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Team Building For Condo Associations and HOAs

We all want to be successful and meet our goals, but many of us get caught in the trap of narrowing down the pathway so that it resembles a one-way street that will only accommodate a single person at a time. Guess what? Not only does that usually not work, it's not fun, and doesn't have long term rewards.

Take a look at the Chicago Bulls- excuse me, I meant to say "DA BULLS." A great leader and athlete, Michael Jordan, worked with a great TEAM, to bring the team to unsurpassed success. Notwithstanding the rigors of age, etc. when Mike moved on to another team, there weren't exactly fireworks happening. This is a good example of a single star-player not being able to provide the continual effectiveness of an entire team.

Association Management should be a team environment in order to achieve the highest rate of success. A great Board President will one day move away. A fabulous Property Manager will someday retire. The very astute Treasurer will tire of the endless hours of work with no pay, just complaints about special assessments. Such is life, and wise associations plan accordingly.

The team approach is this- the team members are the Board, the Manager, and the support staff of the Management Company. Each of the individual team members has the common goal in mind at all times. In very broad terms, the goal is usually something like "To maintain, preserve, and protect the assets of the association" although much more detail can be included. To that end, each team member works in conjunction with the others to produce the very best results possible whether the task is a newsletter or new roofs.

The individual team members each have certain duties that they must perform in order to bring a project to closure. The Property Manager is usually the advisor and researcher and is assisted administratively by support staff that may type, copy, and distribute information on the manager's behalf, to the members of the association. The Board is the decision maker and enforcer. After reviewing the research done and the documentation created by the Property Manager and the support staff at the management company, the Board makes decisions on the owners' behalf. Once decisions are made, the Property Manager and support staff implement the decisions made by the Board.

This approach is successful in many ways. It takes the burden and spreads it amongst several individuals, diminishing the instances of burn out of board members and managers. It broadens the scope of input and it assures the association members that informed decisions are preceded by due diligence.

The team approach mimics the old saying "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." We all know what happens when the basket tips over! Spread the workload and responsibility and you also spread the rewards of a job done well. If the Property Manager retires or the Board President moves away, there will still be others on the team that are well prepared to go forward with a new team member, creating a success story with longevity.

Management companies want every staff member to meet the high standards that are its company's standards in order to ensure the future of the business and secure long lasting business relationships. Boards that operate with a majority of "weak links" and only one or two active and involved members will not have long lasting success or relationships, as there always comes a time when those very involved people leave for one reason or another and then there is no leader, no link to the past, no plan for the future.

Recognizing that nothing lasts forever is a good start to building a team that can achieve success year after year. Share the knowledge, share the responsibility, and you will share ongoing success. Let a super-hero lead the team if you have one handy, but keep tabs on those on the bench waiting to get in the game. Involve them too so that when the time comes, and it will, your association will be prepared.

Christine Evans, PCAM, CMCA, Association Times, October 2004


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