Trash Bin of Business History

Peter Guber, a seasoned executive, entrepreneur, professor and author spoke recently at a local event. His resume is lengthy being CEO of numerous companies, some international like Sony and owns professional basketball, baseball and major league soccer teams. He’s CEO of Mandalay Pictures that produces motion pictures for the global marketplace.

One of his many points that resonated was if you don’t take risks you (and your firm) will be in the trash bin of business history. He spoke often of his many failures as a steppingstone to success momentum. His book title exemplifies some key elements of success, Tell to Win-Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story. He emphasized the power of telling your story, connecting with your clients (which he called his audience) and being constantly curious. Asking lots of questions and listening. It’s really easy to skip over that second part, listening.

He’s evangelical in the energy he brings to his businesses, creating a positive culture, but also demanding a call to action with his staff. He stresses the importance of the narrative, the appropriate attitude to propel your company forward. He suggests ignoring fear, defined as the acronym false evidence appearing real to increase your odds of success. Mr. Guber points out that everyone falls down and fails, but that’s the price of success. He recommends transporting your clients and employees in the narrative, expecting engagement and creating meaning by telling your story and making a connection with your clients.

I think the “story” of our commercial appraisal industry is not being told, especially to up-and-coming professionals. The appraisal narrative is often hijacked by comparisons to how it used to be. As I watch my trainee gain valuation skills, it seems to me that what he likes are the same aspects of appraising that attracted us veterans to the industry including:

  1. The ability to increase your income based on your productivity.
  2. Enjoying the analysis with the convergence of data and opinion.
  3. Scheduling flexibility in pursuit of live/work balance.
  4. Gaining market knowledge, providing skills for future brokerage or development.
  5. Leveraging technology to efficiently obtain a rewarding career as a commercial appraiser.

I don’t believe that the commercial appraisal industry is headed for the trash bin of business history. However, I do sense a lack of leadership, cohesiveness and story. Our narrative is formless with very little evidence of encouraging new blood. I understand the reluctance to hire a trainee, but with appraisal productivity software, voice recognition, multiple monitors and other tools, you can create appraiser superstars. What will be your narrative, your call to action? Don’t throw away your lifetime of effort, knowledge and passion for your valuation industry. Failure is an option. Avoid the trash bin of business history.