­Defining Board Relationships Teamwork in Co-ops and Condos

Tis the season to be…watching football! Football seems to dominate American culture at this time of the year. There are pro games every week, preseason, post-season and Pro Bowl games, college, indoor, fantasy football, and of course the definitive game of the year—the Super Bowl.

But what does football have to do with co-op and condo management? It’s an excellent metaphor: football is not just about the individual players—the quarterback, running backs, tight ends and wide receivers—it’s about teamwork. Famed football coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers once said, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

Be a Part of the Team

As in football, a co-op or condo community has its own team of players—including the board of directors, treasurer, accountant and property manager. Each has his or her own responsibilities, but unless he or she cooperates with the rest of the team, the play will likely fall apart, and the team can ultimately lose.

In football, the goal is to get the ball across the goal line to score points; the team with the most points wins. In a co-op or condominium board, there is a fiduciary responsibility:  the goal of the team is to achieve sustained fiscal success by keeping good financial records, obtaining a profit to pay for various repairs and upgrades and other tasks at hand, and organizing a productive checks-and-balances system so all the responsibilities do not fall on one person.

The Property Manager

The property manager acts similarly to the quarterback—who calls the plays, throws the passes, hands the ball off or runs with it. “The property manager is the operations person who oversees the daily business of the organization,” explains Calvin K. Clemons, author of The Perfect Board (Synergy Books). “This person collects the revenue and posts it accordingly. In my opinion, this person (or department) should then processes expense payments, but should not sign checks. This person is responsible for the regular financial statements and reports.”

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Comments

  • Thank you, Lisa for presenting this spot on analogy of a board and a football team. I have had the pleasure of working with many successful boards over many years, and only one dysfunctional board. Despite the resignation of three presidents and nine board members, they continued to be dysfunctional. The problem was they all wanted to play in the same position for their team-the captain. Each of the remaining members did not want to pass the ball, they wanted to run the full field with it. The successful boards on the other hand all had one thing in common, each player knew his position and those of the staff and property manager and allowed everyone to make their own touchdowns, and was ready to help avoid a fumble. Whether a community is self managed or uses a property management company, every new board member should be provided with a set of By-laws which clearly define each officer's role, and the role of the remaining board members. A list of committee members should also be given to each new board member to ensure the new member is clear on the relationships and dynamics of their board. These strategies will help create a legacy of productivity, longevity and teamwork for a board. Spring is almost here, but let's try to keep Lisa's football season spirit alive all year!