A community vision is a rudder that steers the ship of your building, your community, and your association. A vision is needed in order to accomplish the community’s goals. It’s also necessary in order to create a budget each year and decide how to allocate resources to meet the needs of the community’s residents.  

So how does a board go about creating one? And what makes a good vision statement to guide a community?

Where should a board start when creating a vision for the community? 

Here’s the hard part of creating vision statements: They take time. It takes time and effort to build a really good vision statement, and it requires a lot of input. Here’s one example. A community managed by FirstService Residential decided to create a committee to draft their vision statement. The committee provided some examples that were well crafted, but rather generic. They then realized they needed to involve the rest of the membership, the residents who live in the community day to day. And so they began by talking about it at board meetings and asked for suggestions from residents. People could send in emails. What was it that made them put their hard-earned money down and buy a home in this community? The amount and variety of results they received were phenomenal. From the responses, they created a list of adjectives, descriptive words that characterized the community. They started consolidating the adjectives and created a vision statement.
It probably took six months to create the final statement, but they were very pleased with the product because everyone felt some ownership in it. It involved landscaping. It involved the maintenance of the property. It involved creating higher property values. But in essence, it described the community that they all loved.

How do you ensure the community stays on track with its vision statement?

After crafting a vision statement for the community, you want to stay on track. You've spent a lot of time crafting a statement that signifies how you want to manage the community. This is where you pull in your property management partner. They can hold the board and themselves accountable to the vision statement. Frequent check-ins will help to see how the membership and the board feel. Ask them in meetings. Did everyone veer off track because something happened that commanded all attention? It happens. Check-ins can help re-center the community.
Another way to gain input is to advertise the vision statement everywhere in the community. It's your tagline. Put it in your signature box. Place it on your agenda. Post it on boards in the elevators. That holds everyone accountable, because residents do have a part in fulfilling the vision statement. How they behave in your community and how they talk about the community is important. They can be your partners in this.

Should a community vision ever change? 

Should your community vision change periodically? Yes. They shouldn't remain static. Let's face it, things change in our world. New people move in with new ideas and the building needs to listen to their residents and update as needed. Don't be afraid of the shifts that will come. You can hang on to the treasured parts of your vision and you can enhance the other ones.

For more on Community Vision, check out our video https://youtu.be/2Do2VHs3iVc featuring Maureen Connolly, vice president of FirstService Residential, managing residential properties in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. 

Thursday July 29, 2021