7 Agreements to Ensure Your Success

By Lolly Daskal

Accomplishing the things you want to do requires performing at your highest standard, but getting there–and staying there–can be challenging.

One proven technique involves making an agreement with yourself.

Tell yourself that you choose to be a certain way and agree that every decision, every choice, every challenge, will be met from the same perspective.

Here are seven agreements to make with yourself–a path to success. success (1)

1.     I will always be open. It’s always easy to make assumptions, but if you want to know what is happening, ask. If you want to tell people what is going on, communicate. Leave no room for speculation or guessing–communicate and dialogue directly and concisely. Assumptions kill achievement.

2.     I will always lead with integrity. When you speak, and when you act, it will always be with integrity. That means you will say what you mean and mean what you say; your words will always be impeccable, irreproachable, and, most important, aligned to your actions. Keep integrity at the core.

3.     I will always do my very best. If you want to succeed, whatever you do will  always have to be from your very best. Doing your best is never going to mean the same thing each time–it will change with changing circumstances and new people. But whatever the circumstance of situation, no matter who is involved or what you do, everything should come with your highest intentions and best effort.

4.     I will always be appreciative: Sometimes we can take  people or things for granted. It’s easy to take on an entitlement perspective–to say “I deserve this.” And perhaps you do, but you should never take anything for granted. Always show appreciation, because when you show appreciation, you will always get back more than expected.

5.     I will always listen better. Unfortunately, most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Communication is at the heart of leadership, and that means we all have to become better listeners. Learn to be more conscious of how you listen, because success requires that we do much more listening than talking. Focus on each word, each hesitation, each silence.

6.     I will always be of service. If you want to succeed, serve, if you want to be successful, serve with heart. At the heart of great achievement lies the foundation of helping others, guiding others, supporting others. Just as we are successful because of others, we are successful when we help others. Your gifts are not about you, your leadership is not about you, and your purpose is not about you. A life of success is all about serving those who need your gifts, your leadership and your purpose.

7.     I will be always be honest. Telling the truth is hard; research says that 60 percent of adults can’t have a 10-minute conversation without lying at least once. Telling the truth is hard sometimes, but it’s the right thing to do. Think about your meetings, conversations, business deals–where can you add your truth? Success comes to those who can honestly say what is on their minds, regardless of what people might think or say.

Start with these seven–or as many as you think you need–and keep adding to the list and refining it as you need to. Success isn’t a quick fix but a lifelong path of agreements.

Lolly Daskal is the president and CEO of Lead From Within, a global consultancy that specializes in leadership and entrepreneurial development. Daskal’s programs galvanize clients into achieving their best, helping them accelerate and deliver on their professional goals and business objectives. 

Workers Holding Credentials Earn More, New Data Show

By Larry Swisher

The 25.5 percent of U.S. workers who hold a professional certification or license have higher earnings than those who don’t among all education levels, according to figures released April 15 for the first time by the Labor Department. certifications and licenses

The new data come from questions added in 2015 to a monthly survey of 60,000 households, which is used to determine the unemployment rate.

“While BLS has published statistics on labor force status by level of education for a long time, nondegree credentials, such as professional certifications or licenses, have received less attention in national surveys,” Erica Groshen, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a statement posted on the agency’s website.

The new data will allow the BLS to see whether the proportion of people with certifications and licenses changes over time and to track “measures of labor market success for people who hold a certification or license, compared with people who don’t hold these credentials,” Groshen said.

Certifications and licenses—gained to demonstrate a worker has the skill or knowledge needed to do a specific job—include commercial driver’s licenses, teaching licenses, medical licenses and information technology certifications. Some occupations such as those in health care have more workers who hold certifications and licenses.

Among all full-time workers age 25 and older, median weekly earnings of workers with a certification or license were 34 percent higher than those without the credentials in 2015 ($1,004 versus $747).

The amount of the earnings premium varied by education. Weekly earnings of workers with some college or an associate degree and a certification or license were 11 percent higher than their peers who did not have the credentials ($825 per week versus $742).

The occupations with the highest proportions of workers who have a certification or license are health-care practitioners and technical (76.9 percent), legal (68.1 percent), and education, training and library (55.5 percent).

Government workers, many of whom are employed in education and health services, are more likely to hold a certification or license than private-industry workers (40.6 percent versus 22.6 percent).

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator chapter.

Protecting Your Community Against Zika and Other Mosquito Borne-Viruses

By Andrew Fortin

The Zika virus has been making a lot of headlines lately. An outbreak of the virus in Brazil and a possible correlation between Zika and birth defects has generated a lot of concern. Closer to home, the fact that the mosquito that carries the virus can be found year around in South Florida and seasonal over much of the Eastern U.S. has also caused some alarm. The reality is that mosquitos in general can be a vector for a variety of illnesses. The best weapon against any health threat is information. So we thought we’d take a look at what the Zika virus is, how it spreads, and what steps you can take to mitigate the risk of the virus in your community and address any concerns that may arise from your community members.

It is important to remember that Zika is just one of many diseases the can be spread by mosquitos. Many of the other infections that mosquitos can spread are far more dangerous like West Nile, yellow fever, encephalitis, Dengue fever and Malaria. Despite the seeming danger of these many diseases, the proven and best way to prevent their transmission is taking proper precautions to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate conditions that favor mosquito breeding.

What is the Zika Virus?

Interestingly, Zika virus is nothing new. It was originally discovered by scientists in 1947 and is named after a forest in Uganda where it was first found. Since then there have been periodic outbreaks of Zika related illness in various tropical or subtropical areas of the world. In nearly all cases, according to the CDC, Zika infections result in a mild illness characterized by fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The infection rarely requires hospitalization and once the infection clears, scientists believe that the person is then immune from future infections.

More recently, an outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil has led to an increase among pregnant women of a specific birth defect called microcephaly, a condition which impacts the development of the brain size and head of children. This has been the cause of the interest and concern regarding the spread of Zika and the mosquitos that carry it. While there is a correlation to Zika infection and the incidents of microcephaly, the CDC indicates that a direct causal link between the two has yet to be determined. This provides little reassurance for residents in areas where the virus may spread this summer.

Howzika Does Zika Spread?

Zika is spread primarily by mosquito bites. The specific species of mosquito that carries Zika is actually active during the daytime, as opposed to the mosquitos that plague us in the evening hours. Southern Florida is currently the only area of the United States where these mosquitos are active year around, so the risk there is higher than in other states. You can find a map of where the Zika risk exists at this link. It is important to acknowledge that at the time of this article, the only cases of Zika on the mainland U.S. were contracted during travel overseas.

How Can Communities Respond?

First, the best way to prevent any mosquito-borne illness is to prevent mosquitos! This is true for any mosquito-borne illness. Thankfully, mosquito mitigation is something that is well understood and simple to put into action. The most important task any homeowner or association can take is to remove or eliminate any areas or sources of standing water. Those catch basins we put under our potted plants are one of the biggest sources of mosquito breeding; make sure they aren’t retaining water. Second, many municipalities and communities engage professional mosquito control specialists to spray areas where mosquitos exist such as common areas or areas near standing bodies of water. Engaging a professional is the best way to make sure that the spraying methods are in line with current consumer protections regulating insecticides.

For homeowners and individuals, there are a host of steps that can be taken to repel mosquitos. The CDC recommends wearing long sleeves and pants when mosquitos are most active or applying mosquito repellent to exposed areas of the body. A great organic way of controlling mosquitos is attracting bats! Bats can eat their weight in mosquitos each day. Building a bat shelter can help attract these beneficial mammals, just make sure they don’t run afoul of community rules.

Additional Resources:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an excellent website with information on Zika, it includes steps you can take to mitigate mosquito breeding and to protect yourself from mosquito bites. It includes many helpful posters you can print and post in your community.

 

Andrew S. Fortin is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Associa. He works to engage government officials, the media and clients in building stronger community associations and help shape laws that support vibrant community associations.

Study: Certifications Lead To Higher Salaries and Greater Job Fulfillment

By Katie Bascuas

A new study found that a majority of professionals who completed an online certification course reported bumps in salary and job fulfillment—promising news for associations and their members.

Earlier this year the HR Certification Institute launched a new professional certification for early-career human resource professionals.

The Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) helped fill a void in HRCI’s certification offerings for younger HR professionals just out of school and other more experienced professionals who may be transitioning into the HR industry from other areas.

Not only is the new certification a boon to HRCI because it increases the organization’s relevance to a wider audience, but, according to new research, the aPHR may also be a big benefit for those who complete it.

A recent survey of 400,000 people across the globe found that after completing an online certification, 76 percent reported a salary increase or promotion. And when compared with noncertified professionals, those who had completed an online certification were also more likely to report higher levels of confidence and fulfillment at work.

Conducted by Simplilearn, a professional online certification course provider, the survey found that the fields with some of the most significant gains in job titles and salary were digital marketing, IT service and architecture, project management, and big data analytics.

“Employees who go the extra mile to continue to build on their college degrees, particularly in areas that are in most demand by their employers, do receive upticks in salary, promotions, quality of work done, and quality of work assigned, across several fields and industries,” Michael Stebbins, Simplilearn’s chief innovation officer, said in a statement.

The findings, while somewhat self-interested given who conducted the survey, do highlight the value of certifications. An idea supported by research from the ASAE Foundation and North Carolina State University’s Institute for Nonprofits, which found that the benefits of a credential can include increased prestige and a competitive advantage for credential holders, depending on the industry.pay raise

While some jobs in the association industry are in high demand right now, others are less so, and a certification or professional credential could help set job applicants apart. After all, showing a potential employer that you have invested in your own professional development and take your career growth seriously might be the difference between you and 100 other applicants.

Meanwhile, for associations that offer certifications—given their reported value in leading to higher pay and promotions—following in HRCI’s footsteps and surveying where there are potential gaps in what you offer members might be beneficial to both your organization and membership.

Have you found that a certification led to increased growth and fulfillment in your career? Please share in the comments.

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now.

Combat Misconceptions with Education

By Jeremy van der Heiden

To many Americans, living in a homeowner’s association is a new concept. Since 1964, homeowner associations have become increasingly common in the United States. With one in six homes in America now in a community association, many homeowners have less than positive things to say about management companies or homeowner’s associations in general. A lack of education can lead to misconceptions and misinformation. What are these, and how can you combat them?

Common Misconceptions True-or-false-5ff753

Where did this Violation Come From?

Much of the negativity coming from homeowners has to do with the fact that they received a violation letter from the management company, sometimes associated with a fee, and they are upset about it. However, the management company did not make up the rules. Even the current board probably had little or nothing to do with the rules (which are typically set by the developer before the community isturned over to the HOA) These are the codes, covenants and restrictions that were decided within the community itself. It is the community manager’s job to facilitate these rules and take proper action with a notice, late fee or whichever apply per their contract.

Where is My Money Going?

In the homeowner’s mind, why should a management company receive money to simply apply fees and send letters informing of wrong-doing? What most homeowners are unaware of is where  their money is actually going. Running an HOA takes a lot of time, money, manpower and education. Someone needs to do the inspections of the homes, mentioned above. An account needs to be employed to prepare and execute budgets, manage accounts payable and receivable, take homeowner’s dues, manage collections, monitor vendor services and work orders, manage special assessments for upkeep. Budget transparency is a necessary aspect of a functional community.

The Community Association Impinges on my Rights

More and more frequently we are hearing the opinion that community associations impinge on the constitutional rights of the members (homewners) because the association has restrictive covenants. This is quite simply not true, and those few associations that have tried such things have quickly been slapped down by the courts. Many homeowners do not understand that community associations are regulated by many federal and state laws and neither the board nor the manager operate in a vacuum.

My Board is Petty and Power Hungry

Many homeowners think the board is filled with power grabbing tyrants who just want to lord their position over other homeowners. While this has been known to happen on rare occasions, the vast majority of community association boards are just regular people trying to do the right thing for their community. Homeowners who are unhappy with the current leadership should be encouraged to join the board or at least volunteer on a committee. It’s the fastest form of education, and a great way to turn the problem into the solution by effecting change from within.

There are many misconceptions about Community Association Management. How to combat these misconceptions? One of the single greatest tools in your arsenal is homeowner education.

Combat Misconceptions with Education

Relatively minor changes to your communications strategy and the incorporation of a few new projects will go a long way toward boosting your CAM company’s image in the eyes of current and prospective owners, all the while ensuring that board politics are handled properly and intelligently.

Educational Seminars

Many management companies conduct educational seminars for homeowners. This serves a dual purpose of not only training your homeowners, but also getting the opportunity to mingle with them – you can get to know each other. The problem with educational seminars is quite simply time. Most homeowners are not inclined to spend a day or even an hour learning about their association before they are exposed to the value.

Community Forums

People react to very few things as well as free pizza and libations. Consider hosting a forum of sorts on a monthly basis to go over some of the finer points of association ownership and other matters that might interest your clientele. This will not only help to boost their knowledge of ownership, but will connect them with one another. When friendships are built in an association, chances are people will be less likely to cause trouble.

Websites & Portals

A Community website or portal can serve up a multitude of helpful resources for homeowners.  You can create one that owners can use to quickly search for information they need completely autonomously. Your portal can also serve as a conduit to further communications between the association manager, the board and your homeowners.

Newsletters

Whether it is printed, posted or emailed, a community newsletter can be an excellent passive avenue for improving homeowner education. A monthly newsletter that is concise and informative can help to educate owners while keeping them abreast of current goings-on in the association itself.

Welcome Packages

Many times when a new homeowner joins the association, they either know nothing of community association living, or they have been burned by a poor experience they or someone they know has had in the past. To overcome that perception, you need to show that living in a community association can be a positive experience that enhances their neighborhood and ultimately makes their lives better for living there.

Your welcome packet provides new homeowners with an overview of how the community is governed, provides them with an understanding of the rules that they will be living under in the community, gives them plenty of useful information to help them get settled in their new home, and presents them with productive ways to contribute to the community.

Listening

Perhaps the most effective technique you can use to further homeowner communication is to actually listen to what they have to say. Give your homeowners an opportunity to voice their frustrations andactively listen and identify their pain points. Often even the angriest homeowner can be appeased when they know that you are hearing their concerns and taking action based on that.

If homeowner education is a major issue facing your CAM business, chances are you are not properly communicating with your clientele. Communication is among the most important assets you have, and that goes for both internal collaboration with colleagues and external discussions with owners. If you want to build a sense of community and combat homeowner misconceptions, you need to focus on communication as a major priority.

Change for the Better

By: Jim Rohn

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be motivated to succeed by such a lofty goal as benevolence?

In the early years of my struggle to succeed, my motivation was a lot more down-to-earth. My reason for succeeding was more basic. In fact, it fell into the category of what I like to call “nitty-gritty reasons.” A nitty-gritty reason is the kind that anyone can have—and it can cause our lives to change. Let me tell you what happened to me.

Shortly before I met my mentor Earl Shoaff, I was lounging at home one day when I heard a knock at the door. It was a timid, hesitant knock. When I opened the door, I looked down to see a pair of big brown eyes staring up at me. There stood a girl of about 10. She told me, with all the courage and determination her little heart could muster, that she was selling Girl Scout cookies. It was a masterful presentation—several flavors, a special deal and only $2 per box. How could anyone refuse? With a big smile, she politely asked me to buy.

I wanted to—except for one thing: I didn’t have $2. Here I was, a father, a college graduate with a job—and yet I didn’t have $2 to my name.

But I couldn’t tell this to the little girl with the big brown eyes. So I lied to her. I said, “Thanks, but I’ve already bought Girl Scout cookies this year. And I’ve still got plenty stacked in the house.”

It was the only thing I could think of to get me off the hook. And it did. The little girl said, “That’s OK, sir. Thank you very much.” And with that she turned around and went on her way.

I stared after her for what seemed like a very long time. Finally, I closed the door behind me and cried out, “I don’t want to live like this anymore! I’ve had it with being broke and I’ve had it with lying. I’ll never be embarrassed again by not having any money in my pocket.” That day I promised myself to earn enough to always have several hundred dollars in my pocket at all times.

old life new life

This is what I mean by a nitty-gritty reason. It may not win me any prize for greatness, but it was enough to have a permanent effect on my life.

My Girl Scout cookie story does have a happy ending. Several years later, as I was walking out of the bank, I saw two little girls selling candy for a girls’ organization.

One of them approached me, saying, “Mister, would you like to buy some candy?”

“I probably would,” I said playfully. “What kind of candy do you have?”

“It’s Almond Roca.”

“Almond Roca, that’s my favorite! How much is it?”

“It’s only $2.”

$2, it couldn’t be! I was excited. “How many boxes of candy have you got?”

“I’ve got five.”

Looking at her friend, I said, “And how many boxes do you have left?”

“I’ve got four.”

“OK, I’ll take them all.”

At this, both girls’ mouths fell open as they exclaimed in unison, “Really?”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ve got some friends that I’ll pass some around to.”

Excitedly, they scurried to stack all the boxes together. I reached into my pocket and gave them $18. As I was about to leave, the boxes tucked under my arm, one of the girls looked up and said, “Mister, you’re really something!” How about that! Can you imagine spending only $18 and having someone look you in the face and say, “You’re really something!”?

Now you know why I always carry a few hundred dollars on me. I’m not about to miss chances like that ever again.

And to think it all resulted from my own embarrassment, that when properly channeled, acted as a powerful motivator to help me achieve.

How about you? What nitty-gritty reasons do you have waiting to challenge and provoke you to change for the better? Look for them, they’re there.

Sometimes it can be as simple as a brown-eyed girl selling Girl Scout cookies.

 

Jim Rohn, the man many consider to be America’s Foremost Business Philosopher, shared his success philosophies and principles for over 46 years, with more than 6,000 audiences and over 5 million people worldwide.

Summer Safety – Inform Your Members

By Community Association Management Insider

Springtime is a great time to get ready for a busy summer at the community you manage. Many members invite guests into the community and host seasonal parties or activities. There may even be association-sponsored summer fun. But it’s important during this time to keep the community operating smoothly by avoiding accidents and liability for the association during the months where there is extra usage of amenities.

It’s crucial to avoid risks and association liability by making sure that summer safety rules adequately address risks, and members comply with them. Set expectations by passing and enforcing rules barring dangerous behavior in three high-risk areas:

  • Sports courts and the swimming pool
  • Common areas
  • Rooftops

Make sure to say in the rules that all members, residents, and their guests using sports courts or the pool do so “at their own risk,” and that neither the association nor its manager shall be responsible for injuries or accidents. And specify that if a member violates any of these rules, the association and/or manager reserve(s) the right to bar them from using these amenities.

safe summer

Community Association Management Insider provides step-by-step management techniques and easy-to-implement solutions to the challenges facing today’s community association managers.

Solving the Social Media Problem

By Sterling Jenkins

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Jane lives in an HOA and creates a social media group for her community as a way for neighbors to get to know each other and to find out what’s going on.

It works great… at first. But pretty soon a few people sign up who decide to use it as a platform to wage their own personal battles. They make accusations and personal attacks. They are loud and rude.

Before long, most of Jane’s “nice” neighbors won’t use the online community at all because it’s not a friendly place. Her HOA board of directors hates it and has asked her to remove it. The HOA’s attorney says that some of the statements on the forum are defamatory.

This isn’t how it goes with every community association, but chances are high that this story is familiar if you’ve ever managed HOAs.hoa-social-media-nasty

Why does social media so frequently go sour in HOAs when it works great in most non-HOA neighborhoods? Can the problem be solved? Or should community associations just avoid social media altogether?

These problems can be resolved and the risks can be mitigated. If done right, social media is the best way to communicate in your community.

Don’t Give Up! Other Industries Have Solved These problems

While HOAs and condos do have their own unique set of problems, trouble with civility in online communities is very common. Other industries have solved these very problems. Here are some general principles that we can apply.1

  1. Encourage Voluntary Compliance

    Most people want to be civil; it’s in their nature. All they need is a gentle nudge in the right direction.

    • Make the Rules Clear — You should require people to agree to some simple rules before joining the community. This simple step will take care of the majority of problems. Displaying your rules prominently (but not too prominently) will also help.2
    • Enhance Sense of Community — People are more likely to be civil if there’s a strong sense of belonging. You can do this by creating a culture for your online community. Maybe ask them to share their favorite song or organize lots of events through your site.
    • Reward & Sanction — Many online communities incentivize behavior through virtual rewards. For example, Stack Overflow, awards virtual points for good behavior and removes points for improper behavior. Each user then has their community score displayed next to their name. Believe it or not, this works!
  2. Coerce Compliance

    While most people will behave by simply being reminded what “behave” means, there will always be some that will require some coercion.

    • Bans & Gags — Many sites like Wikipedia and LinkedIn will temporarily gag an account if its owner keeps breaking rules. They will even ban accounts who are repeat offenders.
    • Require Earned Participation — Stack Overflow doesn’t allow you to do certain things until you’ve passed certain milestones. This way they make sure that the posts on their site are high quality. (It also keeps the spammers and trolls at bay.) In your case you could require people to pass a quiz before they can create a post.
    • Limit Fake Accounts — Bans and gags only work if it’s difficult to create another account. NextDoor3 does this by requiring a credit card. Gladly does this by syncing with management software.
  3. Limit Effects of Bad Behavior

    Sometimes you’ll find people who insist upon breaking the rules no matter what you do. (Who knows why? Maybe they weren’t hugged enough as a child.) This won’t happen very often but you need to be prepared when it does.

    • Fairness — Even the most passionate trolls, and repeat offenders can turn around if they have the chance to appeal their case — even if their appeal is denied. This is because it’s perceived as being fair. This works best if the governing body is the community as a whole rather than a small group of people (like an HOA board).
    • Group Moderation — Having a small group of people moderate posts is probably not a good idea. It takes time and the result can be much worse than if you didn’t moderate at all. An offender can quickly go from angry to raving mad if he feels like he’s being censored. A better solution is to find a platform that will allow the group to moderate posts. Most people want civility as much as you do and — if they are trained to do it — they will moderate the forum for you.
    • Training — Train owners about what to do when they encounter a rule breaker. Do they kindly remind that individual about a rule? Do they remove the post?

Put It into Practice

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Can’t say I blame you. If you had to do this all on your own, I’d recommend that you avoid social media in your HOAs like the plague. Fortunately there are several social media platforms that are designed specifically for HOAs (Gladly, Nabr Network, and Rezedent are just a few).

Choose the Right Platform

The right platform can be designed to do all of this for you. I recommend looking for a platform that, first and foremost, understands the issue of bad behavior on social media in HOAs. Make sure that it 1) encourages voluntary behavior, 2) coerces compliance, and 3) limits the effects of bad behavior. Make sure that the platform can back up their claims with real data. Finally, look for a social media platform that will reduce both stress and time for board members and managers.


1Many of the ideas for this article are taken from the book Building Successful Online Communities, by Robert E. Kraut and Paul Resnick. If you’re interested in the latest thinking on this topic, I highly recommend you pick up this book.2Displaying rules too prominently can actually backfire. It gives people the impression that rule-breaking happens a lot — so it must be OK.3NextDoor works great for most neighborhoods, but is not designed for HOAs and so has no way of influencing behavior. In our experience, HOAs that use NextDoor frequently have the same problems that Jane did in my example.

Parking Problems

By Donna DiMaggio Berger

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that older multifamily communities have serious parking problems these days since those communities were built decades ago when families used fewer cars.

Today, people move into these communities with three, four and sometimes five cars in tow. In condominiums and cooperatives, there is limited space in the parking garages and parking areas. In homeowners’ associations, parking on the streets and in private garages (many of which are inaccessible due to the fact that they are used as storage units) can be just as problematic.

The proper management of parking spaces is necessarily tied to how parking spaces are classified in a community’s governing documents. In some communities, one or more spaces may be appurtenances to the units, meaning they are conveyed via deed along with title to the unit and cannot be split apart from unit ownership. In other communities, all spaces are defined as common elements which are freely assignable by the board whereas in still other communities, parking spaces are limited common elements which means they are used exclusively by the owners to which they are assigned.

Boards dealing with parking problems often have to navigate amongst the following:

  • Requests for reassignment of parking spaces;
  • How to accommodate disabled parking requests;
  • Insufficient guest parking, particularly during holidays;
  • Initial Developer parking assignments which have been ignored or forgotten over many years; and
  • Owners swapping parking spaces without the authority to do so.

There are a variety of ways to handle parking space problems including possible amendments to your declaration and/or rules and regulations in order to update an antiquated system put in place decades ago.

Even brand-new communities can have persistent parking problems. Recently, a large part of the appeal of a shiny new building in Miami-Dade was its “automated parking garage”. The Robotic Valet was intended to eliminate the need to fight over spaces, remove any concerns about security and generally make residents’ lives easier. It all sounded wonderful but the room for mechanical and human operator error quickly became apparent with some owners waiting for hours for their cars to arrive. One of the areas which was overlooked was peak hours for vehicle retrieval requests. Another was the need to get robotic parking right if you build a garage with a reduced number of parking spaces!

If your community is having parking problems or you just want to be proactive in this regard, please speak to your association attorney for some solutions.

NoParking

5 Powerful Ways to Kickstart Your Morning

By Peter Economy

What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Get things off to a good start every time.

We all know that waking up on the right side of the bed sets the tone for what’s going to happen the rest of the day. Check out these effortlessly simple ways to get your morning off on the right foot.

1. Don’t hit snooze.

You don’t actually need that extra five minutes of sleep. Don’t let your alarm clock trick you with its tempting snooze button. Avoiding the pitfall of going back to sleep–and waking up even groggier than before–is something we all should make more effort in doing. It’s important to remember that, in the grand scheme of things, we’ll be happier we got up first thing in the morning, revving and ready to go.

2. Meditate.meditate

Clearing your mind to find some clarity before your hectic day is absolutely important for starting things off successfully. Reach a place of strong, unshakeable inner peace before looking at your colorful calendar or checking your 40 unread emails.

Put your mind first–after all, nothing works without it.

3. Get your gears turning.

For some of us, this means coffee. For others, this means a quick stretch or jog before work. Although we all have different ways of waking our bodies up, this is a crucial step in beginning our day well. Feed your body what it physically needs to get going, whether it is coffee, breakfast, or exercise. The rest of the day, it’ll thank you.

4. Drink water.

Having a glass of water first thing in the morning is a refreshing way to soothe that dried out throat after a long night’s sleep. For those of us who snore especially, water is key to hydrating our irritated sinuses and vocal chords.

5. Decide on an intention.

Even if it’s just one thing, make a decision to get something done today. As insignificant as it may seem, setting an intention about anything–regardless of how trivial the action–is a great way to begin as an active participant in your everyday life first thing in the morning. It is, if nothing else, a useful tactic for reminding us not to let life go by without seizing the day.

While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers.