In Colorado, Creating Leaders for Life

Filed in Committees and Councils, Education, Membership by on June 21, 2016 1 Comment

The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs (CSHBA) knows that the future of the industry and health of the HBA both depend on ensuring that younger builders, remodelers and trade partners are active members. By combining a solid plan, committed members and a boost from NAHB Advisory Services, these Colorado builders are making great strides.


CSHBA members Jack Costa of Covington Homes, Steve Rossoll of JR Engineering, Grace Covington of Covington Homes and Mark Reyner of Land Title Guarantee Company smile during their team-building session.

The Plan
CSHBA has long kept a list of the critical success factors that ensure things are humming along.

“We have the usual suspects – financial stability, political and regulatory engagement – but the one that our board added five years ago is leadership development,” said CEO Renee Zentz.

Each year, CSHBA leadership has hand-picked a class of new members who have shown interest and aptitude to become part of its Emerging Leaders program – and then has been very deliberate about providing the tools these members need to become active, engaged and committed.

Dubbed HBA University, each class must attend monthly meetings focusing on a particular aspect of HBA culture or programming, from government affairs to education and networking events.

“The more you are exposed to all the facets of the local and even the national association you are going to find something that intrigues you,” said Mark Bussone, a member of the original class and now chair of the Leadership Development Committee.

“It’s really about the culture of associations and  the real need to support and be involved in your association at the federal, state and local levels,” Zentz said. “They learn about government, networking and forming peer relationships through the association. That story doesn’t get told a lot of times.”

Once that’s completed, class members are awarded a scholarship to attend the NAHB International Builders’ Show, where each member must attend two committee meetings, two classes or seminars, the Colorado area caucus meeting and the NAHB Board of Directors meeting.

Of course, they also check out the huge exhibit halls, grab meals and see the sights. “Because we send them as a team, the camaraderie and friendships that form in that group are amazing,” Zentz said. That is how you get members – and leaders – for life, she added.

The Commitment
Building code issues became the doorway to Bussone’s HBA involvement, and a way for him to understand that every builder, remodeler or potential Associate member has a similar hot button. That’s the tool he uses to convince colleagues and trade partners to join, and then become active, in the association.

“You need to make it interesting,” Bussone said. “I invite them to participate in a meeting or an event even before they sign on the dotted line. I show them the importance of what we do, whether it’s the codes work, the PAC — it’s really just introducing them to the depth and breadth of the association, let them find their way through it. You can mentor them yourself, or you may have to pass them off” to members who are specialists in sales, public policy or other issues. “It takes all kinds,” he said. “It’s really no secret. Sometimes, it’s just being tapped on the shoulder.”

A Boost from NAHB
Since January, the 10 members of this year’s HBA University class have held monthly lunch meetings, listening to presentations and asking questions from members involved in land use, public policy, councils and other facets of the HBA’s work.

In May, it was time to help the class understand more about their communications styles in a team-building exercise led by Donna Oliver, a facilitator for NAHB Advisory Services.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is the most widely used personality assessment in the world. It offers a foundation for understanding individual differences and applying that understanding to the ways people lead, think, communicate and interact.

“Everyone has a natural leadership style that correlates to their MBTI personality type, and NAHB’s experiential workshop approach to the MBTI helps participants use this understanding to work better together,” Oliver said.

Bussone recognizes the value in this exercise. “It’s very important for us to be able to interact with each other and understand why certain individuals approach a topic that, for instance, may come up in a board meeting. It’s not that any way is wrong, but by understanding these personality types, you can get a pretty good read for people and make it easier for everyone to speak freely,” Bussone said.

It’s not just to make them better CSHBA leaders, he said. As active members, they are also leaders in their community. And that leadership, Bussone believes, “is an opportunity, not an obligation. We all have our professional work and personal lives, but the HBA gives us an opportunity to absolutely expand our personal and professional horizons. I am pretty passionate about it, and I don’t take it lightly.”

Schedule an MBTI workshop by contacting Donna Oliver at 800-368-5242 x 8332. It costs $750 for the 3-5 hour program, plus individual MBTI assessment fees.

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  1. These HBA University activities further ensures membership recruitment and retention!
    ONwards and UPwards with Renee and her Colorado Springs teammates!

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