HOA Strategic Planning: How to Perform True Strategic Planning

September 24, 2010
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Does your homeowners association you have a strategic plan? We don't mean just a budget and reserve study, but a full-blown plan for where your board would like your association to be in 3, 5, or 10 years. In this week's tip, we offer insight for smart strategic planning for HOAs.

Strategic planning can guide your board and unite your board, management, and members through common goals and objectives, says Debra A. Warren, principal of Cinnabar Consulting in San Rafael, Calif., which provides training and employee development services to community association management firms and training and strategic planning sessions for association board members.

Why don't more boards do strategic planning? Warren says there's a perception that it's complicated and requires a lot of time and money. Many board members also think their reserve study is their plan. Not true. A reserve study is an important part of a comprehensive plan, but it doesn't address many factors--like changing demographics, local economic conditions, and aging landscaping and design elements--that contribute to the overall health of your community.

To get your board ready to plan, Warren recommends your board start by answering five questions:

1. Do we understand our association's legal structure?

2. Do we understand our association's financial condition?

3. Do we understand the human resources available to our association?

4. What's important to our members?

5. What conditions are present in our general community?

Why do you need to answer those questions? To learn more about why each question is important, the steps to take after you've answered them, and the importance of a physical plant analysis, reserve study, and succession planning, see our new article, You've Done HOA Planning; Have You Done Strategic Planning?

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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