January, 2004
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Change: Enjoying the Process

RICHARD C. MATZEN

Change and the effects of change on the Membership and the profession has been a theme in my messages this year. While change is one of the toughest parts of our human experience, it is also one of the most vital. I suppose the highest skill is the ability to ride the waves of change and enjoy the process. 2004 will see ASHI with a new public appearance as well as big changes in the way we do things internally.

We watched as the concept of the ASHI brand inspection was announced at InspectionWorld in Orlando. That announcement gave way to a year of teaching and demonstrating new concepts to the Membership. As 2004 arrives, the questions and the discussion have moved to the new territory surrounding implementation.

During my last chapter visit, I found that chapter leaders had returned from Chapter Leadership Day in Chicago and prepared the members of the chapter for the change cycles branding will entail. I arrived to give a presentation, only to find the chapter was ahead of what I’d planned to discuss.  

Rather than asking fundamental questions surrounding our history, the reasons for branding and the costs and benefits of it, they wanted to know what was going to be in the tool kit, who are the contact people at headquarters, and when does interaction with the chapter begin?

These forward-looking questions gave me a chance to look a little further ahead and to discuss the reactions I expect to hear in 2004. As President, perhaps I’ve discussed and worked with branding more than others, such that I suspect that in 2004 the Membership will be asking why ASHI waited so long to do this. I sure feel that way.

It seems obvious to me that the concept of combining our long history of inspection excellence with an equal emphasis on excellence in customer service should have been so obvious that it followed much closer behind ASHI’s inception than it has.

Branding is the interval for a broad range of change in the landscape of ASHI. It is a costly project, and ASHI’s numerical size is modest; therefore, branding must be a grassroots effort. As a grassroots effort, leaders had to envision a method for putting branding into the hands of the Membership, who will deliver the message every day with every inspection.

Grassroots can only mean chapters where branding is concerned. I expect we will see a solid and intense partnership develop between headquarters and chapters to implement the programs, projects and activities associated with The ASHI Experience. In the past, headquarters and chapters have been separated with the Council of Representative serving as a bridge between the two. In 2004, the relationship between chapters and headquarters will become closer, more like a partnership.

Nothing in my business life has changed as much or as fast as technology. In 2004, ASHI’s Web presence will become far more interactive, user-friendly and entertaining. The public and the Membership will use www.ASHI.org more frequently with more profitable results for home inspectors. Our dynamic Web presence will be the key to success for ASHI, for branding and for home inspectors.

The availability of Web site tools will allow ASHI to place itself and all of its programs, projects and data online for the Membership to read and study on demand. ASHI’s Web presence and the partnership with chapters will make communication within ASHI as close as a few clicks on the computer.

In 2004, ASHI will become an advocate for the Membership. Staff is now organized around the concept of lending its collective shoulder to those tasks, supporting better business results for the Membership.

In the future, ASHI will advocate that states maintain standards and ethics with the authority of law to ensure that states discipline home inspectors and protect the public. As states become more involved with discipline, ASHI’s role in discipline will diminish. That change leaves ASHI far freer than in the past, when it was all things to the home inspection profession.

We have moved a long way and we are not through yet. It’s my bet that ASHI continues to change and be the dynamic leader of the profession for a long time.