New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

Einsidler Management: Communication

THE BIG PICTURE

As new board members find out very quickly, there are many subjects that get discussed at board meetings. Many of them are very sensitive topics, involving shareholders, legal issues, and upcoming projects. What goes on at a board meeting is not something that should become fodder for gossip. A board member who feels he or she can go out and repeat what happens at a meeting to the rest of the community can cause legal issues that are costly to everybody. It can also cause fractured communities where people spread rumors and things get misinterpreted.

BE SMART

A new board member might think it’s okay speak to his or her spouse or significant other about what’s going on, but it’s not a good practice. Sometimes people focus too much on “transparency.” There’s a fine line between breach of confidentiality and transparency. Boards try to be transparent by agreeing to communicate via newsletters, email blasts, and even phone calls. But the directors must all agree on what information can be shared.

I took over a large community once, and there were two board members who never agreed with the rest of the board on anything. They felt that everything that went on at the board meeting should be public. After a meeting, they would even go so far as sending out email blasts to the entire community with information on everything that was discussed. I was amazed that this was going on. It was hard to put a stop to it because they had created a following in the community. The board took a stand, but it didn’t work. Ultimately, they got voted off, and we no longer had that problem.

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