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Is One of Your Owners at Odds

Sunday, 19th June 2016

Every large owners corporation has one. Many small corporations have one too! The person who is at odds with the opinion of others, loudly proclaims their dissent and challenges the authority of the majority to exercise its control. The question is: “Is it best to include them or exclude them from the pivotal decision making process – the executive committee?”

The arguments range from: “better to let them “vent” in a closed situation than publicly”, to “the majority may not always be right. Minority views need an opportunity to provide a more balanced discussion.”

The answer to the question, though, lies not with the principles involved but rather on pragmatism – WILL the dissenter add to discussions or will they destroy the decision making process?

That’s an assessment that is difficult to make.

There must be countless occasions on which the obstinacy of the “disrupter” paralyses productivity. There are instances where sensible, earnest, caring people have relinquished their place at the table because they have lost patience with the one who simply refuses to accept majority decisions. Some have even suffered verbal abuse at meetings and the offender is unrestrained by “Codes of Conduct” and procedural discipline. In those instances, the disrupter becomes a destroyer – someone who literally scares good people away, leaving only themselves at the helm.

In those circumstances the community has suffered long term dysfunction which threatens lifestyle and is even (at its worst) detrimental to property values – where a complex has a reputation as a difficult place to make proper decisions.

Strata Communities should always aim to be inclusive. They should make every effort to recruit office bearers who have a range of knowledge and skills and it is always helpful to have minority views expressed so long as the proper decision making processes are respected and protected. Giving someone with “minority” support a platform may demonstrate that people are willing to give the minority views consideration. The antagonist may respond positively and work more constructively with others if given this opportunity.

Unfortunately, though, if the strategy backfires  it is very, very difficult for a community to deal with disciplinary action. It usually creates an irreparable chasm and ongoing factions that will work to destroy the community spirit entirely.

In a word – the consequences of the “inclusive” process can be disastrous.

One needs to be fairly confident that, despite someone’s divergent views on most subjects, they respect others’ opinions and respect the decision making process. How do you “test” for that? We don’t have the answer but presumably it helps to get to know people reasonably well and to closely monitor the attitude they apply when their arguments are not supported.


By Rod Smith - STM

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