Time to Take a Closer Look

Every day, in each of our associations, we are living with the impact of the economy on our business—from membership levels dropping to the need to provide great services with fewer resources. Our communities, and the businesses of our members, have never relied on our expertise more than they do today. We must be relevant by providing services and benefits that will help practitioners not only survive, but thrive.

Today our REALTOR® associations have a unique opportunity to create REALTOR® association evangelists by offering education, networking, and services to help our members succeed. The time is right and the opportunity is ours, but we must take a closer look at our own “house” before we can help our members continue to build theirs.

More often than not, we find ourselves dealing with the daily chaos of our jobs and rarely take a moment to evaluate what we are doing to help meet the end goals of our associations and our members. Our leadership and staff are looking to us to take our associations to the next level, and doing the same old thing simply is not going to get us there. We are the professionals charged with running the best organizations we can, and as such it is incumbent upon us to ask hard questions, evaluate ourselves and our associations, and then retool accordingly.

This year, I am proud of our Association Executives Committee (AEC) for being committed to this effort and exploring where our path must take us next. The AEC has developed four key workgroups to examine a plethora of issues surrounding our own businesses. The committee is asking some of the necessary harder questions to assess what our next steps should be so that we can better prepare for our members and their needs.

Four Key Areas

There are four key areas our peers will evaluate to help meet these objectives in 2012:

  • Structural audit: This workgroup will provide tools and resources that REALTOR® associations can use to prepare for, and execute, a structural audit.
  • Organizational structures: The work in this area focuses on identifying and creating awareness of various alternative organizational structures that REALTOR® associations can consider to more effectively serve our members. This includes how to have conversations about mergers, regional collaborations, and shared services. This is a perfect opportunity for this group to develop tools on best practices to successfully engage in vital conversations.
  • Chief staff executive review: This workgroup will create a comprehensive best practices evaluation guide for chief staff executives, as well as explore a peer-to-peer evaluation process.
  • AE mentor: This workgroup will determine whether there is a need for an NAR AE mentor group and develop guidelines and parameters for creating such a community.

The challenges before us are real, and the opportunity to soar has never been greater. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing these workgroups help address some of the hard discussions that need to be had, and lend some clarity to major areas in our own profession. The AEC is committed to ensuring your success, and I am so honored to be your Chair during these exciting times that will only help us all grow and prosper.

Best wishes for an amazing 2012. I look forward to connecting with you throughout the year.
— Ginger Downs


Ginger Downs, RCE, CAE, is CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. Contact her at 312-214-5516 or gdowns@chicagorealtor.com.

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