Check Your Budget Blindspots

If you only look directly ahead while planning next year’s expenses and revenue, you’ll miss what’s running alongside you or gaining from behind. And staffers sometimes ignore red flags. Being candid about the numbers and setting up guardrails can improve the process and the outcome.

Budgeting is a necessary part of an association’s life, but it also involves reconciling an inherent contradiction: trying to predict the future, and then attaching hard numbers to the prediction. Add to that challenge department managers who have ample expertise in their disciplines but who aren’t necessarily association finance wizards, and it’s no surprise that budgeting becomes a headache for many organizations.

Staffing, technology, and especially meetings are a few of the major areas where associations often miss the mark on budgeting. But beyond departmental issues, executives and finance experts say, the biggest finance blind spots often involve a failure to think broadly about budget lines. Who takes responsibility for a project that touches multiple departments? Are you properly integrating internal

resources, beyond hard expenses, into project costs? And are you considering the association’s broader financial goals when you’re drawing up next year’s plan?

“Not as much as you ought to” is the general consensus in response to those questions, and a cavalier budgeting approach can have stifling consequences, says Lee Klumpp, director, national assurance, nonprofit and education practice, at BDO.

“People will say, ‘You came in $20,000 over budget. That’s all right.’ Problem is, that’s $20,000 worth of resources that could’ve been used some other way, that wasn’t budgeted for and wasn’t approved,” he says. “But nobody’s been held accountable for it.”

Luckily, some forethought and common sense can go a long way to helping an association budget more accurately.

Our goal is to do better [financially], but we cannot budget on wishes and good intentions.

Zero-Based Budgeting

One of the most common mistakes that many staffers make is to simply plug last year’s numbers into next year’s budget. But even though a project or program may repeat from year to year, conditions that affect what it costs often change.

Meetings are unquestionably the biggest bugbear. Craig Silverio, CAE, vice president, finance, at PMMI, a trade association for the packaging and processing industries, points out that association events are rife with wild cards. Locating a meeting in a different venue every year can affect travel costs, attendance, facility rentals, food and beverage, and more.

“Inevitably, those meetings change in structure,” Silverio says. “Are the same amount of people going to be there? Is it in the same geographic location? What are the costs in the city? Are we going to have the same types of speakers, or are we going for more high-powered ones? Are we going to have more customer panels where we have to pay people? What type of volunteer speakers are we working with?”

To account for such shifts, Silverio advocates for zero-based budgeting: building each project budget annually out of a fresh cost and revenue analysis, rather than carrying prior numbers forward. In the case of meetings, he instructs staff to deliver a budget based on the costs specific to upcoming events’ venues, using their lists of food and beverage costs (and those pesky service charges).

“After the event, we go back and reconcile guarantees, minimums, and actual plated meals so that we can do a better job next time,” he says.

Estimating how many people will attend can be equally tricky and often depends on the venue. Douglas M. Kleine, CAE, president of Professional Association Services, prefers to estimate based on a three-year rolling average. “Yes, our goal is to do better [financially], but we cannot budget on wishes and good intentions,” he says.

Art of Anticipation

Strong policies and procedures can help rein in budget lines that may otherwise run amok. A key is anticipating future needs before they arise.

Consider technology, which at large organizations can become complicated and expensive. Klumpp prescribes breaking out technology budgets into an operating budget for day-to-day IT matters and a capital expenditure budget to handle new servers, phone systems, and so on, that rotate out every few years. To encourage IT departments to better budget for those expenses, he recommends that any variances of greater than a specified dollar amount or percentage require board approval.

Dave Zepponi, president and CEO of the California Association of Community Managers, has seen that struggle at the ground level at small associations he’s worked with. Software can be cheap on the front end, he says, but associations often don’t anticipate how much extra they’ll be paying in support costs. He now makes sure those costs are built into his budgets.

“The number-one issue is: How much customization are we going to have to do?” he says. “Once you get the software, reality will hit. We make sure we have a certain percentage set aside for technology investment.”

Keeping Staff Accountable

Accountability can be straightforward when it comes to laptops and software—that’s IT’s job. But who owns, say, e-learning, which touches not just technology but education, credentialing, publications, and more?

For complex projects, Klumpp recommends that one person take responsibility for budgeting on a per-project basis, rather than have various participants chime in. “Anything that’s done by committee might turn out really well, but when it comes to finance and budget by committee, it usually doesn’t,” he says. “Either somebody’s really a stickler on the costs, or they don’t care, [thinking,] ‘We’re building the best mousetrap we can, regardless of costs.’”

Anything that’s done by committee might turn out really well, but when it comes to finance and budget by committee, it usually doesn’t.

Another issue is ensuring that department heads are watching not just dollars spent on a project but time spent by employees as well. “In the association world, time can be 60 to 70 percent of our costs,” Zepponi says. “If somebody is riding a sacred cow and they don’t want to let go of it, it’s pretty easy to make it look really good if you’re not allocating properly for that product area. Your accounting system has to support that.”

Staffers can also stumble when it comes to budgeting appropriately for travel. “You’ll have people who will put a budget together and say, ‘This activity is going to be five travel days, and there’s going to be three people going,’” says PMMI’s Silverio. “Next thing you know, [the activity has] 180 travel days, which is ridiculous. People can sometimes wear rose-colored glasses about all the things they’re planning to do.”

The Big Picture

But just as individual staffers need to take ownership of budgets for specific projects, an association’s leadership needs to help direct those staffers to keep the organization’s broader strategy in mind. Patrick Nichols, president of Transition Leadership International, says C-suite executives too often fail to present the broad strokes of a financial plan to the people doing the front-line budgeting.

“Leadership should draw specific implications for budgeting,” he says. For example, “‘This plan suggests that we will spend significantly more on X, where we have to make investments. That means that, without significant revenue growth, we must spend significantly less on Y and Z.’ When budgets are submitted by departments, they should provide a brief narrative explaining how this budget reflects the requirements of the plan.”

Tim Schaffer, executive director at the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers, argues for an iterative approach to budgeting, performing weekly updates on revenue drivers such as attendance and membership and comparing the numbers to prior years. That not only helps with future projections but also allows the association to make cost-saving moves on the fly.

“It gives you time to adjust in case you see numbers lagging,” Schaffer says. “Or it saves you from wasting money on extra mailings or other promotion expenses if you see the numbers growing at a good pace.”

In all cases, the key to effective budgeting is precision and research. Staffers can be inattentive when they recycle dollar figures. But, Silverio says, they can be just as unfocused when they shoot for the moon with revenue projections that have little basis in reality.

“You’ll see budget initiatives where people say, ‘We’re going to go from $50,000 to $100,000 in revenue.’ It’s great that you feel that way, but why don’t we go from 50 to 70—add 40 percent. If you hit 100 you’ll be a hero, but if you don’t, you’re going to look like you underperformed, even if you had 40 percent growth.”

And staffers often don’t consider what their departments are actually costing the organization. Klumpp advocates budgets that differentiate between direct costs—what a department is directly invoiced for—and indirect costs, which includes items like unused office space or a salary line for an unfilled staff position. Department heads need to be challenged to recognize exactly what costs they’re responsible for, Klumpp says—especially if they’re holding off on a decision about resources.

“All things that affect the cost to run a program or a department should be built into the budget,” he says. “Our delays and inactions to address changes and variance in actual cost versus budget can hurt the organization and could be an indication that something is missed.”

Reproduced from Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives. By

Keep Homeowners & Employers Confident in Your Ability to Provide Quality Service

If you’re one of many CMCAs gearing up for the October 1 recertification date, make sure you’re on track to successfully complete the process. Recertification means you’re an accomplished professional committed to developing your skills and knowledge. The summer months are a perfect time to regroup and recharge by participating in fun and educational learning opportunities.

Recertification is a critical component to promoting and demonstrating continued competency in the community association management profession. Recertifying CMCAs must participate in continuing education in the field of community association management totaling at least 16 hours of continuing education coursework every two years.

CMCA Recertification: Reinforcing The Value of The Essential Credential

The CMCA examination is NCCA-accredited and in the professional credentialing industry, NCCA accreditation represents compliance with best credentialing industry practices. As a CMCA you can continue to enhance your marketability, show your dedication to your profession, and provide the highest level of guidance to your associations by continuing your education and maintaining your certification.

Recertification also provides the opportunity for you to reaffirm your commitment to the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct to your community associations, your employers, your peers and the millions of people living in community associations.

There are numerous professional development opportunities for CMCAs, ranging from college degrees and coursework, to conferences, professional coaching, community workshops, seminars, symposiums, and webinars. There are many courses offered that cover a wide range of topics including community association management operations, administration, legal requirements, accounting, human resources, and public administration.

Continuing Education

It’s important to note that anyone who meets the continuing education requirements to maintain the following credentials will meet the CAMICB continuing education requirement:

  • CAI’s Association Management Specialist (AMS)
  • CAI’s Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM)
  • National Association of Housing Cooperative’s (NAHC) Registered Cooperative Manager (RCM) designation
  • Florida’s Community Association Manager license (CAM)
  • Nevada’s Community Association Manager certificate

Recertification requires the completion of 16 hours of continuing education within your two-year certification period.

Not sure of your recertification date? Go to: https://www.camicb.org/find-a-cmca

Visit www.camicb.org for useful resources, links, approved continuing education courses and providers.

Connecting with Key State Lawmakers at the 2019 NCSL Legislative Summit

By Matthew Green

CAMICB Director of Credentialing Services

CAMICB had the privilege of partnering with CAI and exhibiting at the National Conference of State Legislatures 2019 Legislative Summit last week in Nashville, TN. Our team had more than 525 face-to-face conversations with lawmakers hailing from all 50 states. It was an energizing two and a half days spent networking, informing, learning and spreading awareness of the importance of the CMCA credential.

CAMICB is focused squarely on educating state and international lawmakers about the community association management profession and its important distinction from other real estate and property management professions.  To that end, we’re committed to making sure these influential policymakers consider the CMCA credential as a primary certification option should legislatures pursue licensing the association management profession.

We also had the opportunity to exchange ideas and stories with several colleagues from NCCA and ISO 17024 accredited certification boards regarding best practices in standards compliance – another top priority for CAMICB’s credentialing program.

With more than 215 exhibitors, dozens of international countries represented – including Germany, Brasil, and South Africa – and more than 130 policy sessions offered, the 2019 Legislative Summit was an incredibly valuable experience – one I look forward to each year.

 

 

Preparing Your Manager For the CMCA

Hiring a new manager is a big investment for a management company. Giving your new manager time to adjust as he or she adapts to your company culture, gets to know your clients, and navigates the inevitable learning curve takes time and money. But often overlooked in the early part of this process is professional development. What can you do to help your manager succeed in your business and with your clients?

It’s widely known that the community association manager’s scope of responsibility is vast. A manager needs to understand contracting, property maintenance, reserves, and much more to properly manage a community association. That’s why the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential is designed to verify a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices in these critical areas.

Many management companies have seen the value in the CMCA program and require their new hires to pass the exam as a hiring contingency. Certifying new managers as CMCAs will help them gain a valuable qualification not only to further their careers but their success for the company as well.

While certifying new managers as CMCAs is an excellent idea, many new managers may have either limited or no previous knowledge of the many facets of their position.

To set your manager up for success, it’s important to give them the time and resources they will need to fully absorb all the different aspects of the profession. Encourage your manager to visit the www.camicb.org website for resources designed to help prepare new managers to successfully pass their CMCA Exam the first time:


Encourage your new manager to enroll in The Community Associations Institute (CAI)’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Associations course, which also fulfills the educational prerequisite.
This course is designed as an overview of the community association management profession as a whole and will give your new manager the foundation of knowledge they will need to build on.

Give your managers time to review and study the exam prep materials available on the www.camicb.org website.
A list of all preparatory materials is available on www.camicb.org by selecting Get Certified >> Exam Preparation. From games and puzzles to glossaries and definitions, these study materials cater to a variety of learning styles.

Emphasize to your manager the importance of learning standardized test-taking strategies
Because the CMCA exam is designed to evaluate a community manager’s knowledge of industry best practices, more than one multiple choice answer may, on an initial reading, seem correct. From an industry best practices perspective, however, there is only one correct answer.

Develop study sessions for new managers that include experienced staff.
With so much information to take in, your manager will likely have many questions while studying for their exam. Consider pairing the new manager with other CMCAs in your office to give them the opportunity to ask specific questions and learn important skills they will need to apply their knowledge.

Offer the new manager up to a year to study and gain experience for the exam
The CMCA Exam tests both the manager’s knowledge and the manager’s understanding of the application of best practices.  That understanding will best be gained from hands-on experience.Giving the manager enough time to understand and apply knowledge in practice will dramatically
increase their chance of success on the exam

If your management company already has in place an avenue for managers to earn professional credentials, like the CMCA, tell us how you do it! Share your insights; what works and what doesn’t work to help other new managers find success.

13 Behavioral Traits That Make You Most Likely to Succeed in Life

Leaders need them to understand, evaluate, and improve.

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There is no shortage of thought around the behavioral traits that allow people to be successful in life. To me, there are some very basic behaviors (value system, work ethic, positivity, grit, kindness, generosity, gratitude for ourselves and others) that I believe are fundamentals. But, the real answer lies in the definition of success. And, each of us has our own unique definition.

One of the most powerful moments in my leadership was when my largest client toured our office and the new Clarity Institute. He was blown away by the creativity, detail, and meaning in every element. However, he was visibly disturbed by a wall that displayed the message: “The only line we care about is our client’s growing bottom line.” I was shocked at his response because of the multimillion-dollar turnaround we helped him to spearhead. But when asked, he replied, “how about the number of moms and dads you ensure go home at night because of our safe practices, how about the decrease in suicides, how about the increase in happy employees?” Lesson learned – his priorities and definition were clear. Once I was able to understand his definition, then the behavioral traits become clearer too.

When we help people work through transitions in their lives and work, we employ a set of 13 behavioral traits or competencies that we believe leaders (leaders of their own lives or as leaders of their companies) must work to evaluate, understand and improve.

1. Inspiring others

2. Thinking strategically
3. Leading change

4. Learning from experience

5. Navigating ambiguity

6. Demonstrating courage and grit

7. Displaying interpersonal savvy

8. Being mindful

9. Displaying creativity

10. Building relationships

11. Recognizing potential

12. Communicating effectively

And, finally, the 13th behavioral competency is positivity.

While there are robust definitions and behavioral examples that help leaders understand each competency, I want to briefly focus on number 13 – positivity. To many, it appears soft and fuzzy. But positivity is one of the most important catalysts for profitability, it is a key driver for health and well-being of a leader or company, and it is the glue that binds us to our desired future state. We measure positivity in leaders and companies through the Positivity Quotient, which is a key indicator of a leader’s or an organization’s ability to achieve their goals in a timely manner.

Just like anything that is worth having in life, these behaviors are things that must be understood, constantly evaluated and worked on. In our Deutser Clarity Institute, we bring each of these to life through wildly imaginative exercises and creative spaces so that an individual, leader or team has the freedom and safety to explore the boundaries of each. Whether at the Institute, at the office or at home, take time to think about these and the behavioral competencies that define and drive you!


 

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter and Facebook. More questions:

What behavioral traits make people more likely to succeed in life? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Brad Deutser, Deutser CEO, Creative Strategist, Author of Leading Clarity, on Quora

Published on: Jul 12, 2019

Keeping Homeowners & Employers Confident In Your Ability To Provide High Quality Service

If you’re one of many CMCAs gearing up for the October 1 recertification date, make sure you’re on track to successfully complete the process. Recertification means you’re an accomplished professional committed to developing your skills and knowledge. The summer months are a perfect time to regroup and recharge by participating in fun and educational learning opportunities.

Recertification is a critical component to promoting and demonstrating continued competency in the community association management profession. Recertifying CMCAs must participate in continuing education in the field of community association management totaling at least 16 hours of continuing education coursework every two years.

CMCA Recertification: Reinforcing The Value of The Essential Credential

The CMCA examination is NCCA-accredited and in the professional credentialing industry, NCCA accreditation represents compliance with best credentialing industry practices. As a CMCA you can continue to enhance your marketability, show your dedication to your profession, and provide the highest level of guidance to your associations by continuing your education and maintaining your certification.

Recertification also provides the opportunity for you to reaffirm your commitment to the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct to your community associations, your employers, your peers and the millions of people living in community associations.

There are numerous professional development opportunities for CMCAs, ranging from college degrees and coursework, to conferences, professional coaching, community workshops, seminars, symposiums, and webinars. There are many courses offered that cover a wide range of topics including community association management operations, administration, legal requirements, accounting, human resources, and public administration.

Continuing Education

It’s important to note that anyone who meets the continuing education requirements to maintain the following credentials will meet the CAMICB continuing education requirement:

  • CAI’s Association Management Specialist (AMS)
  • CAI’s Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM)
  • National Association of Housing Cooperative’s (NAHC) Registered Cooperative Manager (RCM) designation
  • Florida’s Community Association Manager license (CAM)
  • Nevada’s Community Association Manager certificate

Recertification requires the completion of 16 hours of continuing education within your two-year certification period.

Not sure of your recertification date? Go to: https://www.camicb.org/find-a-cmca

Visit www.camicb.org for useful resources, links, approved continuing education courses and providers.

6 career goals you should meet by ages 30, 40 and 50

In most companies, every quarter — or at least twice a year — you’re tasked with setting goals for yourself. As a way to manage your responsibilities, help you prioritize the most important deliverables and keep you tracking toward something, goals are often used as benchmarks of progress. If you meet ’em, you might earn a raise, a title change or bargaining power to ask for more vacation or flexibility. If you don’t — it’s time to work on improving your performance.
That’s what makes setting personal professional goals are bit trickier — since no one is holding you accountable, it’s tough to stay on track and pushing forward. That’s why long-term aspirations are recommended by career experts since you give yourself years — and hey, even a decade — to achieve them. As career coach and author Mary Camuto explains, these targets create focus, momentum, and markers of your success.“Goals should be tangible steps towards both your short-term needs/wants and your longer-term vision for your life Time will pass quickly whether or not you have set a direction or career course,” she shares.Here, some ideas for each decade of your career:

In your 30s

Once the day of your college graduation has come and gone, you’re running full-speed ahead toward that job you paid so much money to be qualified for. Your 20s and 30s are defined by climbing – up the ladder, up the ranks, up the SEO search pages, up, up and up. And if you’ve ever rock-climbed, you know how much strength and endurance it takes to keep pushing. What’s nice though? The semi-comfortable peak you should reach by 40, where you’ve created a name, a reputation and hopefully, a skill set that’ll propel you into the next phase of life and working.

Have a killer online — and offline — presence:

As a generation that’s redefining the metrics and requirements of working, challenging employers to think differently and more digitally, who you are online is arguably just as important as who you are face-to-face. Branding and career expert Wendi Weiner, Esq., stresses the importance of having an sharp presence in the interwebs. This pillar will help you reach where you want to be once those 40 birthday candles arrive. “Your 30’s should be spent building your network and growing your professional stature. Attend events with business cards, have a professionally written LinkedIn profile, and begin to pinpoint where you want to see yourself in 10 years,” she encourages. “Begin keeping a brag book that you can update every couple of months with key career wins and projects you are leading.”

Don’t forget to take that elbow-rubbing and quick wit offline, too. Camuto says by the time you reach the end of your 30s, you should be in a leadership position within the community or industry you’re part of. “Build and participate in at least two networking groups related to your career: join or lead a committee, volunteer at events. This goal has impact to both your current and future success in that your resources and contacts broaden as well as your professional reputation,” she explains.

Set yourself up for future success:

Money matters are difficult for most people to discuss — and even harder to do something about. Though discussing retirement in your 20s or 30s might feel way too soon, the earlier you begin prioritizing your financial health, the better off you’ll be when 65 (or 70 or 75 … ) comes. “You should plan to pay off some debt in your 30’s and open a 401K at your company to begin planning for your financial future,” she shares. The less you worry about dollars in your banking account, the more time you can spend wowing your manager.

In your 40s

For many, your 30s are a time of tremendous growth, whether it’s finally reaching a c-level title or starting and completing your family. With demands from every corner of your life, most people feel stretched thin, and well, really happy. Even so, it’s important to keep your career progressing as you inch through your 40s, navigating the process of aging mentally and physically. You never want to lose your competitive edge, considering you still have a good 20 years of work ahead of you.

Get an advanced certification:

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, Weiner clarifies, but it does mean having a candid and open look at your skill sets to seek areas of improvement. You might fall off track as you become further removed from those college days, but a commitment to knowledge will allow you to keep up with recent grads. She suggests finding certifications — like Google Analytics or a coding course — that add another gold star for your resume.

Take executive leadership classes:

There’s a difference between a manager and a leader: even if you have ten direct reports, if you’re not inspiring them to greatness, you’re missing the mark. Not everyone is a natural-born trailblazer, so Weiner encourages 40-something professionals to acknowledge their weakness in this department. “Consider enrolling in an executive leadership or executive management program to enhance your leadership value and skill set, and start to get clear on where you will want to be for the next decade,” she says.

By doing this, you will be more qualified to go for keynote speaking sessions — or at least some sort of panel or conference — that adds more overall value to your brand. As Camuto explains, having a public image that others follow “not only impacts your recognition and success at your current organization but also lead you to a new path/new goals.”

In your 50s

As you reach mid-life, you’re probably going through a period of transition. Your children are getting older — as are you — and you could worry the best days of your life are behind you. Or more to the point: the most exciting times of your career have passed. Looking down the eye of retirement can produce a slew of emotions, but before you allow yourself to get carried away, remember there are still many years to shape your performance. Since most won’t retire until at least 65, discounting the last decade and some pennies will shortchange your career.

Strategize your retirement exit:

You can’t go over it, can’t go around it — you must go through it … with a plan in mind. Weiner says strategizing your exit will rest your angst and also put you in the best possible situation once your final working hour closes. So go on, ask yourself: where do you want to be — and who do you want to be — when that day arrives? Probably not over-exhausted to your bones, but in a happy place of balance and accomplishment. “You might be looking for a big shift in your career and where you want it to take you on the tail end of your final decade of work. By now, you are practicing more work-life balance and also realizing the importance of vacation days and time away to travel,” she says. Sit with your investment advisor and with your family, and determine your timeline so you stay the course—sans fear.

Serve as a mentor:

Workplace expert and industrial-organizational psychology practitioner Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. says professionals in their 50s will reap rewards (and hey, some karma) from giving back to budding workers. Not only will you be an important figure in their career, but it might ignite a renewed sense of optimism and creativity in yours. “One of the biggest gifts you can give to your field and community is to help those who are in need of mentoring. As you teach a mentee the tricks of the trade, you may even be inspired by your mentee’s enthusiasm and overall interest,” she explains.

By Lindsay Tigar for www.theladders.com

Finding CE Credit Opportunities That Make Sense for You

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director

CAMICB is a program dedicated to professional growth and competency and has designed the CMCA Recertification process to encourage certified managers to continually pursue professional development in the community association management field.  To facilitate these efforts, a Committee appointed by the CAMICB Board of Commissioners meets monthly to review and approve anywhere between 40 and 60 applications each month from various providers.

While there are more than 800 pre-approved continuing education courses, many of which are free or low-cost and can be found on the CAMICB.org web site, we also believe in flexibility and want to make sure you take the courses that best support your professional path.  If there’s a course or event you’re interested in that’s not included on the approved list of continuing education, managers are encouraged to submit the continuing education opportunity to CAMICB for approval.

Remember, the topics must pertain specifically and primarily to community association operations or management (e.g., operations, administration, legal requirements), are relevant to your professional development (e.g., Quickbooks, Excel, effective communications, leadership, etc.) or have a direct impact on your community. For example, if you manage a primarily Spanish-speaking community, and are interested in taking a Spanish language course, CAMICB would consider approving those credits.  

Approval can be granted in one of two ways: by either asking the course provider to complete and submit the CE Course Provider Application or by submitting the program outline or agenda, including dates, times, and speaker bios, to CAMICB yourself.  Similarly, college courses may be submitted for approval if the classwork meets the criteria described in the CMCA Handbook

A Snapshot of Available Resources & Tips for Finding CE Credits

Be sure to review Section 4 of the CMCA Handbook for a primer on earning continuing education credits, as well as the Continuing Education Page at www.camicb.org for an overview of credit and coursework specifications.

Next, consider the many already approved options available to complete your continuing education coursework from the List of Approved Continuing Education, including pre-approved courses offered by the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

Take advantage of your local CAI chapter by monitoring any upcoming events or classes that have been approved for continuing education credit. To find your local chapter, go to the Find a Chapter page on the CAI website.

And don’t forget to explore free or low-cost webinars that are offered by the following providers:

 

Brene Brown, Satya Nadella, and Tim Cook Believe in This Essential Leadership Trait

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All agree empathy is a leadership trait.

At the beginning of the year I read an article from Melinda Gates explaining how instead of setting a New Year’s resolution, she chooses a word of the year. Like Melinda, I was drawn to the simplicity of focusing on one word for 12 months.

I’ve always believed entrepreneurs have a strong sense of empathy because it’s at the core of what they do–understanding customer pain points to develop thoughtful solutions that meet customers’ needs. But empathy isn’t just good for business, it’s good for humanity. That’s why this year I’ve committed to focusing more on empathy in the workplace–to practice empathy as a leader and encourage others to do so.

Over the last five months, I’ve had some successes, and naturally, some failures. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Empathy can be learned.

Many amazing leaders openly discuss the importance of empathy–Brene Brown on how it’s good for relationships, Satya Nadella on how it’s good for innovation, and Tim Cook on how it’s good for inclusiveness.

One thing they all have in common is the notion that empathy can be learned–and they’re right. Research validates that those who believe empathy can be developed are more likely to engage in behaviors to help them develop it.

Empathy is contagious.

The best way to have your team adopt a more empathic mindset is to start with yourself. You’ll find its effect to be contagious which, in return, shapes work culture.

Take, for example, an employee who misspeaks in a meeting. If the manager responds with an outburst, the employee feels inadequate and as a result, the culture becomes timid over time. Alternatively, if the manager responds empathetically, they have the ability to shape an empathic culture that yields trust and inclusiveness.

Empathy requires connection.

Empathy is more than just responding–it’s connecting. In other words, digging deep within yourself to identify a feeling that is similar and then verbalizing how you feel with an individual.

I’ve found the best way to connect is to build trust, and the best way to build trust is to be transparent about your vulnerabilities. By doing so, it signals that it’s okay to not be okay. We can all, at some point, relate to not being okay.

Empathy can be challenging.

Being empathetic comes more naturally when you’ve been in a similar situation–it allows you to tap into the feelings you felt, and in return, you empathize with the individual. Where empathy is challenging is when it doesn’t come reflexively.

Alternatively, when we’re vulnerable and are challenging ourselves to be empathetic, we look for positive reinforcement in return. When empathy isn’t reciprocated, don’t give up.

By Marc LoreSerial entrepreneur, CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S.@marcericlore, Published on: Jul 1, 2019 for Inc.com.

Reserve Studies & Your Community’s Long-Term Goals

By:  Jessica Vail, The Falcon Group

It is widely known that having an updated Capital Reserve Study imageis vital for the success of any community association; as it is a guide to help set aside funds and is the road map for all future capital improvement projects and expenditures.

How to understand your reserve study

The Reserve Study includes the identification, quantification and financial analysis of only the replacement or major repair of the association’s common elements.  It offers recommendations as to the amount of money an association should fund on a yearly basis.  The analyses and recommendations are important in that they help avoid possible future special assessments of the individual unit owners.  The analyses also takes into account the site-specific existing conditions, their useful life and the realistic replacement and maintenance costs based upon actual material costs and site-specific individual item’s method of construction.

It is also important to include a preventative maintenance plan because it meets legal, fiduciary and professional requirements.  It provides for the planned maintenance of major components and minimizes the need for special assessments.  Homeowners, especially those on fixed income, may have limited resources and might be unable to afford the large special assessments necessary for major replacements.

While it is recommended that a community’s Reserve Study is updated every three years (5 for new communities), it is important to look at the reserve study as a living document.  There are many instances that require an update even within a three-year window.  For example, if the community has had a major renovation or replacement project, it is imperative that the Reserve Study reflect this change to retain its accuracy and make sure funds are being properly allocated.  If there is any uncertainty, it is always recommended to consult your engineer or Reserve Specialist.

Planning for the future

Far too often, associations are finding themselves in an underfunded position at the beginning of a replacement project. Whether it is reconstructing roadways, sidewalks, roofs or other aspects of the community, the association will rely on funding that has been recommended and established over the useful life of the item.

Standard useful lives are, often times, based solely upon standards used in the engineering industry taken from information listed in life cycle analysis publications and/or manufacturer’s specifications.  This can result in underfunding.  Site specific useful lives must be used.  Actual conditions must be physically inspected and changes must be made to the projected useful lives as conditions change.  Aesthetics may also affect the replacement of an item sooner than scheduled.

Another key factor is:  quantities.  Quantities should be verified by the as-built conditions.  This must be done for any initial reserve analysis and should always be field-checked on subsequent studies.  Failure to provide an association with correct quantities may result in a significant underfunded condition in the future.

The unit costs provided in the funding table for the replacement of the Capital Reserve items should be based upon a number of sources, including published documentation on replacement costs.  They should also be based upon the Reserve Specialist’s experience in site and building construction.  The individual reconstruction or replacement of each item should be analyzed and the resulting unit costs should be adjusted accordingly.  Individual (site-specific) characteristics affecting the unit’s costs are different on every site and the replacement costs must be adjusted accordingly.  Existing site conditions, the size and scope of the future replacement project, the job access locations; the site restoration costs and presence existing components are all variables that affect the item’s replacement costs.  Many times the unit replacement costs shown in these studies barely cover the materials costs for the item.

There are quite a few moving parts involved with an accurate Capital Reserve Study. It is imperative to work closely with your engineer or Reserve Specialist to ensure its accuracy and that the study is being updated on a regular basis to fit the needs of your community.