An effective board is one of the biggest things that sets great HOAs apart from substandard communities. The abilities and talents of the members coupled with their willingness to work peacefully together to make the community better is a perfect recipe for success. Therefore, as the director or concerned member of your HOA board, striving to build a strong and effective leadership team should be among your top priorities.
When building an effective board, it is important to consider first the people who are a part of the board. While you cannot always control who is a member on the board, you can help by attracting the right people. One of the most difficult things about an HOA board is that it is on a volunteer basis. It can be difficult to find members that are committed to the board, on time for meetings, and consistently in attendance.
In order to find and keep good board members, it is helpful to provide many incentives for residents to take an active role in their community. This can be achieved in part by placing a high value on current members. Board members will feel honored when their talents are utilized, their efforts are noticed, and they feel like they are part of a community. These three things can be achieved by noticing and using the unique talents that members possess such as accounting skills or creative skills, thanking them on a regular basis, and planning community building activities that bring the members of the board together.
When searching for new members for your board, make sure to strive for diversity. A strong board is one in which a wide range of talents is represented and utilized. A knowledge of landscaping, for instance, or a proclivity for finances can be invaluable assets in new members.
Many of the residents of your community who would be wonderful additions to your board have busy lives. It is unfair to expect anyone who is attending on a volunteer basis to spend hours cramped in a small room discussing HOA issues. Therefore, in order to strengthen your board and ease the concerns of prospective board members, keep meetings short and be upfront about time commitments. A short and well-organized board meeting is the mark of good leadership. A short meeting can be achieved by a strict itinerary with a brief time set aside for members to bring up any concerns.
Once you have a board full of strong and talented members, it is time to strengthen it from within. One of the most overlooked ways that you can do this is by providing members with education. Everyone on the board should be thoroughly knowledgeable about the HOA policies and bylaws as well as their own job descriptions. It can be helpful to offer a training seminar for new members that outlines expectations as well as gives a crash course on all of the laws and policies relating to the HOA. This will establish a firm foundation and protect against misunderstandings in the future.
A strong board is the basis for a successful community. By attracting and retaining the right members, utilizing their skills, educating them, and keeping meetings brief and effective, you can go a long way in building a board that continually improves your HOA and raises the quality of life of your residents.