Identify what is required by law; what is urgent, what is needed; what would reduce ongoing costs; what residents want. Then, prioritize what all this entails. Most residents want to live in a safe home with an inviting and friendly atmosphere and probably with as many amenities as possible while paying as little as possible. This is not an easy task to realize, especially since the board members most likely all have jobs, families, other activities and commitments.

Make a list and divide it into areas that need upgrades within the following categories:

  1. Important & Urgent
  2. Important but Not-Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important & Not Urgent

This principle was used by President Eisenhower, who was known to be very efficient and productive. This productivity tool has since been commonly referred to as the Eisenhower Box. Here is a sample box pertaining to some common issues that Co-ops and Condos face:

Sample Eisenhower Box

 Source: The Folson Group

Source: The Folson Group

Co-op and Condo Boards often become overwhelmed because their organizations are so complex; staying on track and focusing becomes hard when there are so many distractions.

We help boards focus on getting the “small stuff” or “low hanging fruit” under control, so that the savings generated from those items will pay for larger, sometimes costlier and more time consuming upgrades. Very often, the board works with the managing agent on getting RFPs for the large ticket items, which leaves them with little time to focus on the things that we work on to help the board get their overall costs under control.

One of our buildings was working on revising their By-Laws, when the boiler broke down. For obvious reasons, as it not only heats the building but also its hot water, the boiler is more urgent than updating By-Laws.

That being said, there is no reason for a complex organization like a residential multi-family building to not be able to work on many projects at one time. We currently have a client who is working on settling a lawsuit, while installing BuildingLink (an online platform for residential administration), revising By-Laws, and planning a hallway and lobby renovation. At the same time, we are working with them on upgrading their electric and offering a better insurance proposal. We’re the team of effective specialists they never had before!