NAA Leadership Lyceum
Inspiring and Educating Association Volunteers
In 2003, the National Apartment Association created a unique new leadership development program designed to inspire and then assimilate a diverse, high-caliber, well-informed group of industry professionals into the association’s existing leadership family. Since that time, over 155 industry leaders have completed the NAA Leadership Lyceum program. Most important is the fact that more than 28 of our Lyceum graduates have already been selected or elected to national leadership positions – as committee members, committee chairs, regional vice-presidents and members of NAA’s Assembly of Delegates, as well as its Board of Directors.
Recognizing that leadership development is a common challenge experienced throughout its federation of nearly 200 affiliates, the National Apartment Association has created a template for state and local associations to utilize if and when they are interested in creating their own Lyceum-styled program. The simple outline that follows is designed as a guide, a tool to use to help get the ball rolling. The ideal local Lyceum program can and should be modified, or perhaps amended significantly, to best fit the interests and needs of each local organization landscape.
NAA’s local Leadership Lyceum program template has divided its discussions into three general one-day class sessions. In addition to current topical discussions, the most effective local programs provide support materials designed to strengthen program content, as well as an occasional ancillary assignment designed to punctuate program emphasis. Course materials, transportation and instructors are typically provided at no charge to program participants. The only course requirement in most local Lyceum programs is a commitment made by each candidate to faithfully participate in all Lyceum class sessions.
The Lyceum curricula template includes:
Session I – The ABCs of Association Management – focused on the basic functions and character of a successful volunteer-driven organization, including:
- The Purpose and Objectives of Successful Associations – Who Does What & Why
- Fiscal Responsibility – The Artful Design of Non-profit Bean Counting
- Membership Development – Creating Measurable Return on Member Investment
- Human Resources – Effective Volunteer & Staff Development
- Ethical Decision-making – Black, White & Grey & How to Tell the Difference
- The Strategic Planning Process – Always Working Toward Tomorrow
Association Management Program Ideas:
- Ask someone well-versed in the history and design of associations to share their experience and observations regarding the characteristics of great volunteer organizations, utilizing examples from PTAs and little leagues to large trade associations.
- Meet with a group of past-presidents from your association, ask them to discuss reasons they got involved, benefits received from participation and their most enjoyable as well as most challenging moments.
- Meet with another association’s chief elected officer, asking him or her to share what it takes to be a good leader, as well as the best ways to resolve association conflicts.
- Stage a mock board meeting, including mistakes and missteps in the areas of governance, finance, Robert’s Rules and examples of bad decision-making practices.
- Create role-play games, where volunteers and staff change roles and attempt to resolve human resource, finance and leadership conflict challenges.
- Ask Lyceum candidates to engage in a mini-strategic planning process, demonstrating examples of program-based, as well as customer-based planning.
- Briefly share the inside framework for sound organizational design, including guiding documents that show bylaws, organizational charts, policies and procedures and sound financial policy.
- Meet with a college or seminary instructor of business ethics, sharing challenges that face current-day organizational issues, including real and perceived conflicts of interest and fiduciary obligations.
Session II – Building Effective Advocacy Initiatives – focused on the association’s basic role and responsibilities as it relates to public policy development…
- The Democratic Process – What Elected Leaders Do for a Living
- Public-Private Relationships – Creating Powerful Coalitions
- Communicating Success – Quantifying Successful Results
- Political Action Committees – Strength in Numbers
- Multihousing Issues – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Industry Stories
Advocacy Program Ideas:
- Meet with leaders, both elected and appointed, from your local, county, state or federal government, as well as senior members of their staff, including your city council, city planning department, your county commission, the county judge, state representatives and senators, US congressmen and women or perhaps your US senators.
- Schedule a meeting with your city manager to talk about challenges he / she believes your city will face in the near and distant future.
- Set up meetings with large government agencies, including your area HUD office, your council of governments and or a tax assessor-collector to talk through their most pressing challenges.
- Use your candidates and or invited guests to role-play current challenges related to multihousing featuring issues such as inspection programs, population density issues, crime issues, re-development initiatives and or construction moratoriums.
- Talk to Lyceum candidates about the role and purpose of political action committees.
- Role-play both good and bad meetings scheduled to lobby multihousing interests.
- Ask ancillary real estate organizations, including boards of realtors, builders and mortgage bankers to meet with your candidates to discuss related concerns, looking for coalition-building opportunities.
- Ask your Lyceum candidates to attend a city council or school board meeting.
Session III – Community Leadership Profile – focused on emerging community issues, organizations and people that drive the decision-making process.
- Community Service Initiatives – Crisis Management
- Faith-based Organizations – Helping People in Need
- Public & Private Educators – Food for Thought
- Health Service Organizations – Future Challenges
- Business Development Organizations – Job Creation
Community Leadership Program Ideas:
- Ask leaders (the chief executive or elected officers) from notable area non-profit organizations to briefly discuss their role and initiatives in your community. For example, consider your local AIDS outreach center; adult education center, the American Red Cross; Boys & Girls Club; community addiction treatment center; area food bank; Goodwill Industries; homeless shelter; mental health association; pregnancy center; and or the Salvation Army.
- Ask your emergency program director to share plans designed to help citizens confront the challenges of a natural disaster.
- Ask public and or private school superintendents or school board members or a university administrator to talk about contemporary education challenges
- Ask your local hospital administrator to talk about new and emerging health care initiatives, as well as challenges.
- Ask your chamber of commerce executive to share the benefits associated with job creation and other economic development initiatives like tourist attractions and sports facilities.
- Schedule a time for a Lyceum candidate to help teach a local ESL class; serve a meal to your homeless citizens, or direct craft-time at an area orphanage.
- Ask your city or area planning and zoning commission to help your candidates think through future growth in your community, and talk about the various impacts of population growth on community services.
- Schedule time for your candidates to participate in a Habitat for Humanity housing project.
- Arrange to joint-venture a service project for your candidates with a local community service organization, such as the Kiwanis, Optimist or Rotary Club
- Ask your Lyceum candidates to attend the board of directors meeting of a local charity organization.
Leadership Lyceum class sessions can be augmented by ancillary assignments such as attending one or more association board meetings, committee or task force meetings and or general membership programs and special events; by attending a city council, county commission and or school board meeting; and or by interviewing a public leader (the mayor, a councilmember or city manager, a member of the school board, a building inspector, hospital administrator or homeless shelter director, etc.).
Lyceum candidates are typically hand-chosen from the local association’s membership roster. The optimal Lyceum participant is an emerging leader and or a recognized senior management executive representing an important company that has little or no presence in the organization’s current business agenda. The best Lyceum facility members are diverse, articulate, acknowledged experts in their field. Lyceum program management is best developed by the local association’s most senior elected and staff leaders.
For more information regarding NAA’s Leadership Lyceum program, please contact Lynn Miller at 703/797-0632.