What if We Do Nothing?

The Unintended Consequences of Only Some Doing Good

Building our Association together

As Realtors® we belong to three Associations, The National Association of Realtors®, The Oregon Association of Realtors®, and the Yamhill County Association of Realtors®. Each association allows us to work together for a greater good than we could hope to accomplish on our own. Each Association also creates value for each of us in our work and for our communities. There is very little we have to do at the local level, but then there will be very little value and very little good being done.  For more on this, see Building Value in Our Association.

Building a ‘good-ol’-boys’ network and developing cronyism

It is easy; all you have to do is nothing. Here is how the dynamics play out…

There will always be some people who can see the vision of what can be. Some have tasted the fruit of cooperative efforts. Some have contributed to building something valuable and they like what was accomplished. These people tend to be generous people and want others to experience what they have experienced.

So what do they do? They get involved. Because such an effort is bigger than any individual, they spread the word, cast the vision, and recruit others to work with them. Who do they recruit? The people they work with, their friends, the people who think like they do; of course! This is great! Or is it?

It is certainly generous and sincere and appreciated. But the result is that the association takes on the character of the people who get involved. Like-minded people become friends so like-minded people dominate the organization. The strengths and weaknesses of these people become characteristic of the organization. We should not be surprised! However, this is an unintended consequence of some people sincerely doing good.

Disclaimer: The next paragraph is a generic and theoretical. It is not an analysis of our Association or a critique of issues we have. Any similarities to reality are scary but unintentional!

Why might one or two offices have most of the ‘movers and shakers’ of an Association? Why might a Board of Directors all think alike and so things never change? Why might a clique of friends dominate certain committees? Why might one geographical area seem to dominate an association? Why do things not develop further, evolve, and improve? Why are some people never happy with the results of a vote? Why might it seem like an ‘old guard’ rules for life? Why is there not ‘new blood’? Why might things seem hopelessly deadlocked?

It is because most of us do nothing! It is not for evil or psychopathic intentions of others. The vacuum left by most of us forces the generous few to influence the most. Instead of a wealth that comes from fresh thinking, new methods, greater talents, and more individual efforts, we are impoverished rather than wealthy.

How to destroy unity and foster critical people

People are busy and sometimes do not care about being involved. They may see little value for themselves that would be worth the effort. Ironically, often these people become the most critical of any efforts and pollute the water for anyone who might consider wading into the water with their time and talents. Who wants to join a loser organization and beat one’s head against the wall trying to move the immovable?

When people feel they are not well-represented they often express their contempt with negativity. When people do not like the outcome of an election, or for an issue voted on, they criticize the process or the structure. When improvement is not possible, then disparagement becomes the rationalization for continuing to do nothing. Unfortunately, the negativity does nothing positive and only perpetuates the problems.

Voting is simple illustration. We are 200 strong, but if only 30 vote, then a very few determine what the whole association will do or who will be in leadership. Worse, if only 20 determine the agenda, and if there is no discussion and debate about issues and ideas, then the voters are ill-informed and vote without having thought through the issues well. The result can often be discontent and withdrawal from any involvement, which just compounds the problems of an association. Then when they become critical, others, who might get involved, give up, and again the weakness replicates itself.  The Association is in a downward spiral.

It takes incredible tolerance and patience to work together with a diverse group of people. Our strength and value is intrinsically in our individual uniqueness’s. An association is a composite and if all are welcome, and if all contribute a little, then there is something to brag about, not put down.

Think about it. You are the antidote to most of what ails an association. Sometimes we think about our Association in terms of offices and brands, but YCAR exists for our individual members. Each person who pays dues through YCAR has equal standing and opportunity.  You are the key to making a difference. And we promise that when you get involved you will likely be frustrated and sometimes critical, but like an athlete on the field, you will also be part of the solution rather than someone in the grandstands just ‘booing’ the players.

Call or email us about what you can contribute.

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