Habit #7: “Sharpen the Saw”
In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey talks about the “upward spiral” model that results from growth, change and constant improvement. The Upward Spiral model consists of three parts:
The management team in a coop or condo is composed of three distinct entities: the board, the property manager, and the staff. When their strengths are combined, goals can be achieved that could not have been done by just one of these entities.
You Have Two Ears and One Mouth- Use Them in That Proportion
Understanding the limitations of the staff, managing agent and fellow board-members is important. Although the staff reports to the managing agent, the managing agent reports to their firm first and ultimately to the board. The board then reports to the residents. The managing agent has, in most cases, multiple buildings with multiple emergencies such as leaks, fires, floods; and of course loose cats.
As the decision-maker, the board is in charge and needs to set the overall tone. Only when there are clear goals, systems and plans, will all of the involved parties in the organization thrive.
It is not uncommon that boards and residents tell us that their staff is lazy or is in “cahoots” with the managing agent. It is also not uncommon to hear that boards are unhappy with their managing agent. We could give you a very long list of all the reasons they think so, but in reality, the culprit is more often than not the board.
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.
In our Co-op & Condo Board adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the first 3 habits discuss changing your mindset from being too dependent upon others to being completely independent and self-reliant. Here’s Habit #1 addressing the importance of being proactive or plan ahead.
Have you ever heard of a motivational self-help book for Co-op and Condo Boards? Neither have we. This adaptation of Stephen R. Covey’s 1989 Free Press book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a self-help book for Co-op and Condo Boards detailing how to run a more efficient building.