That’s why an annual board of directors orientation is a must. I co-teach HomeTown’s with a volunteer leader who has experience at the local, state, and national level. That way, we can highlight the differences between volunteer leader and paid staff roles.
We usually hold board orientation sessions the same day as the first board meeting of the year, though we can accommodate members who prefer to have orientation after the fall elections and before the first meeting of the year. Orientation can be held live or virtually; if it’s a live session, we provide breakfast and lunch.
We cover the following key topics:
- Welcome and introductions
- Expectations and goals for the day
- The REALTOR® family: local, state, and national governance and structure
- Local association leadership: roles and goals of board committees and staff
- Board of directors’ manual, governing documents, and statements
- Statement of purpose and mission
- Bylaws and antitrust documents
- Confidentiality agreements
- Policy manual and document retention
- Job descriptions for staff, directors, officers, and committee chairs
- Whistleblower and conflict of interest policies
- Strategic plan
I also recommend all directors, officers, executives, and staff complete the REALTORS® Excelling in Association Leadership (R.E.A.L.) course offered by the National Association of REALTORS®. R.E.A.L. is free and meets three hours of professional development required toward Core Standards.
The course is worth 10 points toward the REALTOR® association Certified Executive designation and five points toward RCE recertification, but R.E.A.L. is also a great tool to get potential volunteer leaders who are looking to expand their involvement with the association up to speed. It covers:
- Real estate issues and trends
- Enhancing leadership skills
- Meetings management
- Governing documents and policies
- Legal and regulatory activities
- Visioning, planning, and budgeting
Depending on the content, your board orientation program might meet the leadership development requirement under Core Standards; it would be up to your state association to determine whether the program meets the standard.
The viability of a REALTOR® association is no longer dependent on the technologies you use, where you operate, or what you create. Rather, it’s your association’s ability to adapt, evolve, and grow in today’s business environment—and that is dependent on the culture that volunteer leaders and staff are able to build together.
We’re here to manage day-to-day association operations, but those functions are always in service to REALTORS®’ needs. Volunteer leaders help steer our associations to be vital resources for advancing professionalism and success. We can’t do our jobs without them.