There is a tremendous amount of pressure put upon Condo Association Management. Being the focal point for the homes of hundreds – maybe even thousands – of people is no small task. They are in the middle of dealing with everything – construction, maintenance, disasters, grumpy Owners, mean Boards – you name it. Most Management is able to ensure a positive and healthy culture of respect in an Association. But just like Board burnout is inevitable, Management burnout can happen as well. One of the ways Management can fight this – and help train new Community Managers – is to manage a Condo Association like they live there.
The Role of Management in a Condo Association
Management is the eye of the hurricane in the crazy environment of a Condo Association. They are the first people Owners talk to when they have a problem. Great Management can turn a bad situation into a minor inconvenience and win the love and admiration of Owners with a positive attitude and a “get shit done” mentality. Great Management can also ensure that the Association is strong for the future. Keeping meticulous records and good documentation always helps a Board govern effectively.
The key to great Management is to Manage a Condo Association like it’s your home – not just a job. What this means is trying to fight the urge to treat it like a “job” and instead treat it like a home. This is a very tall, and perhaps almost unfair request. After all, it is just a job. But what differentiates the average from the great is the willingness to go beyond.
How to Adopt an “I Live Here” Mindset
For a Manager to be at their very best, they need to approach every situation like they aren’t just a Manager but as if they are an Owner or a Board member. For example, say a Board is in the midst of a major project or special assessment. These are exceedingly stressful on all parties involved. The Board is asking for an exceedingly copious amount of documentation, far beyond what a Manager perceives as being needed.
From a “Management as a job” perspective, such documentation may seem like overkill. However, the Board’s goal is to ensure that beyond all doubt the project is captured for future records in the event there is a legal dispute or warranty challenge. For the Board, this is vital – they live there, and an error could cost the Association – and thus them, as Owners – more money. From a “job” perspective, it’s possibly unneeded work. For an Owner, it is essential.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t times when a Board is being unreasonable. But it does serve as a reminder that Association life is filled with times where a Board will demand extreme detail to protect their homes. Great Managers realize this isn’t completely driven by a pedantic Board, but rather a Board who wants to protect their homes.
Bridge the Gap
The best job performers can adopt the mindset of their customer. This doesn’t mean that Boards get a pass about being abusive or unreasonable. But it does mean that the best Managers – and the best Management companies – adopt a Board mindset so they can understand the origin of the requests. If you want to fight apathy from a Management perspective, manage a Condo Association like it is your ownl. Your Board will be grateful for it.