The essence of condo or homeowners association management is making decisions. A Board of Directors (BoD) is constantly required to evaluate alternatives and make choices regarding a wide range of issues that impact their association. Therefore, it goes without saying that successful boards are good decision makers. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they only make good decisions, but rather that they can make bold, timely decisions, and they are not afraid to make adjustments along the way, as needed. They place a high priority on being fast and not necessarily always being 100% right. Although you may think it is risky to make a quick, and possibly incorrect, decision, the reality is that timeliness is crucial in today’s ever changing and equally challenging environment for any business, including an association.
The focus of this book is on how to make rapid and effective decisions in an association environment. Speed is the name of the game and you will find that it can prevent and solve many ills of your association. But, it must carefully be intertwined with simplicity and self-confidence. By simplifying your association’s management and decision making processes and instilling confidence in the decision makers, you create the foundation for sound decision making and a well-run association.
Although many people can gain valuable insights from this book, it is specifically targeted towards the people primarily responsible for making decisions in a condo or homeowner association, including; BoD members, a Management Company Manager, and Committee Chairpersons. The objective is to help you make timely decisions and effective decisions -- particularly in the face of uncertainty. This book will provide you with:
- An understanding of why rapid decision making is important to you and your association
- Necessary steps needed to create the right decision making environment
- Tools and tips for making a rapid decisions and evaluating ideas
- Business processes and templates to simplify your association decision making process
You will likely find this book to be different from other business books. It is not going to give you a horde of analytical research, detailed information on a multitude of topics related to decision making, or an array of options to help you fit every potential situation that you may face. However, it will give you a simple solution that has been tried and tested and found to work the overwhelming majority of time. This recommended approach does not represent itself to the perfect solution to all decision making situations. There are too many variables and there are plenty of resources out there to give you all the research proof, empirical data, complex decision making models, or human behavior studies that you may ever need or want. But, in spirit of the 80/20 rule, I will give you 20% of the information to solve 80% of your problems.
This book has as its foundation several best practices, operating tactics, and winning strategies that have a strong track record of success in many different types of businesses and world-class organizations. They are solid. Most of the time, they will be operating in the background and you may not even notice that they are been used. But, rest assured that the techniques and processes being offered in the book are grounded in sound theoretical research and have withstood the test of time. A detailed discussion of each of these principles can be found in Appendix A.
- 80/20 Principle. Taken literally, in the case of managing a condo or homeowner association, this means that 80 percent of what you achieve comes from 20 percent of the time spent.
- Waste elimination. A key principle in any Lean system, it strives to eliminate any activity that is wasteful and doesn't add value or is unproductive.
- Customer Relationship Management. Customer Relationship Management is the management of customer communication over a relationship continuum. It includes specific efforts to build relationships between a BoD and association members, who are treated as "customers" for everything that they do.
- Decision Theory, Human Behavior, and Group Dynamics. In the context of decision making, this can be regarded as the mental processes (cognitive process) resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision-making process produces a final choice with the output being an action or an opinion of choice.
- Open Communication. Developing a climate in which you and your members are open with information is critical for your association and BoD to function effectively.
- Clear Roles and Responsibilities. Some BoD members may not have prior experience in their role, while others may have held similar positions but must learn how to adapt to the unique needs of a particular association. As with any effective team, BoD members can’t perform effectively if role questions or overlaps are present.
- Establishment of Several Key Business Processes. Key business processes are those processes which have maximum impact on the success of an association. Whether they're formal or informal, documented or not, they define how a business works.
- Decision Packages. A decision package is an aid for BoD's to make decisions and contains the key facts that should be known about an issue and a recommended course of action, all put together in a very condensed package.
- Completed Staff Work. Completed staff work is the study of a problem, and presentation of a solution, by an association member (or designated person), in such form that all that remains to be done on the part of the BoD is to indicate approval or disapproval of the completed action.
- Nemawashi. Nemawashi is the Japanese practice of informally sounding out people’s ideas about a project or a course of action before a formal proposal is drawn up..