Well, flip a coin. I’m not trying to be flippant. I’m trying to paint a picture with minimal brush strokes.
On one side of the coin, the “must do” side, which is commonly on display and regularly played, our professionalism is clearly defined and well served by our association code of ethics and that of our regulatory body.
On the other side of the coin, the “aspire to” side, which houses recurring themes, our professionalism is poorly defined or, at least, there is no cohesive consolidation of competencies that comprise a set of standards of professional excellence.
While we are all very clear on what behaviour marks professionalism on one side of the coin, we are in disarray as to what practices make up the professional on the other side of the coin.
We need guidance and feedback. Perhaps, a national discussion is in order.
Are we able to identify the appropriate set of standards (not requirements) of professional excellence that REALTORS® should “aspire to,” and practise in their daily business? Are we able to provide illustrative examples of each standard? Are we up to agreeing on pinpointing the key benchmarks and clearing up the lack of clarity and confusion?
Yes, lack of clarity and lack of agreement. We all talk about “engagement” but what does this mean? Is it active participation in the profession? Is it being an advocate for the profession?
We bandy about other terms such as “communication” and “cooperation.” What do these words mean in the context of professionalism? Do they mean that REALTORS® should always consult with knowledgeable peers and colleagues? Do they mean that REALTORS® must collaborate and give altruistic service to their community?
We also hear expressions that REALTORS® need to possess “knowledge” and “conduct their behaviour” in an exemplary manner. What does this mean? Are we talking about providing clients with the capacity to make informed decisions? Or, am I simply imposing my own perceptions of how to enrich the REALTOR® and client relationship?
We need to focus our discussion on this flip side of the coin and come up with definitive classifications.
If we can do all of this, I submit that it would strengthen business practices within our profession, engender public trust, and enhance our profession’s reputation with the public.