importance of design, and I love that about them!” The sessions are always co-created with a team of 7-8 people, which directly contributes to their success, according to Scott.

vancouver housing market

The Vancouver housing market continues to make headline news. Photo: Richard King via Google

Everyone we spoke to for this article also noted how Charles’ particular style and personality go a long way to creating fully interactive, positive sessions. His ability to truly listen and give everyone a voice, his use of bonding and team-building exercises, his intuitive understanding of the Board’s goals and outcomes, his ability to reframe comments to illustrate their fullest meaning and intent, and his awareness of when to step back and when to push forward are all given as examples of how Charles creates an environment cued for success.

“Charles is one of the strongest facilitators that I have experienced. For me because he was not afraid to push back and that in turn reminded us to push back.” Scott Russell.

The Power of Embracing New Technologies

Another technique that Charles has regularly employed as part of the change journey with the REBGV is bringing speakers and participants into the space via video conferencing. This technology has greatly evolved over the past decade or so and can now be relied on by facilitators as a way of inviting people into a session at minimal cost to the organization they’re working with (saving travel & accommodation costs, etc.). It is a tool that is seen in a very positive light by the REBGV.

The Ripple Effect

The sessions facilitated by Charles for the REBGV were part of a much larger picture within ORE and are having a ripple effect. The REBGV has always been seen as an industry leader according to Moldowan, and both the Provincial and National real estate associations contracted Charles’ services after his work with the REBGV to help them navigate change and reach their own goals. A recent yes vote at CREA to change the 3-way agreement is “the most historic and most impactful change in the past 20 years of real estate” according to Moldowan. Local boards can now be part of the National association without belonging to the Provincial. According to both Oudil and Moldowan this change is excellent news as it will lead to more accountability and efficiency. Over the past decade and through all the changes at the different levels, “Charles was a master at putting the road map together” says Moldowan.

And with that roadmap firmly in place the future for the REBGV and ORE is looking very bright indeed. By embracing innovation and new technologies, and truly understanding the need for change and a growth mindset, they have positioned themselves to not only stay relevant for their customers but to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of real estate.

Read a PDF version of Embracing Change Spurs REBGV to Chart Successful Future Course

Writer: Kim Bridgett, with the voices of Brad Scott, CEO of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Phil Moore, 2018-2019 President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Jill Oudil, 2017-2018 President REBGV, Jake Moldowan, 2010-2011 President REBGV, Scott Russell, 2009-2010 President REBGV.