Dear Valued ASHI Members,
One of my goals at the beginning of 2020 was to be a good steward for ASHI and leave this organization a little stronger at the end of my term. Little did any of us know what was in store. What I have discovered during 2020 as your President is that individual leaders can provide strategic direction, but real progress comes from a culture of consistent, open-minded and dedicated leadership over time. During the past few years, ASHI’s leadership has made a stronger effort to listen to and learn from members, recognize shortcomings and vigorously promote change. As a result, a fresh foundation for future progress has been established.
Considering all of the challenges and achievements experienced in 2020, I believe ASHI’s ability to adapt to adversity and embrace change while maintaining its core values is the most impressive. The fragile, yet needed cultural shift that started a few years ago was accelerated by a global pandemic, and is now taking firm root. Monumental behind the scenes progress has changed friction and obstacles into flexibility and opportunity that creates a more progressive, efficient one-team atmosphere. I am proud to have played a small part in the open-minded work our membership has supported - well done ASHI.
A question that has been asked over the past year is: should ASHI be managed like a business or a society?
After all “society” is in our name. My not so humble response is; you better believe it should be managed like a business and it needs to be managed like a business with less focus on governance and maximum focus on its members. In my opinion, recognizing this has been a significant shift over the past 3 years. Strategically moving towards this cultural change by intentionally listening to members has enabled ASHI to radically update bylaws, revise and establish new efficient policies and ultimately embrace processes that will improve the ability to be creative and compete in an ever-changing environment. This fresh and progressive mindset will open opportunities for engaged leaders and staff to build member value.
Having a business focused mindset while managing this organization does not take away from the personal relationship value that so many members consider a significant benefit. Sound business practices and promoting strong personal relationships complement each other. ASHI can and should emphasize both. Admittedly, as a business leader, I have been aggressive in my position on the business side of this to a fault at times. However, I truly believe there is a business acumen/soft skill balance that ASHI leaders should strive for. For example, I lost both of my parents during the last 2 years as an ASHI volunteer leader and I was overwhelmed with the backing I received when the ASHI staff, membership family and vendor community wrapped their arms around me in support.
Individuals like Frank Lesh, one of the most decorated leaders in ASHI’s history, embodies this spirit and these personal relationships rest at the heart of what ASHI is all about. My experience had nothing to do with business, but Frank and so many others got it right.
The opportunity to learn from and build personal relationships with some of the brightest minds in our profession instills loyalty and is ASHI’s secret sauce for me.
I urge each of you to volunteer, share your knowledge and build on the relationships ASHI can afford you – it could be the best investment you ever make.
I am also excited to see what our Executive Director, James Thomas is doing behind the scenes to get the right people in the right places. Bringing on talented individuals with fresh perspective and focused skill sets will give ASHI a strategic advantage at the highest level. This forward thinking should be fully supported as ASHI takes advantage of these changes and opportunities. ASHI Staffs response, especially our membership team headed by Jen Gallegos, to the unprecedented challenges experienced in 2020 was exceptional and it has been a pleasure for me to work with James and his entire team.
I find it impressive that the model that was established when ASHI was founded over 4 decades ago still holds true today. ASHI is a member organization where membership matters.
ASHI leaders are members elected by members. Members set policy, members run committees and members are the backbone who ultimately build the ASHI brand that has become synonymous with the highest level of professionalism in the home inspection space. ASHI continues to set the professional Standard and that is something every member can be proud of.
There is still a lot of work to do and some of our challenges rest in increased diversity, improved education, more effective communications and amplified relevance to various inspection business models. It appears that ASHI’s future leadership, headed by 2021 President Bruce Barker, has a strategic eye on the target and I am confident that ASHI is heading in the right direction.
As we transition into 2021, I want to express my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to help lead ASHI over the past 7 years and especially for the honor to serve as your 2020 ASHI President. This leadership experience has challenged me, humbled me and has provided a great opportunity for personal growth. I will cherish the relationships built along the way and I only hope the best for this outstanding organization as it progresses into the future.
I wish all of you the happiest of holidays and hope for good health and prosperity in 2021.
All the best,
Mike Wagner, 2020 ASHI President