Does your association have a plan for recruiting capable, engaged homeowners?
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Prosperous business organizations have a succession plan that is built into their corporate strategy. Associates with leadership qualities are developed throughout their time with a company so that they can be set up for success when placed in roles with higher responsibilities. This is an effective support system for handling a turn over and developing team members within an organization.

The same method applies in developing a resilient community association board. And while the current board and management are unable to focus on developing any one specific homeowner (as every owner/shareholder is eligible to run for a board position), there are always opportunities through which potential leaders can increase their chances. Having a strong presence in the community by joining a committee is a great way to create visibility; they can also become more familiar with certain roles of the board.

But How can one ensure that future board members are well-qualified and prepared to take the reins and lead your community as they should? The key is to start well before the idea of running for the board takes shape in a homeowner’s mind. It starts with education. Here are some tips to encourage the birth of a great board member.

The more knowledge and awareness one has when undertaking a particular role will only assist in making the entire board more successful. Identifying specific responsibilities and understanding expectations will ease the transition into this position. Here are some pointers in succession planning to ensure you have a smooth transition of board members.

Encourage participation.

It is in your best interest to engage as many interested homeowners as possible. After all, you never know who the next board member may be. We all know there is no shortage of opinionated individuals out there, but which one of them can actually influence change? Implementing the ideas of the community can be a great challenge and not everyone can take that on. Seek out residents who are interested in volunteering or joining committees within the community. You can also get involvement from other homeowners and invite their participation at meetings. As the community begins to work together, you will be able to identify those confident achievers who will be able to take on the role of being a community leader and future board member.

Give them the tools they need.

The only way one can learn the various roles of a board member or even how to be a part of a committee is through learning. This takes some time through training and observation. As homeowners participate in volunteer activities in the community, current board members have the opportunity to share their knowledge. This time spent with fellow homeowners is a great way to gauge whether their interest has been sparked, and if they would make a good board member. The sole interest and engagement of wanting to be a part of the community is a great sign.  Providing training to your volunteers is key! You can’t expect people to just know these things. Offer refresher courses to veteran committee members and provide them with documents they will need to effectively fill their role. They need to understand the governing documents and have a good understanding of ongoing projects and challenges in the community.  Good community association management companies consistently provide training services to board members and volunteers, so look to yours for help.

Provide the right experience.

As volunteers become involved with the community and join committees, be sure to assign them meaningful tasks. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than to lead a project and see it through to completion. Once someone has been given the opportunity to develop, they will be more successful and become inspired to do it more frequently. Then you will both reap the rewards of success and you can then delegate even more important tasks to them. Remember it is important to set clear expectations of their role and responsibilities. When you create structured guidelines for decision making and examples of what follow through looks like, a clear path is made for committee members to follow and they will be successful in their role. When volunteers are shown the proper way to make decisions, they will be more engaged while they are devoting their time implementing innovative ideas and solutions. Teach them how to effectively assert their authority, and what steps to take when they report to the board at large.

Say thanks.

A little recognition goes a long way. Don’t forget to say thank you. When people feel appreciated, they are more likely to give back and do more. Volunteers will continue to stay engaged if they feel like their time is being put to good use. An experienced volunteer will one day make a great board member.  There are several ways to show your gratitude. You may choose to do it in a formal manner, post in on a community board or even include an announcement section in your newsletter. If you have a great community association management company, they’ll be full of interesting ideas on how to keep volunteers feeling rewarded.

Not only is the current goal to have a successful and efficient board, but also planning to have continued success as changes occur is gratifying. Establishing succession is a great way to achieve these results. It not only benefits the board but the community as a whole. You can contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leader in property management, for more ideas on ensuring succession for your board.

Thursday January 07, 2016