Published September 2020
Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.
The latest recipient of the CFCAM certification is Sherry Clifton, founder of Clifton Management Inc. A native of Maryland, Sherry was introduced to association living when her first home in Florida was in an HOA. She joined the board, but says, “I found that keeping the community up to standards was almost a full-time job just being on the board.” She followed the need, taking it on as a vocation, and shares, “I continue to manage that same community even though I relocated more than 15 years ago!”
Sherry founded her management company in 2000 and currently manages more than 15 condominium associations and HOAs. One of her proudest achievements in addition to obtaining her CFCAM is “to know that absent any advertising Clifton Management has obtained all 17 of its current clients by word of mouth.”
To maintain that level of reputation, Sherry realizes the need to progress in the field, which led her to pursue the CFCAM certification. “Individuals must always continue to better themselves in their profession or risk becoming complacent in an ever-changing world,” she observes.
Current changes present the biggest challenges for communities, Sherry notes. “COVID-19 has compounded all matters within communities: whether to keep a pool/clubhouse/amenities open; to determine what projects to still move forward or to postpone; to keep vendors and staff employed; to determine what responsibilities a CAM has to assist in community safety. CAMs, in my opinion, became an essential community business.”
Sherry feels she has been most influenced by the many board members who have assisted and donated their time, often without being appreciated. “I am reminded of people who continue to care for those around them every day absent acknowledgement, and they influence me to continue assisting as well.”
With three children, Sherry finds she is also busy when not at the office. “Admittedly, I do like to travel two or three times a year,” she acknowledges. Rejuvenation and continuing education are both means for Sherry to keep her association management services in peak form.
As managers, we are leaders, coaches, and mentors responsible for setting examples for others and creating a positive work environment and company culture. When we work well with others and everything seems to click and flow well, we experience that natural high, an adrenaline rush that pushes us to consistently inspire others to the path for success!
Our employees give us a sense of pride and a boost in motivating us to excel. In these uncertain times, employees may need to be inspired and need to have that extra boost in their motivation. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory established by Abraham Maslow back in 1943. He expressed that when the basic needs of a person are taken care of, that person is most likely to succeed and be inspired to reach for greater goals.
Keeping this in mind, how do you inspire your team and how can you meet the basic needs of your team? I reached out to managers, and they responded as follows:
“I have our team members sign a team code of honor that not only inspires them but holds them accountable to each other. We keep a copy of the team code of honor on the employee bulletin board and/or near the time clock as a reminder.” —Kathleen Walinsky, General Manager, KW Property Management & Consulting, Miami, FL
“How do we inspire people in our ever-changing world? We need to be more empathetic to understand great things are done by a team, not an individual. To acknowledge and encourage each other, that’s the environment that succeeds in demanding situations.” —Kevin O’Brien, CMCA, AMS 1st Luxury Condo Manager at Le Ciel Venetian Tower Condominium, Naples, FL
Following are more inspiration tips…
Set a good example. Your team members watch what you do and listen to what you say. They tend to care more when they know you care. Your attitude and professionalism can go a long way! Every leader needs to learn, develop, and grow by educating themselves. There is always something new to learn in this business. If you want to be effective, you must be willing to implement change and offer your team members trust. Setting a good example means that you must always do what is right and “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”
Give encouragement and set clear goals. Be there to encourage them. Team members all go through tough times especially now, they need to know that you are there and that you care. You never know what is going on outside of an employee’s work. They could have lost a loved one, their spouse may have lost their job, or a family member might be ill. Set SMART goals and have a clear vision. (SMART is an acronym for goal setting and stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timebound). Include your team in your discussions to review and evaluate the who, what, when, where, and how.
Express passion and enthusiasm. You must be willing to express your passion and enthusiasm if you want to inspire others. It is contagious. You must love what you do and do what you love! One of my favorite quotes from Dale Carnegie is, “We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” Take the time to smell the roses and inspire others to do so!
Make your people feel good and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Your team members will most likely not remember what you did but will always remember how you made them feel. Recognize their efforts and compliment them and give credit when credit is due. Acknowledge those that have gone above and beyond.
Show appreciation by patting employees on their back! Each team member will have different strengths and weaknesses and in addition will handle constructive criticism and encouragement differently. Each needs to be nurtured, and some may need to be given some “tough love.” You want to cultivate your coaching style to benefit the entire team. I have been successful in maximizing productivity by utilizing “SWOT” analyses recognizing team members’ and community strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats by evaluating and assessing team performance and working and establishing relationships with the board of directors, business associates, and most importantly, the community!
Follow the Golden Rule by treating others the way you want to be treated. This will strengthen sense of belonging.
Share your experiences, successes, and failures. Make every effort to be a resource to your team members by taking the time to meet with them and provide them with essential tools and information to support them. I know some managers who like to hoard responsibilities and not share for fear of losing control or their job to an assistant. By sharing, others will relate to you, and they will be more willing to know that you understand their roles and challenges.
“When you share your experiences with other people, you help take away their fears.” —Rick Warren
Be positive. Have a good attitude and value your team by focusing on the positive. They crave positivity. Let your positivity inspire others to never give up!
Pay it forward. Live your life to the fullest and inspire others to pay it forward. Kindness is contagious.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It is better to give than to receive…” —Jesus. This statement says it all!
I have personally found that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to give of yourself and provide a service to those in need. Servicing communities is rewarding, and we cannot do it alone. We need to embrace our team and pay it forward!
Listen, communicate, and leave your ego behind. If you really want to inspire others, listen and communicate with them, and if you are awesome, you do not need to tell anyone because they are already aware of your qualities and success as a leader! The experts say there are two types of listeners.
Employees need to know two things—where you stand and whether they will stand with you. You need to get their buy in! I always like to ask my team members the following two questions:
Do not assume what others are feeling. If they do not seem motivated or inspired, perhaps they are no longer challenged, or they are bored. Talk to them and listen. Ask your team members what solutions they must make to make things better and offer your solutions as well.
I relate managing to football. I love the game, and it is the ultimate teamwork sport and demonstrates how when all work together, they inspire every team member to excel. As managers, we need to motivate the players on our team. Create the plays; if the players are fumbling, change course and inspire them and provide them the tools they need to make touchdowns! You and your team will feel the adrenaline if you can get all to work together as a cohesive unit on the field!
These times present a new challenge for associations due to the virus! I found in the statutes that communication via emails among board members is ok, but they cannot vote via emails. I cannot find any Florida Statutes input regarding electronic voting via Zoom, etc. for board meetings and for annual membership meetings. What is your understanding?
Boards of directors may meet via speaker telephone, which has also been determined by most attorneys to be any type of videoconferencing. Those meetings are given a 48-hour posted notice and agenda designating a specific time and place for the meeting. Board members call in to a phone with a speaker or via computer.
Owners wishing to attend must go to that designated place and listen to the board members’ meeting and may make comments on designated agenda items. Minutes are taken for the meeting noting the motions and votes and any other directives.
Some communities/management companies make the videoconferencing available to owners wishing to attend board meetings, but most are not capable of the technology. Giving the owners the opportunity to do so is a courtesy not required by law.
The fact that board members can see each other makes no difference. The point is that owners attending can hear their discussion.
The statutes allow electronic voting for owners’ meetings with a lot of requirements. Most communities are not up to speed with the technology to accomplish electronic voting, and many owners don’t have computers. There are several law firms that provide the electronic voting for owners’ meetings as part of their retainer.
Thank you for responding to my email. I am continuing to make some inquiries as to the position that has opened up in my community. In the event the CAM license is required, I will proceed with acquiring it.
Just remember, a CAM license is required by statute if there are more than 10 units/homes or the budget is more than $100,000 and you are remunerated in any form in any amount. And remuneration does not necessarily mean money!
If the HOA declaration says that the covenants auto renew for successive periods of 10 years, do you still have to record a petition to preserve? Or, if the 30 years has passed, have the covenants expired and need to be revitalized?
According to Scott Wortman, Esq., those “auto-renewal provisions don’t obviate the association’s obligation to ‘preserve’ within 30 years, or if beyond the 30-year mark, then revitalize. Preservation can be done (assuming within the 30-year period) through a board of director’s vote/action alone, while revitalization is much more involved, requiring 51 percent of the membership to formally approve.”
I’d love to know where the statute is that says HOA requests can be made “written” in any manner, and the timeframe the association has to respond to a written request. I only found Section 720.303(5)(a) The failure of an association to provide access to the records within 10 business days after receipt of a written request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested, creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this subsection.
This clause does not say “all requests” must be by certified mail with return receipt requested; am I missing an alternative way for members to request?
Only the homeowner association statute requires certified mail, return receipt requested (paragraph a). So, if it is a written request by certified mail, return receipt requested, it has to be a U.S. mail letter.
The condominium statute and co-op statutes do not require a response by certified mail. They just simply say written request. If you look further at the statute, it allows the board to create policies and procedures for owners’ requests for access to records. And be aware, this statute is regarding owners’ requests for access to official records. It doesn’t have anything to do with just asking questions.
I’ve read Section 720.306 too often, and I am totally confused about the number of qualified voters required to amend the governing documents.
Is it two-thirds of the total membership, two-thirds of those present at the meeting, or a majority of the voting interests present, in person or by proxy, at a meeting?
Each (declaration, articles, bylaws) of your documents should have an amendment provision for votes to amend that specific document. Check there first; it can usually be found in one of the last articles/paragraphs. Generally, the statutory default (if your documents are silent) is two-thirds of the entire membership.