- Joe Wise
Improve Decision-Making for your HOA Board
Many of the decisions we make on a daily basis are so simple that we almost make the decision on autopilot. But, making a decision isn’t always easy. It becomes more complex when your Board needs to make a decision because the consequences affect the homeowner association. Gathering input from the Board members can be challenging. As the saying goes, put three people in a room, and you’ll often get four opinions.
Decisions made by your Board must cater to the need of the association. You have to choose carefully, especially if it affects HOA finances or results in major changes. Tackling decisions in a systematic way can help clarify issues before making a final decision. Thus, you’re more likely to make the right decisions.
Understanding how best to approach decision-making for your Board is an important skill. Below are some key steps that you can help. At first, they may seem complicated because you’re consciously going through each step. Yet, many people follow this same decision-making process intuitively in their personal and professional life.
Define Problem: Identify the problem that needs to be solved. State the problem clearly along with the desired outcome. Thinking about the issue and agreeing on the goal(s) upfront helps all Board members clarify their thoughts.
Develop Alternatives: Typically, you need to make a decision because there are multiple options available. Get creative as you brainstorm potential solutions for the problem. Avoid the temptation of restricting the team to obvious options or discussing pros and cons as thoughts emerge. The goal is to capture all ideas because sometimes solutions come from out-of-the-box thinking.
Evaluate Alternatives: An important part of decision-making is to analyze each alternative solution. This is the time to filter out the options that are impossible or won’t serve the purpose. You may need to research advantages and disadvantages of some of the options. Discuss the pros and cons of each alternative. Asking the HOA Board members to rate each option on a numerical scale of 1 to 5 can help the filtration process.
Make Decision: This is the time to think about all the discussions in the evaluation step. Is there a clear solution? Perhaps a better solution is to combine parts of two or more options. Because you evaluated the alternatives, you have the knowledge and information to help you choose the optimum solution.
Implement Solution: Obviously, you want to implement the solution after you make the decision. But, remember that you need to communicate the problem, the solution and any implications to all the owners in the association. You also need to consult your bylaws to determine if an association vote is needed, timing, etc.
Monitor Solution: After the solution is implemented, it is not the end of the process. Keeping an eye on how it’s working or measuring the results can help you determine if the solution completely solves the problem. If you notice deviation from the expected results, you may need to tweak the solution or alter your decision.
Using these decision-making steps, you offer the opportunity for every board member to contribute to the result. Thus, Board members will often commit to the decision more enthusiastically because it was reached through consensus.