If you’re on your Board, you likely joined it to do good for your community. There’s a slim chance you’re a jerk or drunk on power, but the vast majority of Condo Board members are there to do the right thing. In fact, if you’re reading this right now, I KNOW you’re a good member of your Association because you’re taking the time to read about Condo management. So allow me to introduce you to the hardest Condo Association Board Member good habit.
Being involved and being committed likely means you will have an opinion on the various topics you’ll tackle as a Board member. It likely means you have lots of good ideas for how to make your community a better place. There’s just one problem – you’re one of five, or maybe seven (God help you if it’s more than that) Board members. This means that you can’t rule by fiat – you must build consensus.
This is where the toughest part of being a Board member comes in. The bottom line is you’re not always going to get your way. Even if you have the BEST idea ever, sometimes your other Board members aren’t going to see it that way. They’re going to have other priorities or not care. The habit you need to learn? How to gracefully disengage and move the conversation along. This sounds simple, but it isn’t. One of the reason Boards can be so inefficient is that Board members dig in deep on petty positions and won’t give in. This leads to lengthy arguments over comparatively trivial items like color shades of new carpet. The bottom line – this shit doesn’t matter. To be an effective Board member, you need to know when to move the conversation along so you’re not stuck spinning your wheels on things that don’t matter.
The important distinction, as is often the case, is that this doesn’t apply for things that DO matter. If it is something critical – anything related to the Big Three – you can fight to the death if you believe the Board is going to do the wrong thing. I’ve done this a few times around sensitive issues. But for the little stuff – let it go.
There is an art to gracefully moving on. Say you have a new idea – “Hey, I think we should install a chocolate fondue fountain.” Shockingly, your fellow Board members aren’t interested. You can gracefully disengage by offering to do more research or asking your Board colleagues when the issue can be revisited in the future. You of course need to be ready that your research may be in vain, but if the topic matters to you, do the legwork and bring it back later.
As a second example, say you’re debating several options and the Board wants to drop yours from consideration. The key is to do so in a non-petulant, non-arrogant way. You can’t harumph and make it seem like you’re giving in under duress or being dramatic. One great way is to throw your weight behind someone else’s idea “I liked my idea, but on further consideration, I think someone else’s idea is better.”
Why is this habit so important? Because you need to foster and maintain a culture of productivity on your Board. You need to be able to move through issues in a timely manner, and triage the important from the non-important. Getting bogged down on trivial issues and fighting over stupid shit does not achieve this end. If your Board learns this good Condo Association Board member habit, you’ll be on your way to more efficient meetings.