Sharper Management


Board Tips: Overcoming Decision Making Paralysis

There is nothing more frustrating for members, managers, and even homeowners than a Board that is collectively stuck in the mud, endlessly spinning their wheels deeper in the rut of indecision. Rest assured, it is a common condition. Perhaps it is a large construction project, a delicate homeowner situation needing resolution, a complicated budget crisis, or maybe a vendor change. Many things are thrown at Boards – and often times it is difficult to get to the point where you are ready for the all-important motion to vote. There are three things that may help you as an individual Board member, and as a collective group. 1.)    Accept that you will never have 100% satisfaction from stakeholders. Often times being on the Board means making tough decisions that are best for the Association as a whole. Don’t let chronically complaining Cathy dictated construction projects. A needed special assessment can’t be derailed because it will break broke Bob’s bank account. Accept that designer Debbie doesn’t do blue and won’t like those new shutters.  The sooner you can accept unanimous acceptance is rare, if not impossible, the sooner you can move on to make the necessary decisions. 2.)    Realize that Board consensus can be difficult to achieve and accept that it is OK.  The more complicated the topic, the more likely you are to have varying opinions. Naturally. It is good to hash it out. Consider all angles. But at some point you’ve got to call the vote. Which brings us to our final point. 3.)    Have a good facilitator among the group. There is nothing more important to group dynamics than for someone to take on the role of task master. Perhaps it is the President acting as the Chairman. Sometimes it is the Community Manager being the neutral party helping facilitate the meeting along. Whomever it may be, a group needs this person! Their primary skill should be recognizing when a debate is over or just plain unproductive, and calling the subject to a vote for resolution. All too often decisions get “tabled” for the next meeting. If it gets “tabled” once – you may as well just move on entirely.  You’re probably stuck on the two points mentioned above and will always be there. Consider these remedies for decision making paralysis and hopefully you can be a more productive Board – making decisions and moving forward with your Association’s projects and initiatives!