REThink How you Position Your Business

Many of NAR’s initiatives to help keep REALTORS® at the center of the real estate transaction despite the flood of change that’s surrounded the industry over the years have come from NAR’s strategic planning efforts. NAR’s Second Century Ventures is a great example of the kind of forward-looking thinking that comes out of strategic planning . Second Century Ventures is a venture capital fund whose mission is to harness cutting-edge technology like the lockbox technology from SentriLock and the commercial data technology of Xceligent for the long-term benefit of REALTORS®.

Today, NAR is innovating in the strategic planning process itself. With the goal of tapping the insight of REALTORS® across the country, in small markets and large, NAR earlier this year launched an effort to “crowdsource” the development of its next strategic plan through REThink the Future of Real Estate. With this initiative, NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee will be writing the association’s next long-term plan with the help of as many as 20,000 association members. At workshops across the country, members can share their ideas of where they expect to see their industry in the near- and long-term future and what kinds of tools they think they’ll need to stay successful, even if the landscape looks very different than what it does today.

The first of these workshops have already been held, and more will be held at the 2012 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando next month. More will be held through the balance of 2012 and into 2013. The workshops are scheduled to wrap up in May. At that point, the Strategic Planning Committee will take everyone’s input from the workshops and use that as raw material for writing its plan.

The result will be for the first time a roadmap for the future that reflects the direct input from a significant share of REALTORS®.

Getting perhaps as many as 20,000 NAR members to participate over the next six months or so will be a challenge. But based on the experience of NAR members who’ve participated in the workshops so far, participation is time well spent. Participants say the workshops are stimulating and thought-provoking and have changed the way they think about and plan for the future in their own business. That in itself has been worth the couple of hours they invested in the process, they say.

If you’re interested in participating , you can see if there’s a workshop planned in your area by looking under the “Events” tab at the initiative’s website, If you don’t see one in or near your area, you can check with your local association to see if its planning to host one. If it’s not, you might suggest it consider doing so. Shortly, you’ll be able to participate entirely online, separate from the local workshops. Look for that option at shortly after the 2012 REALTORS® Conference in November.

You can get a look at how the REThink initiative works, and see the different ways the future is discussed at the workshops, in the 5-minute video above.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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