After a Board Recall - Turning Things Around

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Occasionally, after all the efforts to convince some board members (even if they are a minority) to communicate well and be reasonable with the members of their community, there will be those whose actions prompt the members to attempt a full recall of the board. If the recall is successful, it can create a very tense situation within which it will be difficult, but not impossible, to operate.

Suspicions and Tension

After such a successful recall, there will be certain tendencies on both the new board's part and the management company's part that, if not quickly addressed and suppressed, will cause additional harm to the already damaged community. There will, however, be the tendency on the part of the new board to be suspicious of the management company who they perceive has worked and cooperated with the board members just recalled. The management company will have the tendency to defend themselves against these suspicions. What can be done? A lot.

Steps to Take After a Recall

First, we need to recognize that, in spite of all efforts, it is possible that the relationship may not be salvageable. However, there is a good chance that it can be repaired and, with the proper effort, the odds can be increased. The cost for both the Association and management to end a relationship is high, both in dollars and in reputation. This cost may well be avoided. Extra time invested can pay off by not only salvaging a relationship, but by converting it to something really positive.

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A principal of the management company needs to meet with the new board as soon as possible. The tendency to defend past actions should be deemphasized and, rather, the spirit of cooperation should be expressed. One must explain that many attempts were made to educate the past board about creating a sense of community. Further, even though these attempts were unsuccessful, management's abandoning of the community would only have allowed the past board to hire people who would carry out their plans without hesitation. By staying, it allowed at least the possibility of positive change. Close the discussion by assuring that you look forward to that possibility with the new board.

Transparancy

The board's suspicious tendencies can be calmed by offering "transparency". The new board should be invited to come to the management company's office and review any and all association records. Management should be agreeable to the new board's wishes. For instance, it should agree to cooperate fully with the new attorney that the board may want to hire. It should provide the extra meetings that may be required. Management should be honest about actions they may wish to avoid in the future, but should not be quick to discount the new board's suggestions which may well have merit. Management should offer education by inviting the new board to attend board member orientation seminars and advocacy organizations. Management should be willing and eager to facilitate this for the client. It is also a good idea to provide a different community manager as a new beginning is launched. The new manager should possess excellent interpersonal skills and should share the goal of renewing the relationship.

Putting in the extra time and effort should be viewed as an investment. Time is being invested to create something positive. Like any investment, there is risk. However, without risk, there can be little chance of success. If it doesn't work out, at least there will be a degree of respect and appreciation for the attempt. If it does work out, knowing your efforts made a difference can be quite satisfying.

 

Source: Association Times
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