What Makes a Director Outstanding [Part 3] – Understanding How The Role Is DIFFERENT

What Makes a Director Outstanding [Part 3] – Understanding How The Role Is DIFFERENT

All the knowledge and experience from the working world (“day job”) can actually hinder a volunteer’s effectiveness in the world of HOA governance if the differences between the two worlds are not understood. Outstanding directors have learned that much of what worked for them in their day job will likely work poorly in the context of board governance. The chain of command is completely different in a community association. In the workplace, there is usually a person who is the “big boss”, somebody who is your immediate supervisor, and someone who you supervise. In the association, no single person is in charge. Decisions are made by the board, so the chain of command is horizontal and not hierarchical. The president in a common interest development is not the “big boss.” The president has far less power in most nonprofit corporations since all important decisions are made by the board, and so the president’s vote is no more important than any other. In this very different paradigm, the individual director typically has no personal power. Once directors embrace the framework of the board as decision-maker, they understand that they cannot make individual promises. This restraint can be very freeing since no individual is responsible for the association and its actions, as all decisions is made by board vote. So, when confronted at the pool or parking garage by homeowners demanding action, the director can truly say they can’t individually do anything and suggest the homeowner bring their concern to management or to a board meeting. Directors failing to adapt to the group decision-making process will often stray outside of corporate...
13 Surefire Steps to Guarantee Board Meetings Will Be Longer [Satire]

13 Surefire Steps to Guarantee Board Meetings Will Be Longer [Satire]

If board service is not difficult enough, you can crank it up a notch by making board meetings much longer. If people aren’t dozing by meeting’s end and if you’re done after 90 minutes you haven’t tried hard enough. Follow these steps to increase your chances: 1. Do not plan ahead Include everything you can think of on the agenda. Make sure you pack multiple major issues in simultaneously – don’t wait for the next meeting. 2. Avoid reading the board packet (if ever) until you arrive at the meeting Ask lots of questions about things that are in the packet or in reports attached to the packets – that way you can prove that you did not prepare and make the whole board wait while you catch up. 3. Open forum remarks should be unlimited Some HOAs have 3 minutes per speaker limits. Let people talk as much as they want (that will give you time to read your board packet). 4. Never use consent calendars Everything must be a separate motion and discussed, no matter how minor, routine, or non-controversial. 5. If other directors disagree with you, keep talking – you might wear them down Sometimes if you drone on long enough, people will occasionally back off their positions and you can delay a board vote… again and again. 6. Repetition is great Repetitious arguments or revisiting previous decisions lengthens meetings. If it’s worth saying once, it might be worth saying many times. If it’s worth saying once, it might be worth saying many times. It it’s worth saying once… 7. Push for unanimous votes and complete...

Ten Tips For Shorter Meetings

Board meetings require balance. While nobody appreciates a meeting in which brevity is the only value, unduly lengthy meetings discourage and exhaust everybody – directors, audience and manager. After about 3 hours, good concentration and judgment is hard to come by. A length of 60-90 minutes is a very reasonable and achievable goal for most board meetings. Try these tips to get there. 1. Come prepared Good managers provide boards with “board packets” in advance, helping directors come to the meeting prepared, avoiding time wasted as directors “get up to speed” about items set forth in the packet. Prepared directors are more efficient – read your packet. 2. Avoid overly ambitious agendas Watch out for the overly loaded agenda. Some issues can dominate a meeting, requiring thirty minutes or more. Try to handle only one such issue per meeting, if you can. Sometimes a board needs to meet more frequently, as there is too much to be done in one meeting. 3. Set the room up for a board meeting (not a town hall meeting) A board which sits facing the audience (and not each other) invites audience participation, but the audience was not elected to serve. The semicircle is the best shape, so the audience can hear as the directors talk – to the other directors. 4. Use open forum properly Many meetings are too long because both board and audience fail to respect open forum. During open forum the board should not interrupt, and during the rest of the meeting the audience should not interrupt. 5. Use consent calendars Most routine decisions should be handled via consent...
New Year’s Resolutions for CIDs

New Year’s Resolutions for CIDs

Happy New Year! Consider these resolutions to start the new year, which may help your common interest development association to become a more positive community. HOA director’s resolutions – We will: Be familiar with our governing documents (CC&R’s, bylaws, and rules). Communicate better and more frequently with our neighbors (members) with newsletters, web page updates or bulletins. Remember that our position is with a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, which is different than a business corporate director or officer. Unlike employees, we cannot fire our neighbors. Our corporation is also a community. Be aware that some neighbors might not know their rights and responsibilities under the law or governing documents, and that the board may need to provide patience and even education at times. Limit our board meetings to at most 2 hours, and aim for a meeting length of 90 minutes. Arrive at meetings prepared, having reviewed the agenda and all other documents provided to us. Not require unanimous votes, nor will we be offended by “nay” votes. Listen attentively during Open Forum without interrupting. Use closed executive session meetings only when clearly necessary under the law. Never forget that we serve our neighbors who entrusted us to be a director and that board service is a privilege, not a right. Be open as we can be with information or documents requested by members. We will ask “why not?” give a member information or copies, rather than “Do we have to?” Look for opportunities to establish committees, to share the workload and offer members opportunities for involvement. Join our local Community Associations Institute chapter, use its educational resources, and be...