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The Counselor - July, 2000

It's not your only group

Last week I went to a fly-in conference of another organization. Its focus was on corporate real estate issues facing financial institutions. The material was deep and loaded with detail. The speakers were the top in their fields, and the ratings were uniformly high. Any organization would be delighted to pull something like this off.

Yet few Counselor programs reach everyone equally. Some will say a program is too advanced, while others argue that the same program is too basic. A program can get rave reviews from one practitioner, and be irrelevant to another. We have reason to be envious of these other organizations. Their missions are clear, their meetings are focused, and the audience is uniformly a good match to the subject matter. The job of the Counselors would be a lot easier if we were like that.

But we're not. And that's good news. To describe this other group takes one sentence, or even one phrase. Can any of us describe the Counselors in less than two paragraphs? (The first is usually about quality, and the second covers diversity.) The level, and the variety, of accomplishment in the Counselors make it impossible to please everyone. So it takes courage and patience to try to please this entire group.

We all belong to other groups. NACORE, or the Appraisal Institute, or IDRC or AICPA or countless others offer technical knowledge and industry insight. We come to the Counselors to put it all together. To turn knowledge into wisdom.

The best parts of CRE meetings often occur in the registration area, between meetings, or at lunch. We're constantly expanding our contacts, if we can. Contrast this to other meetings, where colleagues fill entire tables and miss the opportunity to make new connections and renew old ones. How many companies can fill an entire table with Counselors?

Our strategic plan calls for changes in the group, in the recruitment process, and in the long-term goals of the organization. This is probably wise, as our jobs and tools have all changed. But we must take care not to turn the group into one of those organizations with targeted, focused meetings, and tons of up-to-date technical content. At those meetings, the members don't talk much.

Copyright 2000 - Noah Shlaes