Four tips to Manage decision-making in a community association.
DISCOVER SAFER WAYS TO MANAGE DECISION-MAKING IN A COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
When it comes to management and decision-making within a community association, it all comes down to prevention and foresight. Oftentimes the people that act as decision-making members of the board have regular day jobs and are not professionally trained in group management. Therefore, it is essential for them to know their rights, risks, and responsibilities when making choices on behalf of a large group of individuals.
In an ideal situation, solving or addressing issues within a community association should be done precisely as the name implies — as a “community.” The truth of this is not always the case though. Even the most well-intentioned managerial decisions can sometimes run the risk of leaving other members of the association feeling marginalized or overlooked.
In these cases, it is important that the members of the association know that they have options to help protect themselves in case another member of the community becomes disgruntled and decides to take personal legal action.
A common example of this type of claim falls under the description of “discrimination,” and while entirely subjective and hard to prove or disprove, any legal action issued can lead to both financial and emotional distress for the person the claims are being made against.
While every situation is different — and the “human factor” makes it impossible to protect against all potential disputes — we have compiled a short list of preventative tips that can help your customers mitigate the risk of their decisions leading to conflict.
TIPS FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION DECISION-MAKING
Follow these four preventative tips to mitigate the risk of board decisions leading to conflict.
1 - MAKE INFORMATION READILY AVAILABLE
As the board member of any community association, a handy tool is to make sure that every member of the association has all of the available information needed to make an informed decision. Share the details or figures involved in any decision that may be disputed or that will go to a vote. The more detail that is available to members, the more likely they will understand and accept the decision that is ultimately made. By sending out a brief that states facts, findings, and objectives prior to meeting, and making your meeting minutes available after, you will create transparency and enable members to feel informed of the decision-making process.
2 - SOLICIT FEEDBACK
Another useful tip is to create an open and consistent line of communication through email, association meetings, and Q&A sessions that allow the community to provide feedback on any proposed ideas or previously made decisions. This will promote the idea that people’s opinions and concerns are being heard and addressed, and will reduce the risk of members feeling overlooked.
3 - COMMUNITY VOTING
To avoid any members of the community claiming exclusion in the decision-making process, it is a good idea to facilitate a vote on proposals. Voting helps to create a feeling of cooperative decision-making. This will promote conversation throughout the community and may eliminate or reduce any perception of personal discrimination. It’s important to document votes, feedback, and any additional information you may have collected, to show you’ve taken into consideration association members’ opinions and to dispel suspicion of board members acting in an authoritative way.
4 - TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN MONEY IS INVOLVED
One of the most important things to acknowledge is taking caution when making decisions regarding financial investments or spending. Make sure to enact all the tips mentioned above in the process. Ensure that all members of the association understand that the final decision was a democratic one. Compulsion to blame is mitigated when you are careful to consider feedback from multiple sources.
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