In 2020, we are finding so many places where leaders have abdicated their duties. So much has impacted all our lives with social unrest, pandemic, economic loss, and more. In all industries, the expectation is that there are plans and processes to dig out. Being a leader takes effort but is also a privilege so why do so many in leadership not see that? This lack of seeing is found in national, state, local governments, in many of our local services and is becoming even more evident in Homeowner Associations.
All HOAs should have had a plan in place for the moment. It is very interesting that many of the HOAs were not ready and many members are constantly speaking out asking "How Do I reach the HOA?", "Who are my HOA Leaders?", "Why Do I only get bad communications?" and many more. Life is always changing but good leadership should not be reacting as best as can in the middle of a tragedy, it should be planning for the tragedy. If your neighborhood has amenities, leadership should always be planning how to use those amenities, when those amenities can be used, and ultimately what should be done when those amenities fail.
Why these types of situations usually cause HOAs to fail is because there is a lack of communication about processes and policies about what happens when that common item/service fails. A lack of communication leaves people to fill in their own blanks and usually, they fill it in with what they want which is sometimes adverse to the nature of how the HOA intended for the common item/service is used. Also, without processes and procedures in place to help fix issues, the HOA begins a slow deterioration making it difficult for each leader thereafter to effectively lead.
Just as an example, some neighborhoods have a common mail area that the neighborhood uses. One of the first steps toward success is recognizing that the common mail area will be used by the HOA members but to make sure you are ready when there is an issue with that common mail area, planning for that failure is necessary. The leaders should be able to assess the many possibilities of failure with that common area and plan for when that occurs so that there is no interruption in what the members/consumers experience.
There are many good benefits from living in an HOA such as;
Community Awareness and Pride
Community Standards upheld
Community Amenities/common areas are maintained
Community Stability (Financial and structurally)
These and many other benefits are in danger of being negatively affected by the lack of good leaders, processes, and policies. Failure should never be the goal. My goal for my company, Our Community Management, is to aid HOA leaders in daily operations but more importantly to help them plan for the inevitable. Planning and communication are key to having a successful HOA. Each leader should be a law-abiding homeowner working on behalf of the association without bias towards any homeowner/member/vendor. I now ask each leader to ask themselves why do I want to lead an HOA? I hope the answer begins and ends with being an effective leader for the homeowner/member/vendor.
"Not my Community, Our Community"