Condo owners hope to elect conscientious directors to make good decisions on their behalf. Once elected, some owners and residents attempt to influence these decisions in ways not always in the best interest of the community. Condo directors may make decisions for personal gain or after relying on bad information.
Good directors rely on consultants to provide insight and knowledge. This is supported by the Condo Act which seeks to encourage good decision making by having directors rely on the judgement of experienced consultants. Directors relying on consultants are better able to make good decisions on behalf of their community despite efforts of some encouraging them to do otherwise.
Condo directors deal with a general mistrust of condo boards by some owners. Like it or not, this is a sign of the times. Politicians are experienced at making decisions that go against logic and fact but intended to aid them at getting re-elected. Rob Ford, former mayor of Toronto, was known to trust his “gut feeling” over facts provided by his own staff. President Donald Trump has a similar approach with a more extreme view. In both cases there was and is a lack of public debate. This appears to be part of a broader trend of unwillingness to believe anyone in authority.
Recent events support this trend to ignore or disbelieve fact. Fewer than half of U.S. President Donald Trump supporters believe his son attended a meeting with Russians about information potentially harmful to Hillary Clinton. A Public Policy Polling shows that 32 per cent of President Trump supporters believe no meeting took place and another 24 per cent are uncertain. This is consistent with the 72 per cent who think the Russia story is “fake news”. Surprisingly, President Trump’s son, one of the sources about the meeting, tweeted details about it and his attendance. Many fail to believe the meeting took place despite a direct admission by the individual involved. There is a clear admission and evidence that leaves no room for doubt.
To be elected, virtually all popular politicians rely on optimism and belief over fact and logic. Their effectiveness on getting elected by appealing to emotion often does not appear to correlate with good decision making once in office.
Yet condo boards have fallen into the trap of failing to believe facts available to them. Our willingness to disparage facts and logic with insult challenges volunteer condo directors unaccustomed to management.
So it is with condo boards. Condo corporations are intended to be immune from belief over fact and logic by their reliance on consultants and known facts. Yet condo boards have fallen into the trap of failing to believe facts available to them. Our willingness to disparage facts and logic with insult challenges volunteer condo directors unaccustomed to management.
People can be persuaded to believe or disbelieve in one of three ways; credibility of the source, emotion and logic (or fact). Logic is believed to be the most valid and important consideration in decision making within condo communities. Yet it may only play a small role. Condo owners are more likely to believe friends and neighbours over directors who have access to more reliable information. Directors seeking re-election are challenged to do what is right as opposed to supporting beliefs more likely to get them re-elected.
Condo elections and director votes frequently favour hope and belief over solid information from a credible source.
Condo elections and director votes frequently favour hope and belief over solid information from a credible source. This is not unlike our society where a Justin Trudeau and Barak Obama win elections based on their beliefs which can conflict with history or fact. Within society, feelings are treated as fact.
Our society is based on a belief that disagreements can be resolved and compromises made among reasonable people. This appears less likely when so many individuals are unreasonable and disinterested in considering views other than their own.
Research on decision making supports the declining importance of logic and fact; which is used primarily to convince ourselves and others we are right. This suggests that facts don’t change our minds. When encountering facts in contradiction with our beliefs, most of us tend to mistrust the individual or source of the facts. Fewer of us are prepared to revise our beliefs when facts show otherwise.
The popular approach to decision making is to first make up our mind then seek facts in support of that decision.
The popular approach to decision making is to first make up our mind then seek facts in support of that decision. This is easier, and less reliable, than working to find out what others think and deciding if their thinking has merit. We see this regularly on the internet and social media where people frequent sites with opinions they agree with while avoiding those that challenge their thinking. While this is not unlike prior generations, today’s social media makes it easier to find opinions to agree with regardless of fact. Social media makes it easy for us to avoid hearing what we disagree with and find supporters for our view of the world.
The internet and social media have effectively broken media control over information. In its place we find that emotion effectively trumps logic when discussing issues. Debates, online and elsewhere, are less about logic and fact, and more about opinion and belief. Online, people seek out like-minded people and develop partisan communities to oppose what they disagree with. Disagreements turn into accusations, a desire to cause harm or dishonestly. Fact and logic get ignored. While this may be an effective way to discredit others, or support unreasonable or ill-considered ideas, it does not result in good decision making.
Some communities pay a high price for electing directors incapable of or unwilling to make good decisions for their community.