Today it is more important than ever to have a well-thought-out succession plan in place for your association’s board of directors. Your condominium or HOA management company should help craft a succession plan that requires a thoughtful planning process. It should consider a new board member’s competencies, experience, background, and fits with your existing board. In addition, board governance tools need to be well developed and up to date. These include role descriptions for the board directors, committee structure, profiles of existing board members, and an understanding of the board’s culture.
Many boards wait until they have an opening on the board before considering prospective candidates. At that point, the current board members will discuss prospective board members, drawing on their own social networks. This reactive process can lead to boards that are uniform in their makeup and that lack a diverse set of experiences and perspectives. Instead succession planning should consider your current board demographics and seek diversity that represents your tenants and homeowners and the community you serve.
Tips for Recruiting and Keeping Good Board Members:
- Understand your community’s strategic plan. The strategic priorities in your plan will help determine the knowledge and skill sets needed on your board. For example, if you plan to undertake a comprehensive building renovation, someone with general contracting experience would be desirable. Alternatively, if you were undergoing a major restructuring of the operations and capital reserve budget, then recruiting an accounting professional would be important.
- Understand current board members’ skills, competencies, and experience relative to areas such as strategic planning, finance, construction, mechanical systems, contract negotiation, risk management, insurance, marketing, and technology.
- Review or create board role descriptions for the board president and director positions. Make sure your role descriptions accurately reflect the primary responsibilities and role qualifications necessary for board members.
- Understand your board dynamics and board culture. What is the quality of your board interactions? What kind of board member are you looking for in terms of leadership qualities?
- Develop a list of prospective board candidates. Establish relationships with prospective board members and keep an active list of candidates who might be available to serve on the board. Be prepared in case a board member suddenly quits. Also, make sure you have a compelling story about your board that you can share when recruiting prospects.
A good succession plan will ensure that your board has the right skills and experience to provide the board leadership your association needs. An active, knowledgeable, and engaged board is an asset at any time, but is especially important during a challenging real estate market and rebounding economy.