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



Food for Thought

STEPHEN M. GLADSTONE

Almost every Friday, my wife and I get in the car, and we sit trying to figure what we will do for dinner. She questions, “What do you want?” I typically respond,
“I don’t know. What do you want?” After several minutes of this banter, we begin to discuss the real issue – that being, what we don’t want. We find ourselves in this discourse weekly, as it truly doesn’t much matter to either of us where we end up, as long as the result is an end to the hunger and a pleasant dinner.     

I thought about this the other day in St. Louis, where I was invited to speak at the Chapter’s 17th annual educational conference. I was on stage after a fast lunch of salmon, with an unexplained dollop of blue cheese dressing on it.

As I spoke to the group, answering questions about The ASHI Experience, I thought about the discussion in my car each week. Some in this group were still looking at The ASHI Experience as if it was unimportant– merely a whim of the Board.  

Two years ago, we researched the thoughts and desires of the membership. We asked for individual responses and polled our membership; we formulated a plan that could radically change the leveled playing fields that regulation is creating across the country. It was important to all of us that ASHI Inspectors be perceived as a higher level, and it became obvious that branding with improved customer service was the way to get there. Hundreds of ASHI volunteers and our consultants worked on this plan.

We are a group of people that spends far too much time each day being critical. Sometimes, we rip things apart just for the sake of seeing how durable they are. Often, we shake the box to see if the packing is doing its job. We play devil’s advocate with a vengeance.  

I asked the people in St. Louis what they wanted. They said they wanted to feel that they had been asked to contribute more in the development of the project; they wanted to feel they had been asked to participate; they wanted to look more closely at the materials so they could shake them and evaluate the quality before getting onboard. Most felt that they just wanted ASHI to ask them to participate, not tell them to.  

With that in mind, let me personally invite you to join us in our 2004 quest to exceed all our previous successes and become part of an ASHI that will help you gain an identity and more business if you want it. Please look at the materials we have presented. Please use your critical eye, shake it, rip it apart, look carefully and when you see it is good, embrace it, and start to work with it.

Have some faith that we are all home inspectors. We are not trying to create the next Nike® or McDonalds®. We’re creating something that is within our grasp—a better-known, consumer-friendly, technically proficient, exceptionally client service- oriented you. Help us to help you!

The truth is ASHI cannot be successful if you are half-hearted about The ASHI Experience. The power of 6,000 people shouting the same mantra, doing the best to support it, and making this come alive will make it work. When I was speaking, several people were very negative about branding and vocal about it. Only in the midst of our discussion did it become apparent they had not looked at or listened to discussion of the new materials. This is not fair to all those who worked to create this for us.

We can’t sit on the driveway asking, “What do you want?” anymore. The real question now is, “How are you using The ASHI Experience on a chapter level, or individually?”     
Please get started, use the materials, get your local advertising going, put the service mark on things, shake hands and talk to others about ASHI and The ASHI Experience. Power up and let’s get going. We don’t have a moment to waste. We need every last one of you to get hungry for the success of The ASHI Experience, and for all of us to care about where we are going.