Great leaders emphasize consistency, empathy, honesty, integrity, reason and transparency.


Does your Board have an established process to work through decisions?  Of course you have meetings (see this Board meeting survey), but HOW do you plan, prioritize, synthesize and execute all of the myriad decisions that your community needs to tackle?  Welcome to decision-making 101 and governance 101.


Positive change isn’t arbitrary.  Homeowners and volunteer leaders need to pay attention, remain properly informed, and get engaged to deliver results.  Communicating effectively requires an accurate picture.  Don’t confuse sound bites with due diligence.  Become an expert for your community.


Begin by reading your state statutes.  Many common interest communities (CICs) are organized as non-profit corporations.  Is yours?  Non-profit corporations are usually subject to additional requirements for meetings, voting, disclosure, notice, and more that may not be covered in CIC-specific statutes.  


Decision-making often centers around around the role of Board and how individual Board members play a role.   Understanding how non-profit Boards work as a team is essential, but so too is understanding the appropriate venue to make decisions.  Some statutes, like WUCIOA, require that all non-ministerial acts require decision-making in an open meeting.  Plan and execute all meetings by following your adopted parliamentary procedure (likely Robert's Rules of Order), but also take care to indulge in robust discussion during meetings when appropriate.  Informed discussion leads to informed motions, not vice versa.  Complicated, time-consuming topics often benefit from the involvement of a committee.  Well-intentioned volunteerism and meeting attendance is not enough. 


Remember that your Board often has authority to delegate specific processes, tasks and work streams, but does not have authority to delegate its ultimate responsibility to govern your community.  The work product of your association's staff and third-party vendors (law firms, consultants, community association manager, etc.) is only as good as the direction, information (facts and context), conversations and questions you exchange.  There's almost always a question behind the question.  It's the Board's job to ask and then ensure you receive answers.  Very little of life in general is as simple as paying someone else to do a job, because those third parties often need oversight and direction that only someone "plugged in" can provide.


"The problem is that good governance, whether in the public or private sector, depends on the initiative and leadership of good people.  Having the time and the desire to serve is not the same as having the common sense, judgment, and character to serve well.  Lapses in the vetting process, coupled with the absence of any competition for the job, can produce "governors" who, at best, are uninspired and, at worst, draconian (if not morally deficient) in approach." - Paula A. Franzese's Privatization and Its Discontents: Common Interest Communities and the Rise of Government for "the Nice."

Governance can be daunting!

Governance is daunting!  

Read this TLDR blog article for some tips to stay safely afloat.

Move forward by reading your governing documents.  If you have a well-rounded set of unambiguous written governance (declaration / CC&Rs, bylaws, rules and regulations, policies, procedures, resolutions) already in place, follow the language therein.  If there's an ambiguity, seek a clarification and, when the time is right, amend or restate your declaration and/or bylaws to provide clarity.  Whatever you do, having debates about the meaning of words is not worthwhile.  Trust, verify and then act accordingly.  


Failure to observe your written governance is a violation of your duty of care.  Fraudulent and/or malicious intent isn't required.  Violating the law is often a matter of making "common sense" assumptions.  Read It Doesn't Say We Can't Do It to learn why the absence of statements explicitly forbidding certain actions does not support doing "everything else."  Statutes and governing documents are not the tax code.   Don't be fooled into governing by the margins.

All Governance Topics
Strategic Planning Best Practices
Transition from Declarant Control Best Practices

CIC Governance Hierarchy

Statutory & Governing Documents Hierarchy.pdf