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Overcoming geographic challenges to make a key decision
A decision about whether your organization should stay independent or merge with another is not one to be taken lightly. The Kootenay Real Estate Board (KREB) found itself in exactly that position when faced with a proposal that would see British Columbia’s 11 independent real estate boards amalgamated into one.
KREB is a not-for-profit organization funded by its 300-plus REALTOR® members and governed by a volunteer board of directors. Spread out over more than 50,000 square kilometers of rugged, mountainous terrain in the British Columbia interior, geographically, it’s one of the largest real estate boards in the province. Before moving forward with a decision on such an important matter, KREB’s board of directors knew it had to reach out for perspectives from members. This presented a challenge because members are spread throughout the region.
“Membership engagement was a priority for the board of directors, but is a challenge in a geographic region as large as ours, especially when timelines are short,” says KREB Executive Director, Marianne Bond.
“A lightbulb moment”
Over the past few years KREB has looked to online interactions such as e-votes and virtual meetings to overcome the geographical challenges it faces. So, when Bond discovered Thoughtexchange® by chance through a magazine article one weekend, she immediately saw a solution for engaging KREB’s membership.
“I had a lightbulb moment. I thought ‘wow, this is just the answer we’ve been looking for,’” she says. “Thoughtexchange provided us with the solution to have a virtual town hall meeting and provide all members the opportunity to share and prioritize their thoughts about a very important issue.”
Together, KREB and Thoughtexchange developed a series of questions designed to discover the membership’s thoughts on the pros and cons of both options: amalgamation or independence. The engagement also included confidential demographic questions to further inform the results, such as where in the region each participant lived, what license they held, and how long they had been in business.
The exchange engaged 120 REALTORS® in the region, or about 40 percent of KREB’s membership.
“The results were shared with all members, whether they had been able to participate or not, and provided important information to the board of directors,” Bond says.
“It was also important that members in all communities could participate, no matter where they lived. If they had to travel for a meeting, it’s less likely they would have participated. So Thoughtexchange helped us engage more of our members.”
“Thoughtexchange provided us with the solution to have a virtual town hall meeting and provide all members the opportunity to share and prioritize their thoughts about a very important issue.”Marianne Bond, KREB Executive Director
Affirming the direction
“The results of the exchange affirmed that our members wanted KREB to remain independent, but also indicated they weren’t averse to change as long as it’s done through a transparent process,” Bond notes.
Reflecting on her experience, Bond sees Thoughtexchange as the perfect tool for overcoming KREB’s geographical challenges and bringing members together for important discussions around substantive issues—especially when there are short timelines.
“Because of our large geographic area, when there’s something of substance to discuss, having the ability to hold a virtual town hall meeting so members can not only see what other members are thinking, but also see collectively what the priorities are, is outstanding, and enables consultation and collaboration in a whole new way,” she says.
“The Thoughtexchange team was awesome to work with and the results were of tremendous value. We are looking forward to doing a second exchange later in the year.”
Thoughtexchange provides software solutions that bring people together, build trust and make progress on important topics. Whether it’s employees, customers or whole communities, our solutions effortlessly connect you to your stakeholders. People can confidentially and independently share their thoughts, appreciate other points of view and understand how their perspectives are connected to decisions. Our patent-pending data analysis gives you the insights to make informed decisions and take action.