Why Smart Boards Make Bad Decisions

It is frustrating — your board consists of smart and common sense people. Yet, the board has made some mistakes that seemed obvious to everyone except them.

Here are eight reasons why even smart boards make bad decisions along with some solutions:

1) It’s the same old line up

The same board members consistently speak first. Even if everyone eventually gets a chance the tone has been set. The first speakers reinforce each other and cause those later in the line up to become doubtful of their own opinions.  This often discourages other points of view. Your board should make an effort to switch up the line up.

2) Inside information

Whether its malicious or accidentally done at the pool party, smaller groups of board members discussing issues in advance, stymies real debate later. That first group of board members can subconsciously hold back information they have already deemed irrelevant. Your board should allow conversation and debate to occur naturally.

3) Peer pressure

Some board members are more aggressive and confident. They can influence other board members. This behavior can be intimating to other board members who may have valuable insight. Fellow board members should make sure everyone has a chance to speak, uninterrupted.

4) That was easy

Maybe it was too easy. If an important decision is made quickly with no dissension a board may be missing something. The board should assign a confident board member to play “devil’s advocate”. The conversation may lead to other considerations missed beforehand.

5) Titantic

A board should always be prepared to hit an iceberg. Once the decision has been formatted walk the problem backwards from failure. Starting at failure allows the board to develop “back up” plans in advance.

6) Tick-Tock

Important decisions require debate, real debate requires time. Not allowing enough time allows “filibusters” to win and decision fatigue to take place. Schedule standalone meetings for important issues.

7) Horse and Buggy

The horse and buggy worked well in the past. It was dependable. It’s human nature to repeat courses of action that resulted in success. But, the past can not solely dictate the future. Recognize what worked then, may not work later.

8) Lastly, Albert Einstein

I’m sorry, just because you won your HOA election does not make you a genius. Value fellow board member and non-board members opinions and consult industry professionals when applicable.

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