“Get your ducks in a row.” You’ve heard it, but what does it mean?

To have complete composure; to make sure things are running smoothly.

1 to 10, how do you rate your appraisal firm or department running smoothly?

If you hesitated, then it’s not a 10.

Can we do better?

Flying in the same direction

Getting your ducks in a row includes organizing your tasks. It takes scheduling so that you’re ready for the next step. Complete your prep, become efficient and well organized.

Ducks usually travel in large groups, V-shaped flock formations. If you went to your staff today, could they clearly articulate what direction your firm or department is heading?

Ducks quack to communicate giving each other important information. I’m not suggesting quacking on Zoom calls, but is your staff all on the same page?

Business is changing

Ducks have unique features that make them good swimmers, webbed feet and waterproof feathers. What are your unique features? Are you curious to learn new things, seek out education beyond the standard Appraisal Institute or RMA stuff? There’s a big world of business that’s changing quickly.

“We’re so swamped in the valuation world that we’re maxed out, 100% tactical, little strategic.”

We need to be cautious not to wake up to a world that our industry is perceived as dated, no longer relevant, pushed to the due diligence sidelines. Just because technology gets better doesn’t mean collateral risk disappears. Based on the current “not so bueno” economic indicators, risk management professionals are starting to quack. Who’s listening?

Can’t see without vision

Ducks have better vision than dogs and humans? Who knew? Ducks can see in full color and have an almost 360-degree peripheral vision (though poor night vision).

What’s your vision for your appraisal firm or department? Is your day full of break/fix and meeting due dates? Keeping your head down hoping that the reviewers or RMs/LOs don’t call you? We can all do better.

“Just working”

It’s time we look up from our HP 12C and consider leadership. Maybe it’s time for succession planning or scaling your firm or department. Regardless of your motivation, without vision we’re “just working.” Does passion for your valuation career get you out of bed or is it only for a “trenta-size” black Pike Starbucks coffee?


Did you know that a duck can restrict blood flow to their feet? As the temperature drops, ducks can comfortably swim in frigid water or walk around on ice.

What’s your superpower? Maybe you’re a job manager in an appraisal department handling 50 to 100 appraisals per month. That’s a ton of responsibility juggling a lot of plates hoping that nothing falls through the cracks. Perhaps an appraisal and environmental ordering platform like YouConnect can give you those superpowers.

Better outcomes

For commercial appraisal firm owners, your special power might be investing your time to implement software solutions like DataComp Suite. Realize the power to reduce errors and have better report outcomes. As the owner, be accountable. Be involved from start to finish.

Ducks can sleep with one eye open, turning off half their brain, while keeping the other half alert for predators. What “predators” do we have in our valuation space? If you’re a residential appraiser, it might be AVMs and regulatory bullies (PAVE). For commercial appraisers, the “predators” might come in the form of the shrinking pool of appraisers or fatigue in the form of lack of productivity strategic vision.

Don’t be Foie Gras.

Get your ducks in a row.