Good health, whether personal or organizational, doesn’t just happen. It requires adopting positive behaviors, eliminating negative influences and occasionally assessing where you stand in relation to your wellness goals. Just as physicians examine different aspects of your personal health, audits evaluate your organizational well-being by identifying harmful problems early on and encouraging behaviors that can strengthen your association.
“We have a financial audit every year and a kind of 30,000-foot audit with the Core Standards, but when I started at my role—three days before we shut the office down for COVID-19—we didn’t have an operational audit,” says Jeff Lasky, RCE, CEO of the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® in Illinois. “I came across the Organization Assessment Checklist on the NAR website and thought, ‘Wow—this is a really neat opportunity for us to check all the boxes.’”
The Organization Assessment Checklist is a downloadable resource provided by the National Association of REALTORS® that’s designed to help associations assess their processes, procedures and management functions.
“It’s kind of like operational insurance,” Lasky says. “By using it, I’ve really reduced the chances of anything slipping through the cracks.”
The checklist can be useful in a variety of circumstances, from managing crises to guiding future decisions. For Cara Budde, CEO of the West Central Association of REALTORS® in Lima, Ohio, it’s a guidebook for the job.
“When I got here two years ago, there was nothing in writing for my position,” she says. “So, I was able to get together with my leadership, and we were able to work through the checklist. Even if I looked at it and had no idea what something was, I could dig in and ask questions.”
Completing the assessment with her leadership helped Budde cement those all-important relationships. It also provided her an opportunity to define items like committee chair explanations and update policies that hadn’t been looked at for a long time.
For example, the personnel policy had been unchanged for two decades; the assessment gave the association an opportunity to make significant updates to the harassment policy and create policies for activities like social media that didn’t exist 20 years ago.
“I was able to look at [the assessment] and take policy updates and additions step by step,” she says. “It’s like a road map for the many different hats we wear.”
Although it might not have been the kind of work Budde expected to do starting out, completing the assessment checklist provided a solid foundation for her role moving forward. “There’s a lot to learn when you first get started, and this was very helpful getting me started a little more quickly,” she says. “Now that I have it, it’s almost like having a manual for the position.”