I’ve never seen a list of the:

Bravest Firefighters in America
Most Pious Rabbis in the Rabinet
Power Priests 200
Game-Changing Nurses
Most Influential Professors
Most Trendsetting Homeless Shelter Managers
Most Empathic Social Workers
Hardest-Working Hospice Managers.

You know why?

It would be absurd.

There’s no algorithm in the world that could extract these attributes and measure them with any honesty. And if there were, why bother? Listing people who provide services offers no benefit to anyone and, arguably, demeans their value.

So, what’s the point?

Unlike the entertainment industry, none of us here are actors or entertainers. We don’t live for attention.

Lists of sales volume, market share, size… I can see where these have value. Measuring such things can help brokers recruit, win more listings, or make and support brand claims. But measuring people as game-changers, trendsetters or Power Rangers… what do these things even mean?

Real estate isn’t a game. And trends typically are set by consumers, even when they manifest as changes to our industry’s structure.

Here, inside our space, the only power we could claim is how connected we are to each other in our attempts to make this industry better. Self-appointed arbiters of status are reducing this reality to a charade of ego-gratification and social media post-baiting.    

I guess one could say these lists are useful to outsiders looking to assess the lay of our land. But there are myriad other (and much more complete) ways to do that. And if you’d like to be gracious and recognize someone for their achievements, leadership or ideas, how about just picking up the phone?

Maybe if anyone in real estate were able to eradicate all MLS issues in the blink of an eye, maintain a healthy economy forever, keep interest rates at 2% without inciting inflation, make brokerages highly profitable again, and create affordable housing for all people, well… that person would be pretty mighty.

But she doesn’t exist.

This industry is truly gifted, filled with brilliant founders, broker/owners, inventors, programmers, agents, developers, marketers, trainers, etc. These lists include some of them. But ranking people in any sort of capacity is delusional, cynical and offensive.

Let’s get real. If we wanted a list of true power in real estate, it would include every single working agent and broker in our industry. We all work for them. Their money makes this business possible. If agents and brokers stopped buying franchises, licensing software, hiring trainers, purchasing ads on portals and attending events, our stock would crash, our businesses would die, and this industry would be dust.

That’s true power.

Here’s the truth: few people on these lists enjoy being singled out from their colleagues, their peers and their fellow company co-workers. Most of us humor the exercise, but find it to be a vulgar distortion of reality.

It’s time to get this out in the open.

These lists exist because publishers use our reputations and names to hijack attention, get people to attend events, and buy services.

It’s vampirish. It has to stop.

A few years ago, I asked to be removed from one of these lists. Its publisher wouldn’t do it. I have appeared every year since. I wasn’t powerful enough to get myself deleted from a power list. So here I am, stating my case publicly.

If we continue to acknowledge and support lists, we become complicit in placing more value on ourselves than our peers. If we continue to submit ourselves for ranking and congratulate others for being ranked, we’re participating in something no one deserves.

Real game-changers with real power don’t need, or want, lists.

Let’s move on.

Let’s agree to stop this unnatural selection. Let’s not waste another day making these lists, reading them, posting them, publicly congratulating each other or ourselves with our feigned humility.

The real estate industry doesn’t need this distraction.

Instead, let’s use this energy in the ongoing effort to create value for each other. Let’s work harder to make real estate and the world a better place by us being here. Together.

That would be pretty darn powerful.