The following article continues this column’s ongoing series about our transitioning industry, marketplace and transaction. Last month readers were encouraged to recognize the benefits that their REALTOR® membership provides and the potential of REALTOR® organizations to represent their interests moving forward.
This month’s article will focus upon a new program designed to provide participating state andlocal REALTOR® associations with advanced training in key areas that have been identified as essential to their new roles. NAR CEO Dale Stinton recently announced the program during NAR’s Association Executive’s Institute (AEI).
The American real estate industry consists of four elements. The first is the service provider segment populated by direct service providers who function as brokers, agents or support personnel. The second element is the affiliate group that provides the industry with direct services such as information, technology, MLS, title, Internet, financial (mortgage related” and various transactional services. The third element is what is commonly referred to as “organized real estate,” and is comprised of REALTOR® associations at the local, state and national levels. The fourth group consists of consumers who, at any given time, might be buyers, sellers or homeowners.
Over the past several decades the relative power and influence of these segments has fluctuated and continues to do so today. At the current time individuals and entities within all four segments are engaged in a competitive effort to exercise control and/or influence over the future direction of the real estate marketplace and transaction.
Organized real estate is very much engaged in this process. Lead by the Second Centuryinitiatives, designed, developed and supported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), organized real estate at all three levels appears to recognize the importance of its role and viability. The more pressing question is whether or not organized real estate at all three levels will come together to support and advocate a common position that will be sufficient to protect the interests of its REALTOR® members.
Few experts disagree with the notion that in order to meet this challenge organized real estate will have to coordinate and collaborate its efforts. This in turn will require fielding a winning team that brings all three levels of the movement together in a manner that is coordinated, collaborative, powerful, focused and “relevant” enough to appropriately respond the many issues that the industry is facing.
During the second and third quarters of 2011 a team working with Stefan Swanepoel, publisher of the 2012 Swanepoel Trends Report, conducted an exhaustive research project that examined every aspect of the current REALTOR® association operation and mindset. Much of this research was reported in the “Trend One” Chapter of the 2012 Swanepoel Real Estate Industry Trends Report. This publication has been or will be read by the vast majority of American real estate principals, executives and managers.
The research established that by and large the REALTOR® associations at the state and local levels were not maintaining a pace sufficient to keep them current with industry trends and opportunities. The conclusion was reached that unless this situation was remedied in the very near future the vitality, usefulness and ultimate relevance of these organizations would be severely limited. A strong argument can be made for the proposition that the failure of state and local associations to rise to the occasion could ultimately negatively impact organized real estate’s ability to play out the role envisioned by the Second Century Initiatives as well as the efforts being made by agents and brokers to transition themselves into the new marketplace and transaction.
The new program is referred to as the Pinnacle Group Project. It seeks to engage at least 100REALTOR® associations into a learning and training experience designed to both bring them together in their advocacy efforts and to either develop or sharpen the skills that will be necessary for their to prevail in these efforts.
The learning and training elements of the Pinnacle Group Project promote a wide range of organizational skills sets through eight modules that range from Promoting Consumer/REALTOR® common interests, setting strategic directions and integrating communications to building leadership excellence, maximizing mobile and social media mindshare and pushing for perfection.
According to Stefan Swanepoel, a member of the innovation team that designed the Pinnacle Project, “every one of these modules will incorporate the current wisdom and teachings of the “best of the best” experts in the field of organizational performance.
Each of the eight modules will include new knowledge, hands-on training, specific assignments, orientation videos, practical tools, and coaching components. The modules will be delivered in a sequence that builds on the skill sets provided by their predecessors.
In announcing this new project Dale Stinton recalled the audience’s attention to the 2009 Game Changer program and made it clear that “this is my personal game changer.”
As of the writing of this article, registration for the project, which kicks off during the May NAR Mid-Winter Meetings, was brisk with over 400 Association Executives and Chief Elected Leaders representing over 200 associations having signed up.
Jim Sherry, another member of the innovation team, stated, “Through this project, organized real estate will create a powerful group of high performance state and local REALTOR® associations that can come together over the next few years and deliver the competence and passion necessary to support REALTORS® in the new industry environment.
Make sure that your REALTOR® association at both the state and local levels is part of this exciting new initiative. Together we can do this.