My last post on Bob Goldberg being selected as the next CEO of NAR has sparked quite a response. Most of the private messages — even from those in top leadership positions at local, state and national levels — are of the “Boy, you hit that one out of the park!” variety. Most of the public messages take yours truly to task for daring to question His Holiness. It’s all good — I’m used to all sorts of responses from people on whatever topic du jour.
There is one kind of reaction, however, that is just… as puzzling as it is annoying. The number of people who are coming out of the woodwork with their unquestioning support for Bob Goldberg is simply astonishing.
We’re not talking about reserved support of the kind I gave him. We’re not even talking about enthusiastic support, like, “Boy, there were great people in the mix, like Alex Perriello, but Bob will be just great!” We’re talking about a level of fandom that raises real questions on the whole process that just finished, and questions on where the hell these people were for the past couple of years.
Let me explain.
How to Bandwagon
Those of us who are sports fans are familiar with the fair weather fan. Those of you who are fans in Oakland might be extra familiar with the creature. When Golden State Warriors were bottom dwellers, the diehard fans kept buying tickets, kept buying jerseys, and kept cheering their team on — often with frustration, through gritted teeth, but staying loyal.
Then Steph Curry turns out to be a transcendent player. Team starts winning. And all of a sudden, the entire city is like “We’re #1!”
Thing is, real fans expect the fair weather fans. People like winners; we all get it. But there’s a right way to bandwagon and a wrong way to bandwagon.
The right way to bandwagon is to admit that you weren’t always a fan since the days of yore, even when the team sucked ass. It is to admit that you have newly become a fan, you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, because the team has “shown you something special.”
The wrong way is to suddenly discover that why, yes, you’ve been a fan since the days of Chris Mullin. You just didn’t come to any games or watch them on TV because, you know, Game of Thrones was on and you had to do your hair and….
In other words, you don’t go about bandwagoning the way that The Real Daily has.
Recently, The Real Daily published an Op/Ed by its co-owner and Chief Operating Officer, Lani Rosales, with the title “Why Bob Goldberg is the Best CEO for NAR’s Future.”
In it, Lani compares Goldberg to the veteran mechanic with “oil under his fingernails” with every certification under the sun for that brand of automobiles, rather than some forum expert who knows everything but has fixed no cars.
Then she writes:
Naming a new CEO to a local association with 5,000 members will never be without detractors, and these private conversations about a national CEO are much the same. The truth is that Goldberg is an overwhelmingly popular pick for CEO, and if you’ve ever so much has had a phone chat with him before, you’d know he’s wildly intelligent, and intimately knows every part of the organization (and therefore the context of how decisions impact each moving part).
Further (and I believe most importantly), he is a sincerely kind and humble person.
Goldberg is a trusted, steady, brilliant leader who will have no learning curve. None. It remains unseen what changes Goldberg will make during his tenure as the CEO, but he’s no forum fanatic, he’s a veteran that knows every facet of the organization.
I single out TRD because it is an actual publication, not just an individual. But I have seen individuals all over social media echoing similar sentiments — congratulating Bob not just for being chosen, but also at the same breath saying, “He is absolutely the best qualified, period, and I’m so happy NAR chose him” or some variation on that theme.
This is… puzzling, to say the least.
Because The Real Daily, as well as every single person who is now on the Bob Is Great Bandwagon, was utterly and completely silent when it mattered.
That Op/Ed might have been something if it had been written in March, when the Job Description was posted. It would have been great if it had been written in December, when The Real Daily itself covered the CEO Search.
Did Benn and Lani Rosales not know Bob Golberg in December of last year? What about in March of this year?
If they did, and they knew him to be The Best CEO for NAR’s Future, where’s the Op/Ed back then when the outcome was in doubt telling the rest of us why it should be Bob?
Presumably, they knew that Bob was trusted, steady, and brilliant back then. Why the silence?
Lani writes about “secret Facebook groups” and “circles” formed to apply social media pressure to insist on a female CEO. I was involved in that circle; it wasn’t secret, and Lani was a member in it. Search as I might, I see zero instances of Lani — who presumably knew that Bob was the Best Choice for CEO — endorsing Bob Goldberg. Not once. Curious, that.
(By the way, Lani, the reason why there was no pressure “to name a minority as CEO, a differently-abled person as CEO, an LGBTQIA person as CEO, and so forth” is because none of those make up 63% of REALTOR members. Women do.)
Why The Search At All?
In fact, what is so annoying about this post-victory asskissing is that if they’re right, then the entire search process was a complete waste of time and money. And not one of these strong supporters of Bob Goldberg said a damn thing.
In my first post, I raised the issue of the process and wondered why Dale and the NAR Leadership didn’t just create a succession plan and name Bob as the successor years ago:
Because if Dale Stinton wanted Bob Goldberg to get the job — as has been widely rumored for over two years now — and the Leadership Team wanted him to be the next CEO, then they should have just named him the successor two years ago and saved everybody a lot of time and money. Heidrick & Struggles, the corporate headhunter NAR hired for this, isn’t cheap. The time and energy of 15 volunteer leaders who spent months on this don’t come for free. The 80 people who applied for the position could have used their time and energy doing something more productive than being players in an elaborate puppet show.
Think about it. We knew in 2015 that Dale was unlikely to renew his contract as CEO. I wrote a prediction for 2016 being the year when NAR names a female CEO — because I knew that Dale was retiring. In that predictions post, I wrote that the smart money is all betting that Bob Goldberg, NAR senior vice president, is the next-in-line. I don’t have some special access; I’m not Dale’s sounding board. I just picked up on what everybody in the industry was talking about.
Where was the Op/Ed in 2015 suggesting that NAR name Bob Goldberg the successor if he’s in fact the Best CEO for NAR’s Future?
Where were these legions of people, many of whom have worked with Bob Goldberg over the years, who are now saying that he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, when the Leadership Team announced a nationwide CEO Search?
There should have been Op/Ed pieces all over the place suggesting that the entire search process, involving a very expensive headhunter, is a waste of time and money. Why bother when the best candidate is sitting right there for all to see!
And if you think about it, the CEO Search itself is an insult to Bob Goldberg, isn’t it?
He’s been there the entire time. He’s been brilliant, and innovative, and kind, and delivered results year after year, and every single person on the Leadership Team for the past 22 years knows him. And instead of doing the obvious thing, they decide to go look for someone who might be more qualified? How are you not hurt and pissed off if you’re Bob?
Imagine your significant other saying to you, “Baby, I know we’ve been together for 22 years, but I’m gonna need to go on 80 Tinder dates before I put a ring on it, okay?” Feel loved, do you?
And not one of your friends says to him or her, “You’re outta your mind! There’s nobody better for you!” How does that feel?
My friend and cohost of the Industry Relations podcast, Greg Robertson, has been vocal about his support for Bob Goldberg. He is a big reason why I’m cautiously optimistic and hopefully supportive of Bob’s reign as CEO. But, Greg has been publicly supportive before the outcome was known. I respect that.
But everybody crawling out of the woodworks after the decision is made? Y’all are some late-coming bandwagon jumpers.
Silence = Consent
I was on the record of preferring a female CEO for NAR, because 63% of its members are women, and NAR has never had a female CEO.
When the search process began, I figured it was because the Leadership wasn’t convinced that the obvious choice — Bob Goldberg — was the man to lead the organization. I figured they would find the best person for the job. Turns out, they found that the obvious choice was actually the obvious choice.
I am now on the record as supporting Bob Goldberg, despite the fact that he wasn’t my first choice, and wasn’t my second choice. But he is NAR’s choice. And he may be the greatest guy on the planet, and the absolute best choice for NAR CEO. If he is, he will prove it to me through action. If he needs my help, I will provide it if it furthers the cause of the Realtor Movement. If he doesn’t, well, I didn’t need NAR’s blessing to do what I think is best for the industry.
But I never kept my mouth shut and said nothing at all.
Those of you who thought he was the best choice, and remained silent throughout this entire process… y’all have some ‘splaining to do. You can ham it up all you want now, but some of us will remember the deafening silence when it mattered.