Elected into an office of responsibility, uncompensated for dedication and loyalty, your board of directors governs tirelessly, often thanklessly, sometimes ruthlessly. It is the powerhouse of the organization. It oversees a diverse and challenging community, a complex infrastructure, and must be familiar with a myriad of legal documents and financial reports. Why would any person subject himself to such a “sentence”?
Board members are frequently “elected” by a process of elimination. Who hasn’t yet served? Who’s the most vocal? Who has the most experience in operating a business?
You can ease the path for new board members by adopting these five elements of effective HOA leadership:
- Introduction – deliver a detailed welcome packet and/or handbook to all new members.
- Orientation – transition the new member with a comprehensive orientation, immediately after election or appointment, that includes a familiarization with the current board, their officer roles, issues and priorities, meeting conduct, financial and management reports, management and vendor contracts, governing documents, facilities maintenance, and policies, protocols and procedures. Every aspect of the HOA administration and governance should be covered.
- Training – require the new board member to undergo the Board Member Basics program offered online by the Community Association’s Institute. Annual board member education is now highly encouraged by Colorado law. Establish such a program and ensure its regularity.
- Continuity – replacing the entire board at the annual meeting of the members is not conducive to continuity of governance. Review, and possibly amend, the governing documents to permit staggered terms so that new elections are held each year for only one or two members. If the governing documents don’t prohibit term limits, consider imposing such term limits on board members to ensure all owners have an opportunity to serve and the possibility of a “dictatorship” is lessened.
- Participation – all board members must participate fully to ensure the membership is well represented and their opinions and comments are timely received. Equitable governance can only occur if participation is absolute. Consider adopting a policy that removes a board member for frequent absenteeism.
Your organization is membership based, and membership controlled. Every single member has something to contribute. Everyone should commit to lead at some stage. It is your community, you need to play a part in its current organization and its future course.