CAMICB Updates CMCA Exam Blueprint

Sara Duginske, M.S., Director, Credentialing Services, Community Association Mangers International Certification Board (CAMICB).

The field of community association management is growing and evolving. The knowledge and skills needed by successful managers today reflect changes in technology, regulatory and governance issues, and principles of effective management.

CAMICB conducted a job analysis study in 2016/2017 to examine the current state of community association management and update the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) exam. The job analysis was conducted with the help of CAMICB’s Exam Development Committee and more than 1,600 practitioners across the globe. This type of study is carried out at regular intervals, roughly every three to five years, to ensure the CMCA exam continues to evaluate the knowledge necessary for competent performance as a community association manager.
Job analysis is the cornerstone of a strong exam development process. The core component of this study is a survey distributed to practitioners in the field working in a wide range of professional situations. Survey respondents provide their professional expertise to identify job tasks and knowledge that are critical for successfully executing the responsibilities of a professional community association manager.  Survey data are used to inform changes to the exam content blueprint which specifies the portion of the exam that is allocated for each primary topic area. In this manner, the job analysis study ensures the exam measures topics and concepts that are relevant to the profession as it exists today.
A new CMCA examination blueprint has been developed based on the results of the 2016/2017 job analysis study, and new forms of the CMCA exam, built against the new blueprint, will be launched on January 1, 2018.
We want to emphasize that the changes made to the examination blueprint are limited and the core knowledge areas remain the same. A candidate preparing for the current CMCA is not likely to feel unprepared sitting for the new exam. However, the CMCA Candidate Handbook and the CMCA Study Guide have been updated to reflect the revised CMCA examination blueprint. The current Handbook and Study Guide – valid through December 31, 2017 – will remain on the website through the end of December. The updated Study Guide and Candidate Handbook are also now available with a January 1 effective date. After December 31, only the updated Study Guide and Candidate Handbook will be available.
If you are planning on testing before December 31, 2017, please refer only to the current 2017 Candidate Handbook and 2017 Study Guide. If you plan to test after December 31, 2017, please utilize only the updated publications: 2018 Candidate Handbook and 2018 Study Guide. Questions regarding the launch of updated forms of the CMCA examination may be forwarded to  

Why Hiring the Wrong Employee Is One Expensive Mistake

From Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Professionals, written by Ernie Smith.

A recent survey from CareerBuilder suggests that it can cost employers thousands of dollars to make up for an employee who isn’t a good fit. Observers suggest that the problem might be with the person doing the hiring as much as the employee.

We all want to make sure we hire the right person, but sometimes that doesn’t happen—the person isn’t a fit for the role or doesn’t grasp the organization’s needs.

And when an organization gets that wrong, it can get costly—very costly. One recent survey from CareerBuilder put the cost of making a single wrong hire at $14,900 in the past year, a situation that roughly three-in-four employers have dealt with in the past.

The survey, conducted online by the pollsters at Harris, noted that many respondents felt that bad hires had affected productivity (37 percent), cost the employer precious time (32 percent), and hurt the quality of the organization’s work (31 percent).

The report noted that the most likely factors behind the failure of an employee included poor work quality (54 percent), poor attitude (53 percent), work conflicts (50 percent), and attendance problems (46 percent).

Most interestingly, skills deficiencies were a major factor in many cases: In cases when a company made a bad hire, the employee didn’t have the necessary skills (35 percent), or lied about their qualifications (33 percent). And when a worker’s skill didn’t match their claimed abilities, as was the case 45 percent of the time, it often was seen as a sign of a poor hire.

So what’s the reason for bringing on a bad hire? Often, it may lie not with the employee, but the manager, who may not have the right skills for interviewing a potential hire. Arte Nathan, a human resources advisor and founder of The Arte of Motivation, recently told the Society for Human Resource Management that it’s important to consider a person’s interviewing and hiring skills.

“Instead of blaming the person who was hired, we need to blame those who are doing the hiring,” he told SHRM. “There is an assumption that because someone is a manager, they know how to interview and hire the right person for the job. Hiring managers need to know what they are looking for [and] how to ask the right questions, discern candidate responses, and get the right person for the job.”

The recruiting firm Robert Half likewise made the case that it’s easier to hire correctly the first time around, rather than trying to fix an on-staff problem. The firm estimates that it takes 17 weeks to resolve a bad hiring decision, including nearly nine weeks to let the person go.

“The wisest hiring managers put in the time and effort on the front end to make sure they have the best available pool of applicants for every job opening,” the company explained in a blog post earlier this year. “And determine whether they have good procedures in place for evaluating candidates.”

Of course, things could always be worse: You could be replacing someone who you actually want to keep. That, according to the CareerBuilder survey, comes at a cost of $29,600 per employee this year.


“‘Enlightened’ dictators have a funny way of becoming unenlightened.”

Excerpts from Does a Great Leader Have to Be an Authoritarian?, written by Mark Athitakis for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

The best leaders are compassionate and accommodating, research shows: According to a recent survey by the consulting firm Optimum Advisors, employees value supportive leaders who invest in their development and give them autonomy.

But wait, hold on. The best leaders are actually also no-nonsense hard-liners, research shows: According to a recent survey spearheaded by leadership consultant Rajeev Peshawaria, the “overwhelming majority” of leaders around the world say that firm top-down leadership is essential for an organization’s success.

How to square this circle? I could point out, for starters, that the first study comes at the matter from the employee’s perspective and that the second study focuses on the executive’s. But that doesn’t negate the concern that there’s a gap between what leaders and employees want out of workers. I might also try to swirl the two trend lines together and suggest that what works best is a kind of compassionate dictatorship. That’s something Duke University business scholar Vivek Wadhwa argued in Quartz last year, citing the familiar examples of Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, and so on.

It may help, by way of proposing a partial solution to this conundrum, to get away from the word “dictator.” Or, at least, look at more virtuous terms associated with it—certitude, confidence, strength.

Strength, then, means having a clear sense of what it is you want to get out of your employees, and the capacity to convey it to them. Because employees have a good sense of what they want for themselves … and compensation is not the only thing that’s going to motivate potential hires.

According to the Optimum Advisors study, 37 percent of respondents said “their best bosses actively helped them develop in their careers, encouraged them to take on new challenges, mentored them, and taught them new skills.” And it’s easier to do that when those employees are the ones you know are receptive to being challenged.

Which is to say that while you can be a hard-liner about the goals and directions of an organization, being a human leader means allowing others to interpret those values.

In other words, authority is welcome. But you don’t have to be an authoritarian about it.

You Managing a Senior Community?

Great information for CMCAs managing an age-restricted community to share with your homeowners. Disaster Preparation For Seniors By Seniors is produced by American Red Cross.

Three Steps to Preparedness

  1. Get a Kit

Disasters can happen at any moment. By planning ahead you can avoid waiting in long lines for critical supplies, such as food, water and medicine and you will also have essential items if you need to evacuate.

  • For your safety and comfort, have a disaster supplies kit packed and ready in one place before a disaster hits.
  • Assemble enough supplies to last for at least three days.
  • Store your supplies in one or more easy-to-carry containers, such as a backpack or duffel bag.
  • You may want to consider storing supplies in a container that has wheels.
  • Be sure your bag has an ID tag.
  • Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers, that you would need with your name, address and phone numbers.
  • Keeping your kit up-to-date is also important. Review the contents at least every six months or as your needs change. Check expiration dates and shift your stored supplies into everyday use before they expire. Replace food, water and batteries, and refresh medications and other perishable items with “first in, first out” practices.

2. Make a Plan

The next time a disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Planning ahead reduces anxiety. Prepare now for a sudden emergency and remember to review your plan regularly. Meet With Your Family and Friends Explain your concerns to your family and others in your support network and work with them as a team to prepare. Arrange for someone to check on you at the time of a disaster. Be sure to include any caregivers in your meeting and planning efforts. Assess yourself and your household. What personal abilities and limitations may affect your response to a disaster? Think about how you can resolve these or other questions and discuss them with your family and friends. Details are important to ensure your plan fits your needs. Then, practice the planned actions to make sure everything “works.”

3. Be Informed

Community Hazard Assessment What hazards threaten your community and neighborhood? Make a list of how they might affect you. Think about both natural (e.g., hurricanes, flooding, winter storms and earthquakes) and human-caused (e.g., hazardous materials and transportation accidents) and about your risk from those hazards.

Preparing for a hazard that is most likely to happen in your area will help you be prepared for any disaster. Remember, disasters can happen at any time.

The Greater Rochester Chapter of the American Red Cross developed this information.

Transparency Trend Reaches HOAs

A Must-Have for HOA Homeowners and Managers: A Fair, Unbiased Records Disclosure Policy.

Written by Marianne Schaefer for Read full article here.

Nov. 16, 2017

The trend toward greater transparency in cooperatives, condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOA) continues its relentless march. On October 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law amending the state’s Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. This new amendment expands the rights of homeowners in HOAs to inspect the association’s invoices, ledgers, bank accounts, reconciliations, contracts, and any documents related to the expenditure of HOA dues.

“Generally speaking I see a trend to more and more transparency and a full disclosure of just about all documents,” says attorney Marc Schneider, a managing partner at Schneider Buchel. “I was very surprised that the legislature did not simultaneously amend the Business Corporation Law, which covers co-ops. But I think that, too, will come.”

[R]ecent court decisions have granted co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners greater access to documents. And the new law on HOA documents follows a recently enacted law requiring co-op and condo boards to prepare annual reports on all awarded contracts, plus any financial stake a director had in those contracts. Even if there was no conflict of interest, boards must prepare and distribute an annual report of all contracts.

“I think this is all going a bit too far,” Schneider says of the new HOA law. “It opens up the door for unnecessary scrutiny. The people who want access to these documents might have good intentions and want to help. But anybody who is looking at these documents will come up with their own interpretations….”

Cynthia Lovecchio, board president at The Legend Yacht & Beach Club (LYBC), a 47-unit HOA in Glen Cove, Long Island, is not worried about the current trend in laws and court decisions. “Even though I haven’t read the legislation, I’m a big advocate for transparency,” Lovecchio says.

Alvin Wasserman, director of asset management at Fairfield Properties, which manages LYBC, says, “I think increased transparency will take some of the mystery out of how boards conduct business.”

Schneider emphasizes that “review” does not mean a homeowner has the right to copy documents or take them out of the office. “The law says ‘review,’ which by definition means examine and not copy,” he says. “At best, the homeowner is allowed to take handwritten notes. This will protect boards somewhat from the improper dissemination of the information.”  He advises having someone present during document inspections to make sure no electronic devices are used.  Non-disclosure agreements are not required under the new law. The law does require that the requesting member must have been a homeowner of record for at least six months immediately preceding the inspection request.

Will the new law be a burden to boards and their management companies? Wasserman doesn’t think so. “As for extra work,” he says, “all boards have to do is post their monthly financial reports on the password-protected HOA website.”

Preparing Young Professionals for the Workforce

“Although they sometimes appear uninterested … young professionals may actually be frustrated by how much they don’t know.”

Excerpts from Closing the Competence Gap: Preparing Young Professionals for the Workforce, written by Nick J. Howe and published in The CET Connection, a publication of The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

The use of the word “incompetence” is not meant as an insult but merely to recognize a lack of knowledge or experience in particular areas. Incompetence is a two-fold challenge. The first is conscious incompetence, when people are aware of what they don’t know. Young professionals, in particular, can be overwhelmed by how much they don’t know or understand, which makes them unproductive. Although they sometimes appear uninterested, these young professionals may actually be frustrated by how much they don’t know, as well as the fact that they are not being effectively trained and have no idea how to reach out for help.

The second is unconscious incompetence, when people assume that they know something but, in fact, they do not. Ironically, this type of incompetence can set in just as young professionals begin to learn about the company, its products and services, and how to perform their jobs. Training that consists of cramming as much information as possible is not only ineffective in promoting knowledge retention, but it can also trigger a bigger danger: Having completed the training, young professionals (and experienced employees, as well) may incorrectly believe they truly know the information. Instead, they are unconsciously incompetent, which can lead to serious errors, dissatisfied customers and even safety issues.

When Training Does More Harm Than Good

The obvious answer to addressing incompetence is more and better training, but here’s the tricky part: Far too often, training consists of rote memorization of the company handbook or product materials, or it focuses on the basics of HR processes at the expense of more meaningful development. Online training that involves nothing more than putting static material online undermines engagement and does not assess how much learners have truly grasped.

The Adaptive Solution: Building Competence and Confidence

More young professionals are entering the workforce, equipping this group with the skills they need requires a proven approach that builds competence and confidence.

Adaptive learning uses a questions-first approach, probing what learners already know, where they have gaps in their knowledge and their confidence in what they know. When gaps are uncovered, the platform provides resources that are personalized to the learner. In addition, adaptive systems ask learners to rate how well they know a piece of content (measuring their confidence) before the correct answer is revealed. This self-assessment data can be used to further adapt and individualize the learning experience. As a result, learners become more proficient and more confident in their knowledge.

“For young professionals, adaptive learning may very well be the difference between success and failure.”

Holiday Vacation Headaches

From The Muse By CEO Coach Kim Scott

Dear Candid Boss,

With the holidays just around the corner, I want everyone to be able to take the time off they need—but we also have work to do. How can a manager account for everyone’s holiday plans while still making sure the work gets done?

Don’t Call Me Scrooge

Dear Don’t Call Me Scrooge,

It’s that time of year when many of your employees want time off.

For lots of companies, this is also the busiest part of the year. At this point, you need extra hands on deck—not everyone disappearing. And yet declining vacation requests is hard. You don’t want to feel like the Grinch, after all.

Your goal is to find a solution that’s fair to all of your employees. Here are a few tips to make sure your team’s to-do list gets accomplished—while still letting your employees enjoy a well-deserved holiday break.

1. Let Employees Make Trade-offs

You can’t possibly know all the different plans everyone on your team is making over the holidays. Moreover, you don’t need to know—it’s far too exhausting and time-consuming to keep track of.

So, explain to everyone on your team what the coverage needs are, and then let employees figure out who will take care of what. Your job is to create a system that makes it really clear what is needed and when it’s required by—and then let your employees work out who covers for whom.

If you design a system that’s transparent and flexible enough that employees can swap out with each other without creating chaos, things will run much smoother for everyone.

Once you’ve done that, resist the urge to get dragged into the middle of every trade that employees make. Set the expectation that they need to work those things out fairly and amicably between each other. (Of course, if things start to go off the rails, you will have to step in.)

2. Don’t Assume

Remember, not everyone wants to celebrate the same holidays. Plenty of people were raised in other traditions and religions, meaning they might not even want the time off that you’re expecting they would. Additionally, there are people who simply dislike the holidays and would rather work.

If you can, offer people who don’t mind coming into the office during the holidays extra time off at a less busy time of the year. Let people who work on Christmas Eve, for example, take an extra day and a half or even two days off when things are less frantic.

3. Show you Care

Unfortunately, your entire team can’t take vacation at the same time—which means you’ll have the unpleasant task of needing to deny some time off requests.

When an employee’s disappointed that you’ve said no, don’t act like it’s no big deal, or assume that he should just suck it up, or behave as if his feelings are not your problem.

Put simply, eliminate the words “be professional” from your vocabulary. People have emotions. It’s part of your job as a boss to deal with them. You get paid in part for doing this emotional labor.

To help show you care, frame your “no” in a kind way. Perhaps, think about a time when you had to miss an event that was important to you and share that story with the employee. Or you could offer something else to show that you truly care. A half-day that doesn’t count against his PTO in January? A full day off? Drinks on the company? How about lunch?

A good response looks like this:

“I’m sorry, but I need you to work then. I know it sucks to have to work over the holidays. I remember a time when I [example]. If there’s something I can do to make it a little easier let me know. How about an extra day in January?”

Remember: A little compassion goes a long way.
Lastly, remember that as the leader, you should be the one to work when nobody else wants to. Not all the time. But not never or almost never either.

I know, this isn’t the most fun time of year for managers and having to decline vacation requests certainly adds a layer of stress to the holidays. But if you’re fair, kind, and flexible with your team, they can’t act like you’re insane for not wanting everything to burn down over the holidays.

More About Kim Scott
Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity and co-hosts with Russ Laraway the podcast Radical Candor. Kim led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google and then joined Apple University to develop and teach the course “Managing at Apple.” Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies. Follow her on Twitter @candor or Facebook.

Start Planning Now for the Company Party


Excerpts from Tips for Planning Your Association’s Year-End Celebration, written by Emily Bratcher, Contributing Editor, for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Read full article.

The end of 2017 is drawing near, which means it’s time for organizations to start planning their year-end celebrations. The Society for Human Resource Management offers a few tips.

  1.  Consider your culture – [I]t’s more important for the celebration … to be perceived as genuine and sincere.
  2. Consider an activity – Sometimes planning a staff outing is a refreshing change of pace.
  3. Consider family – If your workplace touts itself as family friendly … then end-of-year celebration could be a good time to show it.
  4. Consider timing – End of year is busy for everyone. If you’re behind the eight ball with planning, consider a celebration early in the new year.
  5. Consider liabilities – Consider whether or not serving alcohol will be a party pleaser or a party pooper.


No Such Thing As A Dumb Question

Excerpts from The Cultural Challenge of Board Orientation from Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Read full article here

There may be no such thing as a dumb question, but new board members aren’t always trained to understand that. Orientation should cover the importance of openness along with the nuts and bolts.

That’s one of the helpful pieces of advice that comes from a new book, Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector. In it, Stanford business professors William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker address matters of mission, strategy, team-building, finance, and more. We’ve covered their research on board effectiveness and term limits here before, and a theme tends to emerge in their writing regarding governance—if the people you have on your board are incurious, or only narrowly curious, you don’t want them on your board.

That’s easier said than done, though, for at least two reasons. First, they write, board meetings are often structured in such a way as to close off conversation, not encourage it. “The agenda of a typical nonprofit board meeting consists of pre-baked committee reporting that is designed to preclude discussion—and, truth be told, nonprofit staff often like it that way because it keeps board members from suggesting ideas that might be unrealistic or generate unnecessary work.” A second reason it’s difficult is that board members may not be well-oriented enough about their duties to even recognize the virtue of asking questions.

[A] recent study on association board service by the consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles and the George Mason University law school, which found some serious orientation gaps at associations. According to the study, only 45 percent of board members surveyed said their organization had a “defined onboarding process,” and only 46 percent say their onboarding experience prepared them to be an effective board member. And when board members aren’t sure what they’re doing, that timidity risks spilling over into their decision-making. “When people are uncertain about what’s expected of them, they probably tend to be reluctant to be more engaged,” Dr. David K. Rehr, who was interviewed for this article.

The board leads the association, but it needn’t be expected to take successful orientation into its own hands. Ultimately, staff leaders need to establish a tone that makes clear that they are encouraged to bring their ideas, to ask questions (even stupid ones!), and focus on mission. “Senior leadership needs to ensure that each board member understands expectations,” write the authors of the Heidrick & Struggles/GMU report. “Open lines of communication are critical to establishing a culture of honest discussion and confirming board members are prepared and willing to contribute before, during, and after formal board meetings.”

The crucial question for those charged with orienting board members is: How well am I helping them do that?

What Impact Will Generation Z Have on the Workplace?

Oct. 27, 2017 – This article is reproduced from Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and was written by social media journalist, Ernie Smith.

Click here to access the original article.

To hear it from one recent survey, a lot of managers in the HR department and beyond are concerned about what generation Z—aka people born since 1994—will bring to the workplace.

According to the survey, released by the employee communications firm APPrise Mobile, up to a third of managers worry that employees in gen Z will be a handful.

On top of that, around 26 percent say they foresee communication problems with the younger generation, while 29 percent worry about issues with training, and 16 percent worry about cultural effects.

(Technical skills are likely to be a plus side, though—something 44 percent of respondents noted.)

Certainly, a new generation of workers has the potential to change a lot about your workplace. But is it all bad? A few insights from the world of HR worth keeping an eye on:

Benefits will shift. Here’s how. You may have heard about the increase in interest in certain esoteric benefits such as pet insurance and student loan repayment programs, and there’s a case to be made that gen Z is driving the growth in these programs. A recent article from Employee Benefit News [registration] suggests that those benefits and others will become more common as younger employees, who are less interested in traditional benefits like health insurance, start to fill seats in the office. Additionally, the report notes that this group is likely to be the first generation native to social media and will expect HR departments to offer more tools clearly inspired by social media, such as video services and real-time feedback programs.

Think of them as a generation of entrepreneurs. Since gen Z-ers grew up during an era in which a lot of the technology they use was created by startups, there may be a stronger focus on workflow among the younger generation as it enters the workforce. In a Society for Human Resource Management article with his father, David Stillman, gen Z-er Jonah Stillman argued that streamlining will be a common theme among younger employees. “We will constantly look for ways to streamline processes and procedures. One thing we hear from a lot of gen Z-ers is that we think the other generations overcomplicate things,” he said in the article. “We have grown up in a time where often the middleman has been eliminated, so we will look for ways to do things more efficiently when we show up at the office.”

Expect changes in recruiting. In comments to Human Resource Executive, Randstad North America’s Jim Stroud, who leads that company’s sourcing and recruiting strategy, says that while he sees old-school recruiting strategies making a comeback, generation Z may prove somewhat resistant to these strategies, as millennials have. “Getting passive candidates to talk to you requires a bit of salesmanship, which is something many baby boomers take for granted but does not appear to come naturally to millennials and members of generation Z,” he told the magazine.