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A frequently recurring theme in Flatchat seems to be that of the “Do-nothing Strata Committee.” They can’t be motivated to do this, fix that, etc. etc. Having just emerged moderately victorious after nine months of trench warfare over two fairly critical issues in our Sydney block, we now feel qualified to present my recipe for motivating your strata committee.
There are many, many well-run Committees served by selfless, hard-working people. But not all are like that. There have been plenty of posts on Flatchat that well describe the grief and frustration caused by slack-o Committees.
If you are a brilliant motivational psychologist, or a bully who enjoys harassing and threatening people, then you have your own methods and you don’t need to read this. But if you are an ordinary Joe or Josephine, read on……
No-one is likely to get every single thing he or she wants, in exactly the way they want it. Eventually you will have to arrive at some sort of compromise. You must get everything you need, but probably not everything you would have liked. You will have to leave the Committee with some shred of dignity. Cynical professional negotiators go in for ambit claims, claims for much more than they know they can ever get. We don’t recommend this approach – just decide what it is that you must achieve, and what you can compromise on.
Patience and persistence are your guiding lights. Nothing will happen quickly, even in a well-intentioned Committee that really does plan to get things done. This is true of any committee-style setup in any setting. Negotiations and talking people around takes time. If you are the impatient, quick-on-the-trigger type, you are headed for a lot of stress and an unsatisfactory outcome.
Patience does not mean doing nothing. It means slowly and steadily ramping up the pressure until the Committee gives way. It took us nine months of persistent effort.
Everything, everything must be in writing. If you have a conversation with someone who says they are going to do this or that, send them an email afterwards summarising your version of what was said. Keep social chitchat to a minimum. Things that were said can be denied – that’s not so with written records.
Know your By-laws really well! Many Committee members have little or no idea what’s in them.
It is a principle of motivation that the threat of doing something gets more results than the actual doing. So, we made the taking of our case to NCAT our very, very last option.
Do a bit of training. The City of Sydney runs an excellent free course on Strata law and practice. Three hours, one night a week. You’ll meet an interesting cross-section of Strata-people.
And keep reading Flatchat! We have found it absolutely invaluable.
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