Success By Committee: Five Ways to Make it Happen

No one strata corporation is the same as they are composed of each council member’s unique characters. Like strata corporations, the individual committees also differ in what they are to accomplish. However, a committee can provide a positive, negative, or so-so experience. Depending on which part of the spectrum you have fallen in in the past, there are still ways to make sure your next committee has the focus, drive, and productivity levels that can be an asset to your strata corporation. 
 
One thing is sure: any committee can be a wildcard. They're made up of regular people after all, and thus become a melting pot of different characteristics and ways of thinking. With proper structure and guidelines, this can be taken as an advantage as committees can be instrumental in assisting both the strata council and ownership as a whole. The best strata management company is essential in helping to make this process a reality. 
 
To have the most successful committee, these five steps are a great way to make it happen: 
 

1. Determine the type of committee.

When determining the type of committee, there are two main types. The first is a standing (or permanent) committee responsible for handling ongoing tasks and responsibilities such as the budget and finance committee, security committee, and the social committee. The second is called an ad hoc (or temporary) committee. This is a more "impromptu" committee as they handle short-range issues such as landscaping, government relations, and the owner/resident relations committee. Depending on where you live, this can be a determining factor in what committee you establish. For Lower Mainland communities, it may be beneficial to create an earthquake committee committed to handling the proper preparation and evacuation protocol in case of an emergency. As a side note, your committees will usually function only in an advisory capacity. Depending on the bylaws, they can help you navigate the type of committee you can form and what powers they have. Depending on a strata management company helps determine which one is most effective for your strata corporation. 
 

2. Look for the right kind of people.

Committee members are often what makes or breaks the committee. Not everyone can handle the commitment that being on a committee requires. Yet, some of the people who do not think that they are "committee material" often turn out to be excellent members. This is because of the qualities that being a committee member includes. This means having the time and passion (to a reasonable degree) about a specific topic affecting their strata community. Having the knowledge or skills related to a committee's purview is the quintessential candidate.
 
A good example is a Chartered Professional Accountant who runs for a budget and finance committee. On paper, they are incredibly qualified to be a representative of this team because they have years of experience under their belt to provide expert opinions. However, if they have their own firm and are working late hours most days of the week, they will be unable to fulfill their duties to the best of their abilities. Often, new residents make good committee members because they have a fresh perspective, and being on a committee is an excellent way of stitching them into the community's fabric. Regardless of who you choose, always remember that a committee should be made up of three to nine members (odd numbers avoid a tie vote). All of them should understand the difference between their interests and the needs of the strata corporation. 
 

3. Be careful when choosing your chair. 

Choose the chair of your committee very carefully. As chair, they will oversee all of the decisions that the committee decides to make. They should possess all of the qualities you look for in a committee member, with leadership being a top quality. The leader should be someone who can handle tough situations with care, carry the committee to respectful dialogue, and foster an air of open collegiality. An important quality of a chair leader is someone experienced in leading a group of people, creating a targeted and specific plan, and holding the committee to it. Consult with your strata management company, and they can help you vet your candidates. 
 

4. Don’t make being a committee member a dull job. 

You should know that being on a committee is not always going to be a straightforward process, and there will be some hardship. As a council member, ensure you have your other members prepared and set up for their own success. Your strata management company can supply you with trustworthy strategies for maximizing committee effectiveness. Here are a few to consider: First, help the committee determine the most convenient times for everyone. The worst thing to hear is "I can't make it" from committee members. As a committee, create clear and measurable objectives and do not let them become overwhelmed with tasks. Be fair and understanding when determining timelines. Lastly, be firm in the goals you set for your committee and what they are meant to achieve for the strata corporation and owners. 
 

5. Don’t forget about communication!

Speak to a strata management company about establishing clear communication channels, both within the committee and from the committee to board. During meetings, all notes taken down should be shared with the board, especially if there is an action required soon after. Once a report is drafted, all committee members should have a chance to review it before it is submitted to the board. As a board, always task committees with objectives consistent with the best interests of the corporation and your community. Being clear in your feedback can only make the committee better, so don't be scared to provide constructive criticism.
 
When the wheels turn most effectively, committees are extremely rewarding for the individuals who serve on them. Choosing the committee that best interests you to be involved in each process is the first step. The best strata management company can guide you to make all of this happen. 
 
FirstService Residential, North America's leading property management company, can help. To help position your committee for success, contact FirstService Residential today.

Want to read more articles like this? Join our mailing list and we’ll send them right to your inbox! Simply fill out the form below: