Dysfunctional Condo Board? Start Your New Decade with One That’s Truly Functional

The time for making New Year’s resolutions has come and gone. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. We’re a month into our next spin around the sun, after all – there’s got to be a line in the sand somewhere! That said, while the New Year’s resolution ship may have sailed, the New Decade’s resolution ship is still moored out in the harbour (to belabour the metaphor). Here’s the catch: if you’re going to make a resolution for the entire decade, it’s got to be big. Massive, even. Now, what’s so monumental a task that it’s worthy of such an incredible commitment?

Well, if you’re a condo owner, you know the answer: whipping your Calgary- or Edmonton-based condo board into shape. “Whoa now,” we can hear you saying. “I’m looking for a New Decade’s resolution, not a New Century’s resolution!” Don’t worry, we hear you, and that’s why we’re arming you with some top-secret condo management tips to make the impossible, possible. Read on for more.

Have Your AGM – Like, Right Now

First thing’s first: when is your condo board having its 2020 Annual General Meeting? If you answered anything other than “Now,” you’re incorrect. Host that thing immediately! Not halfway through the year. Not in a month or two. Right the heck now! By holding your AGM and getting it out of the way, you set yourself up for having fewer headaches and create an easier transition for any new board members coming fresh onto the scene.

What if your incoming board members already know how it all works and are familiar with the setup and structure of things? Well, that’s great – but it’s still no reason to put off having your AGM as soon as possible. By getting the jump on your AGM, you’ll be setting any already-knowledgeable new members up for success, as opposed to having to restart everything later down the line with a whole new board if you put things off.

A plan in place can be amended – but proceeding with no plan at all is a recipe for disaster.

Align Your Board

The next step towards successfully turning your condo board around is to make sure that everyone who’s a part of things knows exactly what they’re a part of – and that involves clearly defining the primary purpose of your board and condo corporation. As part of this process, ensure that each board member’s role is properly defined, that your condo’s code of ethics (the guidelines that dictate the general conduct and actions of board members as a whole) are clear and understood, and that everyone is generally on the same page about how things should move forward.

If there’s concern or division within the board about the proper way to proceed, or if members aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on even these basic tenets and expectations…well, it might be time to switch the board up. Condo board roles and codes of ethics aren’t typically points of contention – they’re table stakes. If your board members can’t get aligned on these basic principles, then unfortunately, your best shot at success probably involves shuffling the deck a bit before moving forward.

Okay, We’ve Had Our AGM and the Board’s Onboard. Now What?

If you’ve reached the point where your AGM is in the rear-view mirror and your board is ready to rock, then the hard part’s done. You’ve set yourself down the path to condo board success, and all you need to do now is walk the line. Here’s how to follow through:

  • Plan out the rest of your meetings. That’s right: all of them. For the whooole year. Get those dates out there. Write them on the calendar – in pen. By setting meeting dates out for the rest of the year, you can count on members’ attendance, you’ll be creating a sense of structure, and you’ll be showcasing the board’s commitment to forward progress to the rest of the condo community. Plus – and this might be stating the obvious – but you’ll be setting these meetings up to ensure that they actually happen, and don’t just get kicked further and further down the line until you come to the end of the year with only a handful of gatherings on the books to show for it all.
  • Plan your year. Now that you’ve got the year’s meetings on the record, it’s worth taking the next step and actually sorting out what will be discussed during these get-togethers. Plan out the structure of the year and figure out the flow of when you’ll be discussing cyclical, recurring items such as when you’ll be sending out quote requests, when you’ll receive those quotes back, when they’ll be brought to the board for review and approval, etc. This might seem tiring, but the roadmap you’ll put together can then be used as a blueprint for subsequent annual cycles, paving the way for success for future boards and board members.
  • Plan a key topic for each meeting’s agenda. Similar to the previous step, make use of your structured annual plan to set out a key agenda item for each meeting throughout the upcoming year. One meeting might be focused on contract reviews, for example, while another is centred around the scheduling of work. By using your annual plan to inform your future meetings’ agendas, you’ll set out a clear path for condo members present and future to function smoothly and efficiently from Jan 1 all the way through to Dec 31, over and over again.
  • Your New Decade’s Resolution, Accomplished Two Months In

    There you have it, then: a detailed guide to turning your condo board from dysfunctional to functional, all with nothing more than a simple bit of planning. It all hinges on you taking that first step: scheduling out your yearly meetings, including the all-important AGM. Have a few more questions about the best way to find condo board success? Give us a shout at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd today. We’ll be happy to give you the tools you need to make 2020 the decade you turn your board around.