Core Standards 2.0, Better, Easier

When the leadership of the AEC met in August 2015 to determine our priorities for the upcoming year, revisiting Core Standards was at the top of our list. We had collected lots of feedback and dozens of ideas from our AE community over the course of cycles 1 and 2 and felt the time was right to dive in.

The first task was choosing the right team to work on what was already being called Core Standards 2.0. First, we called Travis Kessler in Texas (a member of the original PAG) and asked him to lead the effort. Creating a balanced team was key. We included a few members from the original PAG; a couple of members who had served on the Appeals Hearing panels, so they understood the challenges; state AEs who had experience administering the process; local AEs from large and small associations; and key NAR staff.

With our team in place we convened in Chicago on some of the coldest days in modern recorded history, Feb.11-12 . With Travis’ guidance, we created two lists: what we liked most about Core Standards and what we liked least.

What we like most is that Core Standards:

  • Strengthen (local, state, national) relationships, creating a sense of being on the same team
  • Raise the bar to focus on what should be done as a professional organization;
  • Promote financial solvency (a key strength)
  • Provide focus and forward-thinking planning
  • Boost pride in the organization;
  • Create best practices to do what we should be doing
  • Create a baseline to keep associations on track
  • Help associations create a strong vision for the future
  • Emphasize on the value of staff
  • Drive home the importance of planning (whether business or strategic)

W​hat we like least is that Core Standards:

  • Require a difficult and often confusing online compliance form
  • Do not hold REALTORS® administering associations without staff to the same education requirement as AEs
  • Run on a midyear timetable inconsistent with associations’ calendar year activities
  • Allow for strategic plans that are too basic to be effective
  • Give a perception that state associations do not have to comply with the same requirements
  • Do not include a REALTOR® leadership development requirement

Finally, there was the perception that some state associations were more thorough than others in reviewing the certifications offered by their local associations.

It became abundantly clear that we liked what Core Standards does for our organizations and that we needed to make some improvements to the certification process.

With that insight, we drafted 13 recommendations and sent them to NAR leadership for review, then delivered a presentation at the 2016 AEI in San Antonio.

With a green light from NAR leadership and a solidly positive response at AEI, the next step is a presentation in May to the AE Committee, then a vote by the NAR Board of Directors.

Just before the AEI presentation, I was talking to AE Andrea Bushnell (the chair of the original Core Standards PAG), who said, “Don’t be nervous about this. All of these changes came directly from our colleagues. These are the improvements that we collectively want to see.”

If you weren’t at AEI for the presentation, it’s available online at Let me know what you think ( Hopefully we’ll come out of the May meetings with a revised professional road map. Core Standards 2.0 will be bigger, bolder, and easier to use. Stay tuned.

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