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Tips for Setting a Strata Corporation’s Goals

To maximize the effectiveness of a strata corporation, councils must make goal-setting an annual task. With the council’s responsibility to maintain and, ideally, improve the community, creating goals can provide a roadmap to ensure that happens. Goals help keep you on track, accountable, financially sound, and much more. The following are some expert tips for setting Strata goals.

Review your governing documents and consult with your strata manager and legal counsel as applicable.

A critical first step is to review—and abide by—your strata governing documents. The governing documents highlight which decisions can be made behind closed doors versus those that must be discussed in an open forum. Your council must confirm that its vision aligns with what’s mandated within the pages of those documents.

Equally important, make sure your goals comply with existing or new legislation on the federal, provincial, and local levels. If you have concerns or questions about the legalities of what you’re proposing, consult with your strata manager who will follow up with  legal counsel . They have the expert knowledge to help guide you with both short- and long-term goals. 

Ensure your budget can cover expenses.

The financial stability of a strata corporation is one of the most significant factors to consider before setting any goals. Review your strata corporations financial statements and contingency reserve funds (CRF) and confirm that the existing budget can support your goals. If not, evaluate if the goal is important enough to merit a special levy or other funding options, like a CRF loan.

Seek input from homeowners.

Goals are a great way to promote better relationships with residents. When you ask for their input during goal planning, it shows that your council values transparency regarding progress and achievement. Ways in which you can involve community members include:

  • Asking if your goals for the strata corporation align with what homeowners perceive to be the highest-priority factors.
  • Communicating changes to the goals as you go.
  • Setting meetings intended to gather feedback from  owners.
  • Forming a committee to assist in the goal-planning process.

Be SMART about it.

SMART is an acronym that’s widely used for goal setting in corporate and management environments. Designed to help streamline ideas, focus your efforts, and use your time wisely, SMART criterion makes goal setting a more thoughtful endeavor. To ensure your goals are easy to follow and attainable, make each one is:

Specific. The goal must be well-defined and specific. Confirm everyone has a clear understanding of the goal, knows why it was set, who is involved, what should be accomplished, and the proposed timeline.  

Measurable. Having a measurable goal helps you track progress, correct the plan of action if needed, and demonstrate advancement to owners.

Achievable. Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Work within your resources of time, effort, and money. Setting the bar too high might leave council members feeling defeated and frustrated and owners unhappy.

Relevant. Is your goal important to maintaining or improving your community? Will achieving it make a difference? Is it something most owners want?

Time-based. Set deadlines. If it’s a long-term goal, break it into phases with deadlines for each phase. Also, take into account council members’ availability and their own time commitments.

Make a plan.

Ideally, you should set goals every year before establishing the budget. Best practice is to develop an annual strategic plan, then use that to create both long- and short-term goals. Developing a strategic plan requires extensive time and effort, but it’s a valuable tool for defining priorities and desired direction and allocating resources appropriately.

A strategic plan will help you determine which goals are most critical, how others should be prioritized, and whether you need additional resources, such as funding, extra staff, or new committees.

Break it down.

Goal-setting becomes easier when you break it down into three “buckets” of goals: annual essential goals, improvement goals, and meeting or communications-related goals.

ANNUAL ESSENTIAL GOALS

These are the mainstay items that belong on your goal list every year. Examples include verifying that governing documents are properly amended and in compliance, preparing the annual budget, managing special levy assessments, and preparing for tax returns and any upcoming audits.

MAINTENANCE & IMPROVEMENT GOALS

These range from routine maintenance of common areas to major improvements like a remodeled pool area or dog park.

  • Request homeowner input on bigger initiatives. You might get some great ideas, new volunteers, and improved relationships with the community you serve.
  • Create a preventative maintenance plan that addresses the strata’s most critical components.
  • Review existing vendor contracts to see if they’re still competitive and necessary.

COMMUNICATION GOALS

Improving communications with homeowners, vendors, and fellow council members is always beneficial, as it leads to more satisfied owners, better cost control, and more effective collaboration. Some worthwhile communications goals include:

  • Establishing a communications policy, including a fire safety policy and a process to relay emergency alert information, such as natural disasters and major power outages.  
  • Creating a formal strata complaint process for homeowners.
  • Reviewing existing processes to repair strained relationships. 
  • Investing in technology as needed. Make it as easy as possible for homeowners to pay fees or report issues online to save both their time—and your time.