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Global Challenges: Competing Groups

At the State and Local Forum on Global Business in November 2013 in San Francisco, leaders on the association staff and member side gathered to discuss best practices, new ideas and challenges involved with starting or growing global programs at REALTOR® organizations. Participants at the Forum talked about the following issue, which deals with the thorny situations that can arise when a global group springs up outside an association’s aegis:

We are a 6,000-member board that’s had a global committee in place for a few years now. The problem we face is that another small group of members formed a globally focused group without seeking board approval and informing association staff. Now they’re promoting their group as an official global real estate institution within the association, when we already have a very official global committee in place. How can we absorb or get rid of this rival group while minimizing bad feelings and conflict?

Here are some of the ideas attendees came up with:

  • Have our CEO/AE call a meeting of global chairs to discuss respective goals and see if there are opportunities to work together.
  • Call attention to the fact that NAR only recognizes and supports the association’s official global council.
  • If the group continues to falsely claim an affiliation with the association and is at odds with the official global group and the board, have the legal department write a cease-and-desist letter.

And here’s more advice from NAR Global staff:

Initially, you should emphasize inclusion. (This assumes the group is not going “rogue,” actively working at cross-purposes to your association’s own goals.) The first step might be to reach out to leading members of this group and invite them to a global committee meeting. Give them an allotted amount of time at that meeting to share their own thoughts on and hopes for international real estate activity in the area. Then, see if they’re willing to work together on common goals or even join the group. Either way, try to set the tone for the relationship early.

Read the last post on Global Challenges discussed at this year’s Forum.

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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