Greetings, Texas REALTORS®…

On March 6, your Strategic Planning Committee, senior leadership team, and key staff wrapped up months of preliminary research and two days of intense on-site planning for the future of our profession, the association, its members, and the consumers they serve. As we headed home from Austin, we knew COVID-19 was coming, but none of us could have imagined what would ultimately unfold. Completion of the plan almost immediately gave way to urgent needs for relocating staff in compliance with shelter-in-place orders, communications with elected officials affirming the essential status of real estate services, creation of forms and business resources to aid in the safe delivery of those services, and formulating alternative ways to communicate and conduct the business of our association. Just this week, we were able to take a breath and revisit the preliminary strategic plan, assuming much of it might need to be scrapped.

That’s when it hit me. The Oxford Dictionary defines normal as average or typical. Does anybody remember a time when our profession was normal, average, or typical? There is no “new normal,” because there was never a normal. Normal doesn’t describe our clients, transactions, markets, or members—and it never has.

A century ago this year, we were founded fresh out of a deadly flu pandemic, and since then we’ve been periodically disrupted by depressions, recessions, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, fires, and the “dreaded” technology. Disruption is the only thing that is normal for us. We are experts at pivoting, planning, redirecting, negotiating, compromising, and creating opportunity in the face of challenges. Will that strategic plan draft we created just a few short weeks ago need to be revised? Perhaps, but only slightly. The strategic plans created by visionary past leaders prepared us well for today, and even tomorrow, because they presumed disruption itself as normal. Ours must position us politically, professionally, and fiscally for the inevitable disruptions beyond tomorrow, and we knew that when it was conceived. Well done, team!