Thursday, September 10, 2009

So, do you have any Bunnies on your Board?

One of the best things about being an association attorney is the great variety of people I get to meet. Many people think of the "board" as a nameless, faceless organization. In fact, boards are made up of many different types of people with an incredible array of personal and career histories.

Over the years, I've met board members who were pilots, plumbers, parents, teachers, soldiers, college professors, college students, lifetime students, novelists, screenwriters, an astronaut, a professional tennis player, a famous golf course designer, inventors and yes, even a former Playboy bunny!

Sometimes these personalities bring wry and useful experience to their community association board service and other times they just bring good cocktail conversation. Most never mention their backgrounds unless they are asked about what they did "before" getting on the board. A board, however, is not unlike a team or department at work. The more they know about and trust each other the greater the likelihood for productivity and success.

We hear so much about unit owner vs. board disputes but often there are just as many disputes amongst board members either borne out of fears, suspicion, dislike or ignorance. Perhaps the first thing a new board should do is get to know each other and agree on certain goals and certain ground rules for playing nice together. Of course, sometimes you find a board member with a distinctly unappealing criminal background and the board must then take certain considerations into account.

Knowledge is power; cooperation is powerful. Knowing your fellow board members and, even better, liking them makes your job not only easier but faster, more cost efficient and satisfying.

So, do you have any interesting types sitting on your board?

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