The “Dream Team” label is often used to describe a perfect combination of highly-skilled people drawn together for a particular purpose. The 1992 U.S. mens' Olympic basketball team is probably the most famous example, but 'dream teams' have included everything from legal defense attorneys to diplomatic missions.
Like Pippin, Jordan, & Co., boards and their management professionals also work as a unit, collaborating to carry out the administrative duties and make the decisions that keep their communities humming along from day to day. If this partnership works well, the synergy between a management pro and volunteer board also has the makings of a dream team, keeping the condo or HOA community solvent, efficient and valuable.
It can never be overstated but teamwork is the key to any sort of cohesive endeavor, whether it is basketball or condo management. “The manager and the board are definitely a team,” says Andrea M. Sorgani, owner and president of ALMA Property Management Services, Inc. based in Schaumburg. “The manager needs to build a relationship with the board that fosters trust,” she says. “The manager should have all of the information needed to assist the board to make decisions that are sound, timely and fiscally prudent.” one of the manager’s primary functions is to provide the board all the tools needed for the directors to make a decision—and then to implement that decision.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was known for getting the best out of his players, even when he was criticizing one of them. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment,” the Wizard of Westwood once said. Managing a residential community requires similar leadership and diplomacy. “Ideally, we want the residents to come home and not even think about what’s going on,” says Jackie Abraham, CMCA, AMS, the director of portfolio management at FirstService Residential Illinois, a leading property management company in Chicago. “We don’t want them to think about how things are working. We just want them to know the property is well maintained, property values are well maintained, and business is in good shape.”
When that behind-the-scenes magic isn't there however, the residents feel the tension, the building or association suffers, and the community deteriorates. In other words, they lose. Think back to the 1970s New York Yankees—another good example of a seemingly unbeatable team. That glory-days lineup consisted of such greats as Bobby Murcer, Lou Piniella, Bucky Dent, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and Hall of Fame manager Billy Martin. However, in that Bronx Zoo clubhouse—on and off the field—players bickered openly and the on-air clash between Jackson and Martin was about as memorable as their victories during that era.