- October 26, 2019
- Posted by: Scott Setterlund
- Category: associations, Business plans, communities, Community, Economics, Finance & accounting, HOA
Every Idaho homeowner’s association has a culture that defines its values and vision, regardless what effort is put into it or not.
Board members who are tasked to manage their HOA have a huge responsibility to influence their community’s well-being. Unfortunately, their primarily focus is to collect dues and enforce the rules. They often overlook the importance of addressing their community’s health. After all, it is the collective behavior of your neighbors that creates a community’s culture. To be able to influence a community in a positive way, HOAs need to go back to basics.
There are many methods to create a positive culture, and here are proven techniques for Board members to implement.
Determine what your community values the most
An HOA values do not have to be the same each year, but they do need to be reviewed over time. Incoming HOA Boards should start the new year by brainstorming their community values and goals, and get collective feedback during this process.
When the community values are determined as a team, and gets each Board member engaged into identifying what elements are related to the well-being of their neighborhood. Likewise, homeowners are more likely to participate when their values are reflective of the values of the Board. This leads to a collective agreement of shared values.
We are not talking about random chats by the coffee machine. We are talking about focusing on positive messages that can assist in encouraging a positive community culture.
Communication is a fundamental human need, and Board members need to communicate effectively in order to build a supportive relationship that could assist in excelling a homeowner’s inputs or contributions.
Homeowner feedback is important as it shows the Board is interested to know how the association can improve and do better.
Any constructive feedback is good; it assists with the performance of the Board and helps to understand what areas need work or are lacking. Association feedback makes the community better by listening to homeowners and helping them to become more effective neighbors.
Care and concern
People want to feel appreciated and contribute to their neighborhood’s well-being. When values are shared by a community, a homeowner will spend more time addressing their role in their community, i.e., greeting fellow neighbors, complying with their community rules and more likely to engage in neighborhood activities.
When Boards show concern, it shows that the HOA is more concerned about the well-being of the neighborhood, rather than rules or paying dues.
Knowing their roles
It is good to be a ‘jack of all trades;’ however, it is better to be master at one.
To create a positive community culture includes knowing the roles of being a Board member, and assisting new Board members to be better or learn a new set of skills. Be the HOA that wants their community to thrive.
Honestly – nobody likes a bully. There are some HOAs that consist of hundreds of homeowners and it is hard to keep track of every person, their personal traits and character. So, Board members need to be sensitive to their environment, the tone of their community’s feedback and quickly address people who are always negative. Do not tolerate bullying, ever. A Board must stamp it out immediately and communicate HOA expectations clearly.
Welcoming new ideas
When you allow or encourage homeowners to brainstorm new ideas for their association, they will realize their thoughts and ideas are equally as important to them as well as to their association. This allows homeowners to have a sense of contribution and encourages further engagement. Strive to create a supportive environment in the neighborhood that nurtures personal and community growth.
Homeowners deserve the best when they have provided you with the best that they could possibly do. Boards often neglect to give credit and recognition when it is due, even if it is just a pat on the back. Acknowledging simple deeds can also motivate other homeowners to contribute.
Making it a routine
It is demoralizing when a Board only focuses on the negative aspects of their community or fails to include community activities or acknowledge the positive attributes of their neighborhood.
Rules are meant to be broken; some rules at least. When an association provides flexibility, homeowners tend to feel less threatened and become more committed to their neighborhood. Giving homeowners the freedom to explore different methods or solutions allows more creative and innovative ideas or alternative solutions to a problem.
Seriousness aside, let’s add a little humor to group contributions. By adding a little ‘fun’ at a HOA meeting, homeowners will feel less defensive and relaxed. Adding humor also makes the meeting more productive as it increases creativity and fosters positive contribution. After all, laughter is the best medicine and it does bond people closer.
Any HOA should want to succeed and become better year after year. But for an association to succeed, a Board must consider the well-being of their neighborhood, and seek to create a positive community culture.
Idaho homeowners want a thriving community that is not only about collecting dues and enforcing rules. They want to feel wanted, needed and valued in their community, and they want their neighborhood to be a fun and safe environment. If you create a positive community culture, your homeowners will find reasons to look to build and contribute to their neighborhood. For more information on how you can create a good HOA neighborhood culture, contact MGM Association Management at (208) 846-9189 or go to www.gomgm.com.