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Raising the Bar High
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Minnesota Community Living May/June 2012

Raising the Bar High

By Tom Engblom, Mutual of Omaha Bank - Community Association Banking & CondoCerts

"Iain’t settlin for just getting by, I‘ve had enough so for the rest of my life, Tired of shooting to low, so raise the bar high” are the lyrics from Sugarland’s Settlin. Realistically these lyrics have so many applications to the Homeowners Industry that we are involved in daily.

Recently I was appointed to the National Business Council for Community Associations Institute and as a member each volunteer is assigned chapters to create a communication conduit between National and the local chapters. Numerous responses were positive while others were reflecting the urgency for sponsors, and volunteers. The organization is invaluable with the education for membership.

Recently I received training wherein the instructor reiterated the Pareto Principle, which I have studied in the past. Vilfredo Pareto an Italian economist in 1906 determined thru observation that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the population in Italy. Vilfredo applied the same application to his garden whereas 20% of the pea pods contain 80% of the peas. The Pareto principle is directly correlated to the Association industry in fact the blueprint I believe was taken from the Principle. The 80 - 20 rule common acumen for salespeople is a mantra that numerous individual or association must overcome. Typically 20% of the membership or board does 80% of the work creating overwhelming task and burnout for association volunteers.

I don’t have a resolution for the Pareto Principle related to your association but I do have numerous suggestions to an environment of 100%. It’s not about being flashy more it’s the ability to inspire people to follow leaders because they trust them. Create committees for the association, attend educational seminars, communicate to the membership, hire professionals in their respective industry, listen and learn from the professionals, get membership involved so their input is important and discuss with other associations their success stories. In addition, social events such as a community summer barbeque bring the membership together in a relaxed atmosphere. Leadership and a sense of belonging to the community inspires 100% environment. The first and last breaths are not important it’s what’s in between and the same hold true for being a member of the association.

Sometimes you have to lose before you win. You can raise the bar for your association by leading your membership to the next level of expectations for your association.

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