“The Direct Connection to Growing Better Leaders” is NAR’s Association Leadership Development (ALD) department’s vision. It is the underlying impetus that drives the programs, products, and services that NAR offers for local and state association staff and volunteer leaders.
Although many of ALD’s programs target professional development opportunities for AEs, including chief staff executives and staff specialists, the menu of services wouldn’t be complete without a focus on grooming and developing volunteer leaders. AEs tell us that a strong partnership with volunteer leaders who understand how the association works is critical to a harmonious and effective year. So, together with the Association Executives Committee, ALD has ramped up its volunteer leadership offerings.
Many associations have their own highly customized and comprehensive leadership training programs for volunteers, and may be interested only in some enhancements from a national perspective. At the opposite end of the spectrum are associations that don’t have staff or financial resources to develop their own programs, and are looking to us for components that will fit their individual needs.
AEs new to the business of REALTOR® association management have also been receiving added attention from ALD. Nearly 150 AEs join the ranks each year, a turnover rate that is costly for associations. ALD hosts a day-and-a-half-long orientation session designed to familiarize incoming AEs with the programs, services, and resources that NAR offers, and to introduce them to the NAR staff who will serve as valuable resources during their REALTOR® association management careers. It’s our hope that NAR’s investment in more knowledgeable and informed new association staff will translate into lower turnover rates and more productive and relevant associations.
Although volunteer leaders and new AEs have been in the ALD spotlight as of late, many of the other flagship programs—AE Institute, RCE designation, and myriad self-study courses—are still in place. These programs have been updated regularly through the years to keep up with AEs’ ever-increasing level of professionalism and expanding body of knowledge. And, thanks to technology, these programs have greater reach, essential in a down economy where smaller association budgets mean fewer travel and education dollars.
As association executives look for more opportunities to learn and grow from the comfort of their offices, self-study course usage has risen, more REALTOR® association Certified Executive exams are administered locally, and the new REALTOR® Leadership Program can now be offered at your own association (see More Volunteer Leadership Ed Opportunities than Ever Before , in this issue). Social media and new apps have also helped lower printing budgets, with more information now available at the click of a button.
Regardless of all the progress and enhancements, ALD’s propose remains the same: ensuring that REALTOR® associations have the benefit of competent, effective, and savvy staff and volunteer leaders who can best help their members meet the challenges of the day.