One of the worst habits of condo boards is the desire to bicker and debate issues which the board is wholly unqualified to answer. Nothing is more eye roll-inducing from board meeting attendees than hearing people who have no idea about a technical subject – say, concrete – debate for a half hour. This is not efficient or productive. This is the age of the internet, and there are numerous ways to solve problems in a condo association by leveraging the expertise of others. If you want to be productive and efficient, here are some condo association problem-solving strategies to improve your meetings.
Ask Your Management Directly
Your first line of defense for any problem should be to ask your management directly if your association is professionally managed. As an individual, your building manager may have past experience solving a similar problem. If they are part of a larger firm, it’s possible one of their colleagues has dealt with it. But the bottom line is you pay for them, and they should help you.
Great management should offer solutions independently. Unfortunately, some managers aren’t great. Equally unfortunate, some boards are sufficiently toxic that management doesn’t want to opine without being asked. Either way, a solid condo association problem-solving strategy is to start with advice you’ve paid for.
Let Me Google That For You
The next step is to look into Googling a solution. This works best when you’re trying to debate nuances of a law or policy, or maybe ideas for your social committee. It is less effective when you’re dealing with a technical issue like elevator repair. But the internet has a huge swath of resources available, all for free. Rather than sitting around arguing over something, break out those magic machine called smartphones or laptops and see what’s already out there.
Engage with Technical Representation
Most condo associations have a stable of experts either on retainer or a phone call away. These people literally exist for condo association problem-solving advice. So you could spend 30 minutes talking out of your rear end on a topic you have no expertise on – say, for example, roofing – or you could ask your management to call your engineer and ask them to give you options. That is, of course, what you pay them for, right? Then you can spend your time debating a path forward instead of dreaming up solutions you’re unqualified to propose.
Save Your Time for Things That Matter
The goal of a board is to set the best path forward in a decision, weighing the pros and cons. For many issues, you will need to rely on a paid professional to outline those solutions. Your time is precious. Running meetings effectively should be your goal. Be disciplined, manage time well, and you’ll lead a better condo life.