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Engaging with Empathy

A few years ago at one of the fantastic National Conference events organised by the SCA (Strata Community Association) National Conference in the Hunter Valley. I was treated to many amazing Speakers presenting some fantastic learning material and personal stories. Not to mention the brilliant take aways!

“Better Together” was the Tagline for the Conference and this was certainly addressed in many of the talks.

I’d like to credit the wonderful Speakers from the USA’s equivalent Body – CAI (Community Association Institute) for making me think for the first time, rather than just digest knowledge.

It is completely true that; as an Industry, as a Company and indeed as an individual Strata/Community block, we are absolutely “Better Together”.

While the audience is absorbed with interest, ways to engage with Clients and Body Corporate Groups – these two Advocates from the USA said (and I paraphrase) – It’s ok for Unit Owners to be a

pathetic, not vote, to not contribute. This naturally pricked my ears – What are they talking about? Aren’t we here to grow interest, to teach and inform, to engage and get Strata Members to have an interest in their Buildings?

Here is the caveat – We might be better together, but some Owners in their groups and in their wider Communities are not looking for a voice. Some people just want an opportunity to live peacefully, quietly and enjoy their home or investment. They may not want to know anything outside of this.

How many times have we seen a Strata Owner only contact their Body Corporate Manager when there is an issue? The lift is broken, the Neighbour is causing regular disturbances. My lessons – That is OK! No news really may be Good news. If you have purchased into a Community, no matter whether you want a regular say on your Committee, be a leader for change, or not – chances are the one thing you have in common with everyone else in your group is a desire to make sure that all the amenities of the group are in working order, everyone is safe and that all Residents are able to enjoy the property as intended.

Naturally, the Talk and my thinking didn’t end here. There are times when a Strata Member really must have a say and the Manager must find the best ways to engage with those Members and encourage them to participate. This remains a key target for all in Management, but I do think that it is important that when we struggle with obtaining a decision, a direction, from a Body Corporate – that we take a moment to remember – It’s Ok !

-Credit CAI. In case you are interested – Here is a Video of a Survey conducted by our US counterparts.

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