Condo Media - August 2020 - 13
As a principle of life, the concept of "digging deeper" is vital for our critical thinking
and decision making. That said, after two decades in various aspects of property
management, I find that the principles of digging deeper are not regularly applied. In its
simplest form, digging deeper is the process by which we may seek further understanding
on any given matter or topic, allowing us to make more informed decisions.
Depending on the circumstance, this
could be phrased as root-cause analysis, due diligence, or mimicking the
toddler who asks "why?" hundreds of
times. In any case, the more information we attain, the better decisions
that can be made. I heard a wise man
share that "good inspiration comes
from good information." When we
apply the principles of digging deeper,
we can better inform our decisionmaking abilities.
One key aspect of digging deeper is
active listening. While many believe
they are listening, they are not
actively listening. True listening is
active engagement with intellectual
and emotional analysis, beyond the
physiological act of hearing. Stephen
Covey, best-selling author of the book
7 Habits of Highly Effective People,
suggested that we "seek first to understand, then to be understood." In
our board meetings, are we listening
to understand or simply to wait for
our chance to reply? As association
managers, are we truly listening to
understand the need behind the need,
or do we simply make the assumption
that we know what is being asked and
respond accordingly, often before the
question is even finished? The answer
is that we are most often not listening
to the degree that would add value to
the conversation and relationship.
As board members and trustees,
there is an expectation of the community that each member will work
collaboratively. Like many of you, I
have sat with boards that do anything
but collaborate. They may talk over
each other, simply talk louder, and
all of this is simply so their position
is heard. What I rarely see is the board
that is actively listening, seeking to understand, and identifying the common
elements of their respective positions.
Here are a few ideas to support
your efforts in active listening:
Can you clarify and isolate
another person's true need or
intent by asking open-ended
Can you ask questions to
measure understanding and
buy-in from others?
Do you take another's position,
even if only to explore their
point of view?
Can you identify, and share back
with others, the overarching concern they are trying to convey?
Are you comfortable with silence?
Are you taking the time to identify
intent, real need, context, and
Each of these can be applicable
multiple times within a conversation.
While I described sitting in boards
that were truly not aligned, it is likely
that many of us have sat in meetings
where those same board members
are arguing nearly the same point.
However, because they were not
listening, or were only partially
listening, they didn't realize how
close they were on a topic.
ROOT OF THE ISSUE
As a Six Sigma Black Belt, I use a
variety of concepts and tools to assist
in identifying the root of a challenge.
I will leave one with you: the 5-Why
Principle. Harkening back to the
toddler example, the 5-Why Principle
is simply asking "why?" at least five
times to identify the root of an issue.
Q: Why did you rear-end that
person on the road?
A: Because I was going too fast.
Q: Why were you going to fast?
A: Because I was late to an
Q: Why did you not prepare
for the appointment
A: I forgot about the appointment
until this morning.
Q: Did you have the appointment
in your calendar?
A: No, I forgot to write it down.
Q: Do you have a set time
each day to review your
calendar and add any
While this example may be overly
simplistic, it is a very real study into
cause and effect. Management companies, association boards, and even
individuals and families can all be
served by taking some additional
time to dig deeper.
August 2020 CONDOMEDIA
Condo Media - August 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - August 2020
Condo Media - August 2020 - Intro
Condo Media - August 2020 - Cover1
Condo Media - August 2020 - Cover2
Condo Media - August 2020 - Contents
Condo Media - August 2020 - 2
Condo Media - August 2020 - 3
Condo Media - August 2020 - 4
Condo Media - August 2020 - 5
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Condo Media - August 2020 - 7
Condo Media - August 2020 - 8
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Condo Media - August 2020 - Cover4
Condo Media - August 2020 - Cover3