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Introduction to the Proposed New Association Core Standards

April 30, 2014

Core Standards, the Beginning

Do you ever feel clairvoyant? You know, that feeling that you must have known something was coming but just hadn’t been clued in yet? Well, that is how I am feeling this morning reviewing my article from the Winter 2014 edition of REALTOR® AE magazine. In December 2013, I wrote, “[w]e must be willing to challenge each other, challenge the status quo, challenge traditional thoughts, and challenge our beliefs about the value of services to our members. In order to move the needle for our members on professionalism, we must first be able to move the needle for ourselves.”

Then came January and a critical meeting with NAR’s Leadership Team, attended by six very curious and intrepid executive officers. We were asked to be part of a presidential advisory group to think critically about the REALTOR® organization and come up with a “rebuilding” plan to ensure unity within, and the long-term viability of, the 100-year-old REALTOR® organization. We were, in fact, being asked to challenge one another, the status quo, traditional thoughts, and our beliefs about the value of services to our members.

Since receiving our charge, we have engaged in a whirlwind of “challenge.” For those who attended AEI, you heard the resulting conceptual framework for ensuring the unity and viability of the REALTOR® organization. Recognizing the many challenges organized real estate faces from outside influences and influencers, it is critical that all REALTOR® organizations come together as a unified voice and force. To accomplish this, change—and I mean true, fundamental change—must be adopted and embraced. Each association, regardless of size, must reach beyond the concept (often unenforced) of minimum services criteria. We are better than that. We must be better than that.

Fundamentals such as ensuring that your association is in compliance with NAR mandated policies (such as dues collection procedures, gathering information for and sharing all NRDS mandatory fields, adoption of approved bylaws, policies, and regulations, and so on) will be enforced. But beyond these fundamentals, envision a REALTOR® world in which each association provides Code of Ethics education, enforcement, and advancement; envision a world in which each association engages in advocacy efforts to the point that a culture develops around the REALTOR® Party initiatives and the concept of “Vote, Act, Invest.” Advocacy not only becomes what we do but defines who we are as an organization. Consumer outreach and engagement are essential to generating more business opportunities for our members and helping the REALTOR® organization reach its advocacy objectives.

Can you envision all that your association can do to advance this goal? Don’t you want to be part of an organization that mandates professional development for its chief paid staff? Testing our members’ perception of value will become a standard in the industry. Sharing of information and actively promoting the member benefits, programs, products, and services between the three levels of the organization will become the new normal.

Many details are left to be discussed, but the vision briefly outlined above makes up, in part, the framework for ensuring that the REALTOR® organization maintains its importance and relevance to our members. Action on the final recommendations is expected to be taken at the REALTOR® Party Convention and Trade Expo in May.

If you have ideas about how to make the REALTOR® organization stronger and more unified, please send them to organizationalalignmentpag@realtors.org. We would love to hear from you.