These Are the Biggest Upsides of Buying a Home With a Strong HOA

by Christy Bieber | For Ascent, A Motley Fool Service

Key points

  • Many neighborhoods have homeowners associations.
  • HOAs usually charge fees that add to monthly housing costs.
  • There are benefits of HOA living despite the fees and restrictions.

When you are buying a house, you’ll likely come across many neighborhoods where there is a homeowners association. HOAs often impose rules about what you can do with your home, and they also charge fees you’ll have to pay each month on top of your mortgage payment.

While the added cost of an HOA may seem undesirable, there are actually a few big benefits of living in a neighborhood with an association. In fact, here are some of the biggest upsides of living someplace with an HOA.

1. The HOA protects your property values

Your property values are affected by the quality of your neighborhood and by how your neighbors maintain their houses. After all, no matter how nice your own property is, no one will want to buy it if it’s next to a slum.

Homeowners associations set and enforce rules related to the upkeep of property in the neighborhood. They may also set other restrictions such as requiring approval before painting a house or adding lawn ornaments. These rules help keep the neighborhood looking nice, which in turn keeps property values higher.

2. The HOA maintains the neighborhood and amenities

HOAs usually maintain common areas, and some neighborhoods with strong associations have lots of amenities such as pools or golf courses.

These features can add value to your home since they are desirable to buyers, and they can also make it nicer for you to live in your neighborhood since you can take advantage of them.

3. Fees may include common utilities and maintenance tasks

In some cases, HOA fees include things like internet service, pool maintenance, or lawn care. When that is the case, it’s convenient to pay one common fee to get many different services rather than having to arrange for them individually and contract with companies to pay for them separately.

In some situations, you may actually end up saving money because it can be cheaper for internet companies or landscaping companies to provide their services to an entire neighborhood rather than to just individual households. The fees you’re paying could actually be a better value than paying for these services privately.

4. The HOA can deal with neighborhood disputes

When people live in close proximity to one another, it’s often inevitable that disputes arise. There could be issues for a huge number of reasons, from barking dogs to lawns that aren’t maintained to loud music playing and more.

When you live in an HOA neighborhood, you don’t have to directly deal with a neighbor who is causing you problems in your enjoyment of your own home. The HOA most likely has regulations related to common nuisances or issues that come up regularly. They’ll take care of addressing the issues that arise among neighbors so you don’t have to sour your relationship with those living near you or cope with the stress of a confrontation.

For all of these reasons, it’s worth considering an HOA neighborhood when you buy a property. Just remember you need to be comfortable with the rules the association sets as you’ll have to live by them too.

How To Communicate Effectively In A Multigenerational Organization

By Angela Ivy for Forbes

A Gen Z TikTok influencer, a millennial manager and a Gen X homeowner with five children walk into a room. That statement may sound like the start of a joke, but it’s also what a typical meeting in a multigenerational organization may look like. The four largest generations—boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z—are currently in the workforce, each with their own unique communication styles and expectations.

Organizations can benefit from employees with diverse backgrounds, but a lack of knowledge about other generations in the workforce can hinder effective teamwork and communication. To successfully lead a multigenerational organization through these challenges, business leaders should work to understand the preferences of their audience, use multiple methods of communication, and unite employees across generations by crafting inclusive messaging.

Below are three strategies business leaders should consider to ensure effective and open multigenerational communication.

Understand Communication Preferences

While published data offers a wealth of conclusions about different generational styles, business leaders should take a step back and consider how best to reach each audience within the company.

Just like every individual has different preferences of communication, regardless of age, each organization’s culture creates a unique messaging environment. For instance, fully remote organizations will face different challenges than hybrid businesses with several in-person days each week.

Gathering the necessary information about communication preferences is as easy as asking your employees. Surveys can be a powerful tool to find out how employees best receive and respond to information. An internal communications survey can identify areas that need more attention and highlight tactics that deliver key messages effectively and inclusively to all employees.

Use Multiple Communication Channels

In any multigenerational organization, business leaders can benefit from sharing key messages across multiple channels and forums of communications to accommodate individual and generational differences.

While some employees will prefer face-to-face interactions, others will tend to choose phone, email or text over face-to-face meetings. Some members of younger generations may prefer face-to-face communication but place a high value on the ability to instant message and text informally for speed of execution. When possible, communicate key message points like quarterly updates or leadership transitions in multiple forums to acknowledge and respect these preferences.

For instance, an in-person, officewide town hall meeting on a major shift in company direction can allow those who feel most at ease with face-to-face communication to voice their opinions. However, it remains equally important to share key points via email or internal digital platforms and accept online submissions from employees who may feel more comfortable communicating in writing.

Unite Employees Through Inclusive Messaging

When possible, business leaders should strive to bring together employees from across generations to deliver inclusive and integrated messaging. If the culture permits different generations to routinely convene only with each other, silos may develop and foster division and misalignment. Each generation has much to teach others, and supporting an environment where teams and meetings are multigenerational can strengthen company culture. You should always deliver major communications initiatives to a diverse blend of multigenerational employees using a variety of methods.

To promote unity, take advantage of communications events to foster interactions between employees. A quarterly presentation of company performance could be followed by a more casual gathering that allows employees from multiple generations to socialize. For a virtual meeting, consider breaking out into smaller discussion groups afterward so employees can share their insights.

By adopting a strategic approach to multigenerational communications, companies can communicate successfully and create a thriving and inclusive corporate culture.


Are You Ready to sit for the CMCA Exam? Use This Step-By Step Process To Adequately Prepare

A variety of study aids are available to CMCA exam candidates online at CAMICB.org. Because CAMICB recognizes that people have different learning styles, multiple resources are available in various formats. A quick glance at those resources can be overwhelming. Here, we offer a roadmap designed to help you select and properly use those resources towards a successful outcome.

STEP 1. CMCA Study Guide. Download this FREE guide for an overview of how the CMCA exam was developed and how it’s structured. This is important to developing a study strategy. Here, you will also find the key to your studying success: The CMCA Knowledge

cmca-study-graphic-2

8 Knowledge Areas

Areas. You will be evaluated on these 8 knowledge areas, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area, as well as how each knowledge area is weighted, will help you properly prepare a solid study plan.

STEP 2. CMCA Handbook. Download the FREE handbook for an overview of the program, paying particular attention to:

  • Section 2: Taking the CMCA Exam highlights the policies and procedures of the exam.
  • Section 3: CMCA Examination Content and Study Materials offers just that, as well as strategies for standardized test-taking.

STEP 3. If you took CAI’s M-100: The Essentials of Community Association Management, you are not fully prepared to sit for the CMCA exam. The M-100 will provide you with concrete knowledge (i.e., terms and definitions) but will not give you the knowledge to apply those terms and definitions to concepts. For example, What is a Quorum? is not a question you will see on the CMCA exam. You may, however, see a question like this, Quorum requirements conflicts are resolved by which of the following? That doesn’t mean you can skip this step. It’s still important to know the definitions in order to be able to apply them.

CMCAExamPrepSTEP 4. Quizlet is a FREE online tool that uses fun games and exercises to test your concrete knowledge. If after reviewing the M-100 course material, you find that your knowledge of terms and definitions is lacking, Quizlet is an excellent way to help you master those key terms and phrases, and prepare you for the next step in your study plan.

STEP 5. Best Practices Reports are FREE resource guides courtesy of the Foundation for Community Association Research. These Reports will help you gain applied knowledge in key areas found on the exam. Each report also contains case studies to help you understand how best practices are applied in real life situations, which is key to grasping an applied knowledge of these topics. If you’re a seasoned manager, spend a little extra time here. What you’ve learned on the job, may not be deemed best practices in the industry.

STEP 6. The CMCA Study Kit is available for purchase from the CAI Bookstore. A great tool for developing applied knowledge, you may purchase individual titles or the entire package depending on your needs.

STEP 7. CMCA Practice Exam is available online at a cost of $25 for one attempt and $40 for two. The Practice Exam includes questions that have been rotated off the exam and offers real time feedback on whether you were right or wrong on a question and why, offering real-world insight into the CMCA exam experience.

All of these materials to prepare you for the CMCA Exam can be found at CAMICB.org on the Exam Preparation web page. We encourage you to spend at least 6-8 weeks preparing for the Exam, and if you have any questions you can contact us at 866-779-CMCA or info@camicb.org.

We’d like to hear from managers who are studying for the exam. What’s working for you? What’s not? Please use the Comments section to let us know how you’re doing!

 

The pandemic didn’t stop college-educated women from surpassing men in the U.S. workforce

By Quentin Fottrell for MarketWatch

There are more women aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the workforce than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s been one notable labor-market turnaround since the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic — and it happened among college-educated women.

Women account for more than half of the college-educated labor force, according to an analysis of federal data released this month by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C. There are currently more women aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the workforce than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic: 31.3 million in the second quarter of 2022, or 50.7% of the labor force, versus 29.1 million in 2019. 

The number of college-educated men aged 25 and older in the workforce also rose over the same period, to 30.5 million from 29.1 million, although their numbers did not rise at the same rate. “The change occurred in the fourth quarter of 2019 and remains the case today, even though the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sharp recession and an overall decline in the size of the nation’s labor force,” Pew senior researcher Richard Fry said. 

There is a lot of focus on labor-force participation — amid concerns that people are dropping out of the workforce — and on whether labor-force participation rates will return to pre-pandemic levels, Fry told MarketWatch. “One of the factors bolstering the growth of the women’s college-educated labor force is that college-educated women are the only gender and education group whose labor-force participation rate is back at its pre-pandemic level,” he said. 

‘College-educated women are the only gender and education group whose labor force participation rate is back at its pre-pandemic level.’— Pew senior researcher Richard Fry

The pandemic took a toll on both men and women. But the overall share of college-educated women in the labor force is unchanged since before the pandemic, while that share actually declined for men. And the participation rate of college-educated women has increased more than the rate for men over the same period. In short, Fry cited “changes in the composition of the U.S. population, along with changes in labor-force participation.”

Women still face barriers to entering the workforce, and additional challenges once they’ve found a job. For starters, child care remains an expensive monthly cost for families and single working mothers. Women with a bachelor’s degree still only earn roughly 70 cents on the dollar compared to the median annual earnings of a man with a bachelor’s degree, according to the latest Census Bureau figures, and the wage gaps for women of color are often much wider. Higher-paid fields like computers and engineering tend to be dominated by men.

For these reasons, and the fact that men have long occupied the majority of C-suite roles and senior management jobs, it has also taken a long time for the number of college-educated women to surpass men in the workforce. “This shift in the college-educated labor force — as women now comprise a majority — comes around four decades after women surpassed men in the number of Americans earning a bachelor’s degree each year,” Fry added.

The labor market overall is on an upward trajectory. The U.S. added a robust 315,000 new jobs in August, showing that businesses still have a big appetite for labor even as the economy slows and worries about a recession grow. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose to 3.7% from 3.5%, the government said this month, mostly because more people entered the labor force in search of work. That was the highest jobless rate in six months.

(Jeffry Bartash contributed to this report.)

HOA Homefront — Why can’t we attend board meetings?

By Kelly Richardson for The San Diego Union Tribune

Row Of House Models On Blue HOA Cubic Blocks Over Reflective Desk
(iStock)

Q: Outside the regularly scheduled board meeting, the directors are meeting to review and accept the treasurer’s developed budget. Can association members attend as observers only? What is the law on meeting outside noticed open board meetings?

— L.B., Martinez

A: The Open Meeting Act (Civil Code Sections 4900-4955) requires all open board meetings be announced at least four days in advance with a posted agenda. A “board meeting” per Civil Code Section 4090 is any time a quorum of the board is, in person or otherwise, discussing anything within the board’s authority. So, if the board is meeting to discuss the budget, that is a “board meeting” per Section 4090 and it should be announced four days ahead. Members must be permitted to attend all open board meetings, so yes, you should be able to observe board budget discussions.

Q: From March 2020 until several months ago, our board meetings were held via Zoom. Now they are in person — which the board says is required under state law — in a poorly ventilated, often crowded room, no masks required or requested. This is causing concern to some homeowners who are concerned about the current extremely contagious COVID variant which can infect even the fully vaccinated and boosted. Is possible to get some special dispensation from the state to permit — or require — meetings by Zoom?

— M.F., Coronado

A: Purely virtual meetings are not allowed except in the event a declared emergency prevents the meeting. However, why not add a virtual component to the in-person meetings? Anyone who is unable to attend physically can still attend virtually, which improves communication and participation. I am increasingly supportive of “hybrid” meetings. Since the cost of setting up hybrid meetings is usually minor (subscription to a virtual meeting platform service and purchasing a conference call microphone), most HOAs can and should benefit.

Q: When the meeting notice was posted for the upcoming board meeting, I asked the management company where the physical location would be. I was told it would be at the management office, which is more than 25 miles away. That seems like an excessive requirement. Is there anything in the Civil Code that requires the physical location to be at the site of the complex or at least somewhere closer than 25-plus miles away?

— E.B., San Diego

A: Nothing in the Davis-Stirling Act addresses the location of board meetings, but Corporations Code Section 7211(a)(5) says that board meetings may be held as stated in the notice of meeting or as stated by the bylaws or board resolution. So, unless the bylaws restrict the meeting location, it could theoretically be many miles away from the project. Some HOAs do not have a suitable place for meetings, and others don’t have a setup conducive to a virtual meeting component (assuming a hybrid meeting), so I do know that many HOAs hold meetings at their management company’s offices. Certainly, there is a point at which the distance is something which should be considered. Finding a suitable meeting place isn’t easy. I have seen clients use/rent rooms in libraries, churches, restaurants, community recreation centers and even car dealerships!

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq., is a fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and partner of Richardson Ober LLP, a California law firm known for community association expertise. Submit column questions to Kelly@roattorneys.com. Past columns at http://www.HOAHomefront.com.

3 Types of Meetings — and How to Do Each One Well

By Amy Bonsai for Harvard Business Review

Anthony Harvie/Getty Images

Meetings are broken. Something happened when work moved online in 2020, and opening up the office hasn’t fixed it. Every interaction with colleagues became a video call, and our days became a game of transactional Tetris: Where can I slot in this or that meeting? Now, with policies directing which days of the week to be where, the Tetris has gotten more complex.

In my work helping distributed and hybrid organizations flourish, I see employees commuting only to spend time in near-empty offices or on calls. It feels less like flexibility than a new constraint, and it’s not building the relationships we intended. It’s the worst of both worlds.

There is a better way. Instead of focusing on when and where we meet, we ought to start with why we’re coming together and let that dictate logistics. When I’m asked to help rebuild relationships and strengthen complex collaboration, I begin with foundational advice: The new work calendar isn’t about office or home, it’s about three gathering types and the conditions that serve them best.

Three Types of Gatherings

Why do I call them gatherings and not meetings? Names signal purpose. Meeting has a strong connotation, suggesting people around a conference table (or the online equivalent) and a tight agenda. Gatherings offer multiple purposes and release the idea that we must conduct a time-stamped march to check things off lists.

Transactional gatherings move work forward; relational gatherings strengthen connections; and adaptive gatherings help us address complex or sensitive topics. As transactional gatherings are easier to conduct online, relational and adaptive gatherings have become relatively scarce. Now is a great time to reintroduce and redesign these gatherings, as all had flaws even before the pandemic. Let’s look at the best conditions for all three. While I focus on distributed and hybrid environments, the lessons apply for any organization.

1. Transactional Gatherings

Transactional gatherings are about getting things done. Examples include daily standups, weekly sales updates, and planning meetings. They need three things to be successful:

Shared working documents

Cloud-based tools like Google Docs, Miro, and FigJam are game-changers. If your team hasn’t been using them, now is the time. Because multiple people can edit simultaneously, everyone sees updates in real time, and they far outweigh a whiteboard only a few can see.

Screen parity

Hybrid transactional gatherings — where at least two people are in the same room and the rest are distributed — benefit from screen parity, or having each person appear in an individual tile. As anyone who’s attended a hybrid meeting remotely likely knows, it’s hard to interact with a virtual conference room full of blurry people.

A host on the lookout for signals of participation

While tech adjustments go a long way, hosts have an additional responsibility when not everyone is together: spying signals of participation. A raised hand or a mic going off mute are signals to engage participants. I’ve found it advantageous to add a supplementary role: an engagement lead to support the host in ensuring active, equitable participation. In smaller events, the engagement lead and the host are synonymous. In bigger gatherings, consider appointing separate owners.

2. Relational Gatherings

Relational gatherings are intended to strengthen our connections. Examples historically included offsites, group lunches, or team-building outings. They need three things to be successful:

Clear objectives

Relational gatherings suffer most from “let’s just get everyone together” syndrome: the idea that just throwing people together will suffice. While these types of events can be lovely, they are not relationship builders. Instead, whether you’re convening two people or the whole organization, relational gatherings should be intentionally designed, with clear objectives. Instead of “get to know everyone,” try objectives like:

  • Learn about career evolutions
  • Understand driving motivations
  • Reflect on growth moments

These objectives give people a hook so they can get to know each other more naturally.

Structured activities

Instead of an amorphous free-for-all, structure time deliberately. Split the session into times to reflect (alone) and share (in small groups) through activities like the following:

  • Draw a map of your career, highlighting pivots.
  • Share one piece of work-related advice you return to often.
  • Tell a story of resilience.

Strong relationships are built by laddering up levels of openness, so these activities allow people to choose comfortable levels of exposure. A leadership team who has worked together for years and navigated rocky waters would likely share deeper stories than newcomers at an onboarding event.

If you have a subset of your team together, create a distinct, asynchronous way for non-attendees to engage. For example, for the advice activity, you could ask people to share their example over video in advance.

A mix of people from across functions, levels, or locations

Left to our own devices, we go where we’re comfortable: talking to our teammates, our peers, or those in similar circumstances. But organizations need us to have relationships beyond these silos, which relational gatherings can support by deliberately mixing people who wouldn’t naturally gravitate to each other.

3. Adaptive Gatherings

Adaptive gatherings help us address complex or sensitive topics where the right process or the desired outcome are not clear from the outset. These gatherings require agility and sensitivity. Examples include strategy sessions, innovation sprints, career conversations, or navigating the organizational impact of a societal issue. To be successful, they require three conditions:

A malleable, distinct environment

When I was at the design firm IDEO, where almost every client gathering was adaptive, we preferred rooms separate from team meeting spaces. Ideal were spaces where furniture was moveable, people could mill around, and there was no formal hierarchy implied (board rooms: out!). Space influences how people interact, so the location was the first clue to participants that this was not a run-of-the-mill conversation.

If you’re online, break out of video boxes. Design brainstorming sessions with video off and the focus on a digital jamboard. And try to host delicate conversations (where body language matters) with people sitting on couches or chairs rather than at desks, with the camera farther back to reduce intensity and allow for full-body signals.

A sense of safety

Historically, difficult or sensitive conversations happened in person, so we could watch body language and use physical surroundings to create a sense of safety. But we’ve learned over the pandemic that this isn’t always necessary — or desirable. An example is sensitive career conversations. While your instinct may be to hold these meetings in person, several employees have told me they prefer these discussions online. The screen helps them hold their emotions in check, providing a greater sense of control. Allow employees autonomy over where these are held (some may prefer online, others a walk-and-talk).

Release valves to dissolve tensions

Often, complex problems have time pressure, and release valves can help. To navigate to conclusions from a place of calm, create separation between discussing options and making decisions. In the room, that might be a coffee break with a shared laugh about something off topic. Online, encourage everyone to get outside and not think about the issue. This change in focus is not expendable, but rather a critical component of a successful outcome.

In a distributed organization I led, we needed to build a new guiding framework after a charged incident. To dissipate tension, we altered cadence and structure. First, we hosted a small digital round table to reflect on the incident (to allow emotions to flow when assessing the pain point). Next, we held one-on-ones with various individuals to understand diverse needs (the intimacy helped people feel more comfortable being vulnerable). Finally, we hosted a session to craft our new framework (by then, the emotions from the first two stages had sufficient space to dissipate).

What should you do if your gathering is all (or none) of the above?

While these use cases benefit from different conditions, it doesn’t mean you can’t combine them. An example is an offsite slated to build relationships, address complex strategic issues, and get work done. Set separate conditions for each: Mix and match people who wouldn’t naturally gravitate to each other, allow strategic discussions to have breathing room, and use distinct spaces for each type of activity.

Other events may not feel like they are transactional, relational, or adaptive gatherings. That’s okay, too. Because the path to an effective gathering is always to ask: Why are we meeting? What are we trying to accomplish? And to let each need have its own space and place. You may be surprised by the rhythm of when to convene in person. While it will vary by team needs, it’s more likely to be on a monthly, quarterly, or project cadence than weekly.

And if you can’t make organization-wide change, you can still impact your own gatherings. Within a policy that dictates where you should be, not why, reorient how you conduct gatherings by shifting your priorities from the logistics of your calendar to the needs of your people.

Amy Bonsall is the CEO of Collective, a platform that helps distributed organizations and their people flourish. Prior, Amy was an IDEO and Old Navy executive. She’s been on the pages and stages of Entrepreneur, IDEO.com, SXSW, Singularity University, and more, covering flourishing at work, working from anywhere, distributed organizations, and behavioral prototyping. She co-teaches a course on Designing a Business, hosted by IDEOU. Follow Amy on Instagram.

Why Overthinking Costs Us Our Best Decisions?

By Lison Mage who is the author of Act Before You overThink: Make Decisions Easier and Liberate Your Mind.

Imagine playing basketball and every time you pass the ball to one of your teammates, you see him freezing — unable to decide whether to shoot, dribble or pass to another player.

And every time this happens, your team loses momentum, letting go of the opportunity to score. Your opponents have the time to regroup in defence as they now guard each player tightly and the window to secure an advantage has closed.

What would you feel if this kept on happening again and again? If some players keep on “freezing” and the team on losing, would it remain cohesive? Would players keep on practising or even showing up for the matches?

As much as the answer is evident when we look at it through the prism of sport, it comes less naturally when we set ourselves in a corporate setting. But we have all been there. We pass the ball to a colleague and they do nothing with it.

And most often, it’s not that they don’t want to help or do their fair share. Instead, what happens is that they “freeze”, they get overwhelmed or considerably slow down. And the most surprising part is that it happens to brilliant and capable individuals.

Simply put, they overthink.

Jason, a software team leader for a growing tech company, was one of the 365 people I interviewed for my book’s research Act Before You overThink. As a manager leading individuals with strong analytical skills, my basketball analogy hit the mark.

Some of his engineer colleagues could spend days working on requirements, weighing pros and cons, drafting specifications after specifications, without getting much done and missing milestones. When confronted during advancement meetings, people would often argue that this is mandatory to avoid making a costly mistake. Still, when taken separately, a few would admit the size of the project and its ramifications felt daunting.

Jason’s team members suffered from analysis paralysis, which is typical for many overthinkers.

To explain it, I like to use the story of a possum (for non-Australian readers, imagine a giant mouse) that broke into a bakery one night. Then, it binged on cakes until it could not move anymore, defeated to have eaten so much but unable to stop itself.

It is critical for our poor possum to be able to eat without any limit. In its natural habitat (quite different from an Australian bakery), there is no food buffet; hence when food is available, it needs to eat as much as possible to stock it and prepare its body for when food is scarce.

This is an evolutionary trait deeply rooted in the mind of this small animal to ensure it lives and perpetuates its species. And like food, there is one more thing our little friend will consume without limit to maximise its survival chance — information.

And that’s something we have in common with possums.

Indeed as we evolved, we now have more self-control than possums and can refrain from eating to the point it would kill us. However, we cannot say the same for information.

In ancient times, we were always looking for cues indicating where to find water and food, the presence of predators and possible shelters as information would increase our chances of survival. And we kept this habit.

But nowadays, we have access to more information than ever with the internet and our consumption keeps increasing. We are now like our poor possum, stuck in the bakery with an incommensurable number of delicious pastries. It is estimated that from 1990 to 2015, the information load of a manager in day-to-day operations has quadrupled. However, over this span of 25 years, our species’ cognitive abilities remain mostly the same.

We have gained access to an overwhelming amount of information, but our ability to process it didn’t change. Indeed, this can lead to an information overload where we cannot account for every bit of data, inputs and possibilities, which creates this anxious and paralysing feeling of not knowing how or what to do next. In this situation, overthinkers will generally double down on analysis and explain they “just need a bit more time to get on top of it”.

More is not always better. More will not make it perfect.

For overthinkers, this concept can be counterintuitive and they often struggle with it. They fear making mistakes and not being perceived as valuable and knowledgeable contributors. Hence, they rely heavily on their analytical skills to navigate the unknown and tackle uncertainty with pure logic and facts.

Gathering and analysing more information to make the correct decision is a mirage overthinkers are happy to pursue. They can lure themselves into the apparent complexity of their research for “perfection” (or the “best” course of action). They delay, they postpone, wholly entangled in their thoughts, unable to process all the information they have accumulated. And ultimately — like the basketball player — they miss their opportunity to score.

Now, what is the best? Attempting a shot and missing or not shooting and handing over the ball to the adversary after the 24-second shot clock elapsed?

No need to be a sports expert to understand that it is better to shoot. And that’s the same in most situations in life. Like the famous slogan from the French national lottery stated: “100% of the winners did buy a ticket.”

If you don’t try, you have zero chance of succeeding.

Overthinkers will object to this idea, finding counterexamples (which are most often valid), yet they miss a core concept. They focus on the outcome (scoring or not, namely success or failure) to the detriment of the process (shooting or freezing).

Obviously, the basketball example is caricatural since the “best” choice is evident. But when the decision becomes more complex, when there is an enormous amount of information at their disposal, overthinkers focus too much on outcomes to find the “best” answer and disregard the decision process.

Let’s imagine you decide to take some holidays to travel abroad, book your tickets and plan your activities to cancel everything because you broke your leg two days before your departure — was it a “bad” decision? After all, the outcome is not the one expected. But the process was the right one.

I fell prey to this cognitive trap while I began writing my book. I wanted to have a “good” book that could impact one’s life. It led me to consume a lot of content. I read books on similar topics, researched extensively for more than a year, watched countless videos on how to write and publish a book, and the list goes on.

I kept accumulating information, but I hadn’t written a single line.

I was too focused on the outcome — writing a “good” book — and felt paralysed every time I faced my computer by the challenge ahead of me. So, to help me, I adopted a process beautifully explained by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art.

It is pretty simple, I needed to get “in the trenches” every day: sit in front of my computer, and write, come hell or high water. How many lines I wrote and the writing quality were only details of the process that I could adjust, but the main point was to write no matter what. Therefore I progressed every day, getting closer to my goal, to my “good” outcome of getting a book written and published.

If you keep shooting at the hoop, you will eventually end up scoring, but more importantly, you will improve your skills. The process of practising is more important over time than the result in itself.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, famously said:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. […]. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.”

But these outcomes never prevented him from trying, from trusting his process — to achieve success.

As I worked with Jason to help him with his team, we went on moving the focus from outcomes to processes by shifting the mindset from destination to progression. At a practical level, we still encouraged his colleagues to leverage their curiosity and think about the problem they were encountering — but we added one key component: audacity.

To counter overthinking and avoid analysis paralysis, they embrace the process of thinking and doing, which can be translated as being curious and audacious. So his colleagues had to ask themselves regularly: “I have been quite curious lately — but was I audacious enough?” — which prompted them to take action.

Or, as I like to say, they realise it was time to act before they overthink.

How Much Liability Insurance Can Co-op and Condo Boards Require?

Most New York City co-op and condo boards typically require shareholders and unit-owners to carry $300,000 to $500,000 in liability insuranceJeffrey Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage, tells Brick Underground. The cost is about $25 to $50 per year and is purchased as part of a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. 

At a minimum, co-op boards need to add the insurance requirement to the building’s house rules in order for them to be legally enforceable. “This is something that boards can impose without a shareholder vote, but some boards choose to have a shareholder vote anyway,” says Dean Roberts, a partner at the law firm Norris McLaughlin, noting that house rules are incorporated into the proprietary lease.

There is some disagreement, however, whether putting the requirement in the house rules goes far enough. 

Jeffrey Reich, a partner at the law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas, says a building’s proprietary lease must also specifically authorize a board to set insurance requirements. “In the same way that a court will not enforce a sublet fee or flip tax imposed through a house rule,” Reich says, “it is our understanding that a court would not enforce a unilaterally imposed requirement that shareholders be obligated to spend a not insignificant amount of money on an insurance policy.”

Reich notes that most proprietary leases are silent on the matter — a surprising fact to both the boards and shareholders of the buildings he advises. Updates to a proprietary lease usually require a super-majority shareholder vote.

Can boards set specific numbers? “Boards can set limits and deductibles so long as they are ‘reasonable,’ which is a very fuzzy number,” Roberts says. “A Park Avenue co-op can likely set a higher limit than a Bronx HDFC. The standard is driven by the facts in the individual co-op building, especially if there have been a lot of liability issues with individual apartments, such as one shareholder flooding another.”

Adds Schneider of Gotham Brokerage: “While some buildings set minimum limits for coverage on contents and for an apartment’s interior structure, that’s rare.”   

Boards are typically most concerned that each apartment owner has enough liability coverage.

“A co-op or condo wants minimal involvement in water-damage disputes between neighbors,” Schneider says. “If you flood out your downstairs neighbor because of your negligence, your personal liability coverage should take care of the damage. If you are not negligent, everyone [needs to rely] on their own property coverage. The insurance companies” — not the board — “can fight out questions of fault and ultimate responsibility for the damage.”

And boards like to keep it that way.

If You Need CECs — We’ve Got You Covered!

CAMICB offers a number of online continuing education opportunities. Be sure to regularly check out our helpful list of On-Demand webinars available here for managers to view that are free or low-cost, and CAI Headquarters has an entire library dedicated to webinars available for continuing education credit available here. All of CAMICB’s continuing education opportunities can be found here

CAMICB also offers the option for managers to seek out online opportunities that work best for them, and unapproved online options can be e-mailed to info@camicb.org for approval consideration.

For any questions, please reach out to CAMICB at info@camicb.org

What the #@$%! Happened to Our Manners at Work?

Because of pandemic rust, a generational shift or something else, the working world is getting ruder, many say

By Callum Borchers For The Wall Street Journal

Workers, where are your bleeping manners? 

You’re cursing more and handshaking less, quitting on shorter notice and waiting longer to answer emails and texts.

At least, that’s how it feels to the self-appointed etiquette police among your co-workers and business associates. Politeness is tough to measure, and, sure, certain norms are overdue for updates. Still, I keep hearing from business people who swear (as in attest, not cuss) that the working world is getting ruder.

Hiring managers lament that job candidates skip cover letters whenever possible, seldom follow up on interviews with thank-you notes and can’t be counted on to show up once they’ve accepted offers. 

Job seekers, for their part, complain that computers screen those cover letters, anyway, and that too few recruiters are considerate enough to send rejection letters, leaving hopefuls to wonder for weeks about where they stand with potential employers.


Many workers, particularly younger ones, claim they aren’t interested in bonding with colleagues and act accordingly. Happy hour? Hard pass. That’s not so much about being cold or uncivil, these people say, as it is about maintaining a private life away from work.

Others’ interpersonal skills are rusty or underdeveloped, owing to limited opportunities to practice during much of the past couple of years. 

One glimmer of hope, or a sign of self-awareness: LinkedIn reports August enrollment in its two most popular business etiquette courses was up 127% year over year. 

Those mourning the supposed decline of business etiquette blame the pandemic, a tight labor market, Gen Z and the internet. 

“In the last three or four years, it has become much, much worse,” says Steve Landrum, a sales executive who lives near Atlanta.

His No. 1 gripe is “ghosting” from potential clients, which he says is more common now than at any time in his 30-year career. Like a dating-app match who suddenly stops answering messages after flirting, some sales leads show initial interest only to cut off communication without explanation. 

When that happens, Mr. Landrum sends a short “breakup” email—“I’m going to assume that you’ve gone in a different direction,” he writes—if only for his own sense of closure. He tells me those who aren’t courteous harm their own reputations, though he concedes that bad form doesn’t dog people as it once did.

The bigger shift in recent years might be that rudeness has become less costly. 

Left your job abruptly? In this economy, there’s bound to be another one around the corner—for now, anyway—and companies aren’t checking references as often as they used to. 

Underdressed for the big meeting? Let she who is without stretchy Zoom pants cast the first stone.

Ignored that question a co-worker asked you on Slack? In a hybrid workplace, you might never cross paths with the co-worker and have to suffer the awkward consequences. Or if you do, you can claim having turned off notifications accidentally. 

Just don’t try that excuse on Phoenix Normand, chief of staff at a tech company in California.

“Waiting all day to return a Slack inquiry is pretty much the most disrespectful thing you can do,” he says.

A close second: mucking up written communications with wayward punctuation, misspellings, abbreviations and emojis. If Mr. Normand sees a “your” that should be “you’re,” he’s gonna be, like, WTF? Amirite?

“The English language is being butchered to the point where it’s almost embarrassing,” he says.

He adds that workers often don’t realize their informality can land poorly, at least if someone like the 53-year-old Mr. Normand is on the receiving end. A recipient might conclude that the writer doesn’t know basic grammar and syntax or take offense. A sloppy email can inadvertently suggest that the person in the “to” field isn’t worth the time it takes to proofread.

Toni Purvis, founder of the School of Disruptive Etiquette in Washington, D.C., recommends erring on the side of formality in writing. It can be safer, she says, to buck traditional notions of “professional” appearance because many companies have come to realize that rules governing attire, hair, tattoos and other aspects of personal style can marginalize certain workers.

Still, it remains important to consider how others perceive the way you present yourself, she adds.

For instance, the red suit that Ms. Purvis wore on her first day as an intern at an investment bank in the aughts sent the wrong message. In an industry with its own dull palette—banker gray—it looked as though she was trying to be the center of attention, she says.  

The outfit was a hand-me-down, and Ms. Purvis was oblivious to the unofficial dress code because she was the first person in her family or circle of friends to enter the corporate world. Her school aims to help others who don’t grow up learning etiquette by osmosis avoid missteps.

Daniel Post Senning, author and spokesman at the Emily Post Institute, notes that many traditional standards can be traced to wealthy, white society in the Northeast. He agrees with Ms. Purvis that contemporary etiquette is evolving to be more inclusive.

“Being true to who you are and where you came from is an important part of being honest,” he says.

That doesn’t mean authenticity always goes over well. 

Cole Wiser, the creative director at a marketing agency in Dallas, says addressing a client as “y’all” once prompted a private scolding by a manager who thought the term was too informal. Ever since, Mr. Wiser says, he’s been self-conscious about a contraction that’s just part of how he talks. 

When he slipped a “y’all” into a video call with a client recently, he asked his LinkedIn network to weigh in. The advice ranged from use it to don’t use it to use it only with fellow Texans. “Read the room” was a popular tip.

The mixed feedback wasn’t especially helpful, but he posted thank-yous, anyway. It seemed like the proper thing to do.