Working in groups can be a challenge. Working in groups when people’s homes—and possibly their life savings—are involved can be a far greater challenge. It’s one faced every day by those brave souls who volunteer to serve on their co-op or condo board. While there is no sure-fire recipe for building a board that is 100 percent successful day in and day out, there are definitely traits and tactics that the most well-run and effective boards share.
Don’t Get Personal
One of the biggest components to success is ensuring that those individuals who are elected to the board do not come to their new duties with a personal mission. Some red flags include if a person “[has] some kind of agenda. They're on the board because they don't like somebody, or because they have a personal pet-peeve about an owner's dog, or an owner in general. So if [they] have issues that aren't for the best overall,” says Joseph Balzamo, president of Alliance Property Management, LLC, in Morristown, New Jersey.
Board-member aspirants need to keep in mind that the job is to serve the building, and act in the interest of the association as a whole. Criterion number one should be that “it's your property, it's your money. You have a vested interested in making sure the building is being properly managed,” says Balzamo.
While you will certainly have a personal vested interest in the building, it's important to consider the building as whole when working on the board.
“I think when board members go into board meetings, they have to leave their egos at the door. They have to realize they are not there for their own agendas but they were elected by the unit owners and they are there to do what the unit owners want, not what they want as individuals. They have to represent the unit owners,” says Leslie Kaminoff, RAM, NYARM, CMCA, CAM, the founder and CEO of AKAM Living Services, Inc., a property management company, which has offices in New York City.