What Are Your Goals for Your Board and Your Association in 2013?
I spent the first weekend of the New Year with my business partners on a business planning retreat in St. Maarten. Let me tell you, we went into the retreat prepared. Financials printed with enough copies for everyone. Check. Law firm check-up from the Florida Bar. Check. We all showed up ready to meet specific objectives – finalize 2013 budget, enumerate 2013 goals, discuss growth and our plans to meet expansion. Man we were busy. But not too busy for the “ah ha” moment.
Here is what we figured out. We make a point to spend time working on our business, not just in it. We know we must revisit our mission, vision and values each year and then define our goals, plans and budget to support those in order to succeed. We invest a lot of time training to be better entrepreneurs, better leaders of business. Why not share this with our clients? Associations are businesses yet no one treats them as a business. Sure the accountants and attorneys follow specific rules, laws and regulations, but in the end no one asks “what are the goals for your association and your board for 2013 and how can I (vendor) make those goals happen?”
I admit that I hadn't thought to view our clients as such. I have often lamented that boards are comprised of volunteers without time to fully participate, and even if they do, boards often are not prepared nor provided any direction or training on how or what to do in their respective positions. The perceived lack of time I cannot control; however, I can actually do something about the latter.
Why not reframe the experience of board membership? Instead of simply thinking of it as a thankless job that provides little praise and plenty of complaints, imagine what the experience would be like if you viewed it like a business, even your own business. Imagine the possibilities.
Now I'm sure you are worried that those who view it like their own business would be the very definition of “condo commando.” My suggestion is not to create a dictatorship. Rather view this as a business – from the perspective of an owner. Not just any owner, a successful owner. What is successful? In my humble words, a successful owner is one who creates prosperity, a healthy working environment, and enhances the community, which they serve. Associations can easily be measured the same.
If any of this resonates with you, I encourage you to take it back to your board to discuss. Why not kick off this year with some strategy sessions to define the goals for the association? Brainstorm the following questions: Why do you participate? What is the role of our association? What is the board seeking to accomplish? What legacy do we want to leave as a result of our participation?
For some associations this may be financial stability. For others, it might be keeping the kids in the neighborhood from vandalizing common elements. Others might want to beautify. Figure out what you want to achieve as a board. Set action items that need to be accomplished to meet those goals. Assign one or more persons to accountable for each action. Take charge and move forward.
Be a board that comes together and plans for 2013 by identifying the needs of the community,and then creating action items that produce a positive result. What an opportunity to create!
Here's what I hope you will find a compelling call to action: I'm available – not just available EXCITED and EAGER – to facilitate a planning session with any current, former or new clients. I'm personally going to reassess and improve how our law firm communicates with our clients. If we change the conversation, our clients may change how they view their roles. Here's to a successful and fulfilling 2013!