What it takes to be an effective board member

Hi I’m Betsy Barbie and this is Cam Matters come join us today as we talk About what it takes to Be an Effective Board member and we might even talk About things like transparency and being Stiff-necked come join us Welcome to cam matters condos co-ops HOAs and Beyond Betsy barbiew is an informational leader In Florida on Community Association Living rights and obligations she is an Expert on the rights and obligations of Owners as well as the association if you Live or are planning to live in the State of Florida there’s a good chance You’ll be part of a Community Association and by the end of this show You’ll know a little bit more about Community associations and why they Matter Welcome to this edition of Cam matters I’m Suzanne Lynn with Betsy Barbie and Today yeah I love all our topics and Episodes please I’m currently talking About personalities and what Characteristics make up an effective Board member Betsy this is going to be Fun oh wow For this topic and why what was your Inspiration for this one Oh just a couple of really rough Meetings in the last month or two yeah And uh and also my uh editor Michael hi Uh uh for the magazine said can you talk

About what makes a good board member and Transparency and you know all those Kinds of things and I said okay And eventually I’ll write him an article But I thought maybe we’ll do a show First sure let’s start with a low Hanging fruit where when you go okay Well I’m being voluntold that I’m going To be a board member Um would you say the very low hanging Fruit is having available time Yes Yes and and being willing to be involved Not just Be a Uh filler on a seat being told you’re Going to be on that plane and I I had a Actually had an attorney call me Yesterday who had been elected to his Board of directors and uh he’s he’s a Personal injury attorneys not related Doesn’t he doesn’t do any kind of work In our community associations and so I Said oh condolences And he said yeah that’s what I’m being Told I’m thinking he might need his Personal injury firm Yes You’ve been to some meetings That’s funny but Um the availability of having time Having an interest And And you know I just kind of based on the

Last couple of months which seemed to Have been kind of rough with um boards And things not not mine not my little Boards but some others that I work with Um Being coming into the board without a Personal Agenda of I’m going to fire the Manager or Um or I’m I’m going to make sure that my The my building gets cleaned first this Time instead of the other president’s Building getting clean first uh or I Don’t like that long contractor I want To hire my nephew so not coming in with A personal agenda and and Being willing to learn that this is a Huge industry the decisions that board Members make Are for multi-million dollar Corporations and if you don’t think that You’re a board member of a multi-million Dollar Corporation then just do the math Take the value of a unit or a home Just pick pick one Three hundred thousand Multiply it times the number of units or Homes in that Community even if it’s Only a dozen Much less 3 000 homes or units wow we Have something with more zeros than I Know what to do with and add to that the Value of the common property And add to that your budget amount and Add to that the amount of your Reserves

And you have something with I don’t even Know how many zeros that is I don’t know What kind of number that is but it’s a Huge value that you’re managing so You should take it seriously right you Should you should be open-minded and and I think it might have been in that last Show I used that word willful ignorance Um or that phrase but you need to be Willing to learn because the the Information is Limitless that you need To learn And you need as many professionals and As much networking in the industry as You can get to help you know what to do Right it’s it’s Limitless information And also it’s ever changing with Diversity and the laws right and and Like uh the collapse of the Champlain Towers uh A year or two ago now the then we have All these new laws and they’re rewriting The new laws as we speak now so yeah wow You know they’re changing them still so Every year the laws change and and are a Reaction to something that has happened In the industry so you need to be Willing to learn and and coming in with A an inquisitive mind I don’t mean open Like empty but coming in with an Inquisitive mind of wanting to learn More And without a lot of preconceived I’m Gonna change this time right right right

That isn’t that’s going to be a benefit To no one it’s almost attitude it could Be a an overarching characteristic so as I’m looking at some of the ones that you Sent to me being consistent having Having a personality where you can be Consistent is important to Be an Effective board leader because The there’s a lot of routine And you need to be consistent in that You can schedule board meetings and Other volunteer time on the board so you Need to be able to be available And then show up when you say you will Do what you say you’re going to do yeah Um next one is about being fair and I Think you really touched on that about Coming in with preconceived ideas and Showing favoritism Well my two Neighbors On each side I’ll let them slide on they Can have guests come down to the pool Without passes or whatever you know like You have to and maybe Fair Um it might not be the best word maybe Equitable uh in in that everyone gets Equal treatment We want the same outcome we want Everybody’s lawn to look nice or we want Everyone to be able to enjoy the Peaceful existence of their life and not Have a bunch of Horrible noise coming from your balcony Sure so that the rest of us can enjoy Our balconies and sometimes that must be

A difficult I mean Fair it’s easy to Just kind of skim over that but go oh You know you may be having to make Really difficult decisions about Someone’s pet you know or pets because There’s a limit like oh wait I thought I Was fair now I’m not so sure I want to Be fair yeah yeah Um The There’s a word called Equitable or a Phrase Equitable estoppel which which Means that you have to If you’re going to make one person move Their boat out of the driveway you have To make everybody move their boat out of The driveway And and you do that because The documents say no boats in the Driveway right and and that might be More of a of a case of being just Instead of fair fair says oh I’m having A really bad day and and and my car Broke down and my dog died and you know Got fired from work and blah blah blah It’s not fair that you make me move my Boat right well maybe It’s maybe not fair but it’s just Because the Community restrictions that you agreed To in writing right when you closed on Your house or your unit uh said that you Would live by all of the restrictions And so it is just too if we live next to

Your in-laws it doesn’t matter they got To get their boat out too right so One of the other um Characteristics of having an effective Board member on on board is Conscientiousness Tell me tell me what that means to you What does that word mean to you and how Does it apply to a board member Conscientiousness to me means not saying Oh don’t worry about it Um We do want to worry about it because we Are managing the assets That affect the value of other people’s Property if you were back on the back 40 And there was a big old Um Armadillo rooting around in the in in Your flower beds and out around the oak Tree out in the back and you go oh don’t Worry about it he’ll he’ll go away Eventually well here we if we’ve got a Big old armadillo rooting around in the Flower beds It it is conscientious to go look at it Get the Critter Catcher person to come Out there or set a trap and let’s move The armadillo It means taking uh concerns seriously Now not all concerns of owners are the Duty of the board to resolve but Conscientious does mean to I I don’t know Suzanne I think I keep

Going back to uh listen and learn yeah Just be willing to listen be willing to Learn I’m not telling you to change your Mind or change your actions but just Be willing to listen and be willing to Learn that seems to be a pattern in the Shows that we’ve been talking about Recently I think probably More Um Important than ever in the world that We’re living in just listen I don’t want To fight but just listen yeah So detail-oriented is one of the Characteristics you talk about that’s Important Um well that’s particularly important For the manager okay there will be some Board members on the board who are a lot More detail-oriented than the others but I believe that that needs to be a skill That the manager needs to have Um you and with detail-oriented comes Follow through Some people are good at starting Projects but they don’t finish right Some some people are not good at Starting they procrastinate Procrastinate procrastinate Procrastinate And and then but Finish Well right uh You you need to do both you need to be Able to do both a lot of managers are Self

Um starting uh I mean I mean their Actual position requires them to be Because they have absentee board members Okay and if you don’t you have to take The initiative detail-oriented to me Includes taking the initiative and Instead of sitting back and being Reactive about Um potential situations [Music] Managers I especially believe need to Have that proactive Um so this is kind of uh this is kind of A You can create in your own mind how how You are people someone might be watching This going oh well I’m detail-oriented I Remember my wedding anniversary every Year like what’s the what’s the other Side of oh oh honey no we’re talking About something you know what why is it So important what kind of things are you Talking about that they have to be Detail-oriented about Well a lot of managers do the accounting So now your your inputting uh Payments and inputting invoices paying Invoices and those uh have to be done Timely so that’s a very that’s what left Brain admin that would be that would be A left brain activity right the There are a lot of statutory deadlines For notices And one of the things that I tell new

Cams is you need to know how you work Someone else might be training you okay And and you’re learning it their way but How do you work And I don’t know if you want me to start Into that or if we’re ready to take a Break but you know what let’s let’s take A break and come back to that because I Think you got some good juicy stuff There waiting to happen so it’s a good Time to break this forever okay we’ll be Right back okay Are you ready for a new career do you Have skills or interest in management Real estate construction maintenance Accounting strategic planning project Management budgets Human Resource Management lawn and landscaping Pool Services or any other expertise needed To operate a Community Association if You do Community Association Management Could be for you for more information Feel free to email Betsy at Betsy Floridacamschools.com or visit the Florida cam schools website at Www.floridacamschools.com Florida Community Association Management Continues to grow career opportunities Abound Welcome back to the show we are talking About Characteristics that are really Important to Be an Effective board Member and Betsy I want you to pick up

Where we were because you had some juicy Stuff going on there Well you know I some people would would Say well it’s just because you’re older Um but the I know how I need to work And I have to see my work in front of me And I have to see it In Time ahead of me in front of me so Back here behind me on my work table I Have About six or seven Piles That are laid out that are the Beginnings of each of my annual meetings And then the annual corporate report Folders are under those so as soon as we Have a meeting I’ll go on and send in my Sunbiz report of the new officers and Directors But I cannot put those folders away And know to work on them I have to lay Them out And and there’s some satisfaction to me That as each one is done there’s a new Blank Spot on the table and then a clean Another clean spot and another clean Spot and another clean spot until Finally the table’s all cleaned off and All my annual meetings are done yeah This yay and This falls under the Details and and you don’t have to know On Vision yeah you you each person needs To know how they work there’s so many Deadlines especially when you’re coming

Up with budgets and annual meetings and Elections there are so many deadlines And then we’ve got then right behind That come the year-end Financials and W twos and the sunbiz Reports so we’ve got a whole lot of Deadlines between if you’re on a Calendar a year between December and May So you’ve got to get a lot of those done And then it’s time to turn around and Start working on budgets again so there Are a lot of deadlines And I cannot Um See them On my phone Okay and to have a reminder pop up every Day is not going to do me any good so You know how you work and what’s yeah I Know how I work uh keeping uh deadlines On a spreadsheet will not work for me You know I I have this chart that I use In the pre-licensing class for the Elections and annual meeting and I Literally used that chart and I copy it And I lay it out here on top of these Stacks on my table and have the Deadlines and the dates and I there There is satisfaction to me and checking Them off I’ve done that deadline that deadline That deadline other people don’t have Matters and yeah yeah I have a phone Calendar which then is on my computer

I’ve got a paper calendar and I have a Whiteboard calendar that has the whole Year on it so so being detail-oriented I Mean we’ve spent most time talking about This of all the characteristics I mean You know being conscientious and and Fair and just but detail-oriented I also See you doing work and juggling a lot of Things at one time so if you’re I think If you’re the kind of person that comes In and likes one big project and just Focus on that maybe being on the board Just watching It could be that being on the board Um is okay okay uh the manager is is Going to be the one who needs a lot of That detail Mostly and again it depends on the Community and the level of management That they have But usually the manager takes all of the Detail tasks off the board members okay It’s very very often that all of the Secretary’s duties and all of the Treasurer’s Duties are delegated to the Manager uh in a contract very glad we Clear very often that makes a lot of Sense because I see what you do yeah in Your managing you’re not a technical Board member and then uh most I must say Most maybe managers Are the point person for all vendors and Owners concerns uh point of contacts for Any of the professionals like attorneys

And CPAs they’re the point of contact Which relieves the board president of Having to field all of those owner Issues maintenance issues vendor issues Everything goes through the manager There really needs to be one point of Contact for everybody And that ends up being the manager but If there’s no manager then board members Take those roles so yes then they have To be detail-oriented and and have to Know how to keep the deadlines for the Tasks for the annual meetings and the Budget meetings and all the other Meetings that they’re doing and the Timelines for the vendors this this Slides nicely into the next Characteristic of cooperation because It’s set up on purpose not to be you Know a one-person system right right Getting along with different Personalities and you know And again if you don’t come in With the um Attitude of what was what was that uh First one there Conscientious if you don’t come in Wanting to be a part of a team If you’re if you’re going to come in and Take over and take control of everything And Bully everybody else around and not Let anybody else on the board have an Opinion it’s not going to go well it’s a Team sport sure and I want to keep

Trekking along because I know this next One is super important I hear you talk About it all the time and it’s bored Transparency Transparency I hear a lot of that and and Um I think I keep trying to figure out what the Real issue is what what people are Really saying when they say transparency And I think a lot of it has to do with Communication from the board to the Membership The There’s also a misunderstanding And I think that’s where some of the of The Um just Or unhappiness with the level of Transparity transparency comes with some Misunderstanding one of the shows we did Before was on corporations The board of directors manages the Community not the members That’s misunderstood For some reason members think that they Get to make all the decisions right and They don’t And so part of it starts with the wrong Theory the wrong point of view members Don’t make the decisions all they do is Elect the people who do the members Elect the board and the board makes it

Operational and management decisions They’re not really obligated to tell the Owners all of their thought processes Throughout the days and weeks and months Now members owners are permitted to come To the board meetings both the board Meetings are not for them right they’re Not informational meetings right And somehow owners think that they are Right but they are absolutely not Informational meanings these are the Meetings for the board to get their work Done now what I’m not saying Is that Boards Should not I’m not saying boards Shouldn’t communicate with their owners Right there needs to be communication But not at the board meeting And whether Communities have websites or if they Have newsletters or if they have other Social opportunities like coffee and Donuts on Tuesday morning at nine O’clock and or chats with the manager or Wine and cheese with the board board Members you know at five o’clock on Thursdays whatever those other Opportunities for communication might be By all means have them right but but I Think the the Transparency Unhappiness Comes from a misunderstanding because I

Think they’re expecting members are Expecting to Quiz the board at all the board meetings Right and and be involved in the Decision making and they they are not Now once the board does make decisions They’re minutes for those decisions Right and owners uh have access to Minutes so they can certainly attend the Meetings listen to those and With limitations they may make comments To designated agenda items but there’s No Town Hall free for all q a kind of Thing that that is contemplated by the Statute And I think when boards stick to Business and don’t go off into all this Other conversation of q a and all of That I think when they don’t do that is When owners think they’re not being Transparent but that that’s a Misunderstanding of what is a board Meeting Very very insightful that’s that’s Really good Um so some of the other ones want to Kind of get through able to delegate be Able to ask for help be adaptable the One I want to kind of wrap up with the 10 characteristics of effective board Members is being thick-skinned why is That important I called somebody stiff neck the other Day

Wow okay again it it’s the listen and Learn Um or maybe learn maybe not learn but Just listen you know I I don’t know it’s It’s interesting to me that when um Someone has an opinion about something You know just a two-way conversation Someone has an opinion and the the one Talking is giving their opinion and the One listening is trying to think of how To argue against it Not even listening right And they’re not they’re not listening They’re they’re thinking of what can I Say next and they’re waiting to Interrupt so that they can give their Opinion And so so then they end up talking over Each other and neither one of them Has understood what the other one said Now there’s a difference in hearing And understanding Right and you might have heard that the Other person was talking but you were Talking so loud over them you didn’t Understand what they said and I I don’t I don’t know I’m certainly not perfect Um but I have become aware of this skill And you are skinned yeah well I am thick-skinned I’m stiff neck too no No but you don’t take things personally Because people you’re dealing with so Many different personalities Um and tempers

Can flare you know and I don’t expect That about you are you are thick skin You are able to keep your composure and Say now look I know that you’re upset You know but that that is important The but when someone has an opinion Different different than yours here’s Here’s what the point that I think I Would like to make or end with Is that The person listening should say tell me More tell me tell me how you come to That conclusion tell me tell me there’s Something else that you know about this That I don’t tell me more What’s wrong with that The world would be a better place if we Just implemented that today in our lives Just that’s all we do yeah and I think What I just said to that person is I Want to understand you more right And if I understand you more and and Maybe you reciprocate maybe we could Actually Do business together or at least not You know make some problems right yeah Which by the way we need to address real Quick on this show how that happened Oh I’d still have the black eye yeah Yeah Um Jim and I haven’t figured out how to Kiss yet That’s right where is 10 hits In Fairness you were doing yoga and trying

To I don’t know I was doing my little Aerobics thing aerobics okay he was Trying to kiss me goodbye one morning And I wasn’t going to stop And we dodged each other the wrong way Well we hope that you’re feeling better And that you know that gets cleared up It’s a great story and you know a lot of Us are jealous that you’re smooching on The way out the door you know I was gonna say well I had a facelift And it went bad no but obviously I Didn’t have a facelift you’re beautiful Betsy I love this one and and we love Getting into the personalities and Talking about more than just the Technical but the emotional and the Heart behind what it takes to be you Know a community manager and and to sit On a board so thank you so much we Appreciate it yeah and be sure to share This information if you’re part of a Community living Um there is so many great shows and Important information people need to Know so thank you for joining us for cam Matters and we’ll see you on the next Show bye thank you for listening to cam Matters be sure to subscribe so you Don’t miss any future episodes for more Information feel free to email Betsy at Betsy Floridacamschools.com or visit the Florida cam schools website at

Www.floridacamschools.com information Provided on this show is General in Nature and does not constitute legal Advice please contact a licensed Attorney for your specific situation

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