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5-part series: Top five trends for effective community management, part 1

Like in other industries, the work force in the association management industry is rapidly changing. Take the HOA manager for example: The stereotype is someone who sits at board meetings, finding delight in firing off violation letters about someone's car is sitting in an "unauthorized" parking zone. While those individuals do exist, it's far from reality. Community managers' roles -- and others -- have greatly evolved.

In our historically reactive industry, people are proactively learning, growing and taking initiatives. More thought, education and innovation is being applied to our industry than ever before. We realize that either we set the standard -- or someone else will set it for us. In order to do so, we have to know the trends -- and the people that will help make it happen. There are five trends I believe are crucial for effective community management.

Trend No. 1: CEO-minded influencers

These are broad thinkers who see the trees, but within the framework of the forest. They are business leaders, process facilitators -- i.e., the "Jack McGrorys" of the world -- and I've found that all have some of these characteristics:

* Business professionals: They know the three elements that comprise community associations (business, government, community) and how to connect the dots. They understand that managing a community is like running a business, in a political and social environment.

* Trend setters: The "renegades" of the industry -- not because they're necessarily risk-takers, but because they're non-traditional. They establish their own standards and implement unique ways to communicate and connect with boards. They are the fuel that propels our industry forward.

* Client advisors: As professionals in the industry, our duty is to risk advising our clients how to make their communities better.

* Skilled professionals: This industry is not for the weak. Long hours, night meetings, constant board and homeowner demands -- the common opinion is that managers can be overworked and underpaid. Individuals who leverage their strengths as leaders are compensated accordingly.

* Visionary developers: Sounds lofty, but a truly unique bunch. They think beyond the general landscape, have a clear vision of who the homeowners want to be and most importantly, help others see and adopt that vision.

* Expectation identifiers: These are masters of the psychological craft. The solid backbone of our industry's professionals because they do one of two things: 1) identify and meet Board expectations or 2) eliminate and/or change expectations to fit their goals.

* Complicated simplifiers: These are people who can filter out all the "white noise," identify the important elements and simplify an issue. They excel, when others who can't do the same struggle and burn out.

The foundation for all of the above is education and experience. Associa NNJ Inc., is committed to providing our employees with the very best training and development programs available. Come and see for yourself how it is possible to love your HOA with Associa NNJ. See next week's article for Trend No. 2.

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Written by Rob Felix, CEO of N.N. Jaeschke Inc.

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