Transparency and Trust

November 2019

Community living is based on trust.  Condo owners trust that the directors they elect will make good decisions on their behalf.

Owners cannot be consulted on every decision made by directors.  Agreement would be nearly impossible and nothing would get done.  Trust is essential if this system is to be effective.  Maintaining this trust requires transparency.

This is a volunteer system.  Trust gives owners and residents confidence the system is working in their interests.  An organization instills trust when they are transparent and accessible.  When the organization fails in this endeavour, people are more likely to feel there is a hidden agenda or dishonesty.  Communication is essential in avoiding this.

There should be confidence that interests of those on the board are consistent with those who are not on the board.  Prior to exercising authority to make decisions, good directors listen to residents to better understand concerns and priorities.  Decisions are then communicated to owners and residents.  This is how transparency and trust are maintained.

Transparency can reduce or eliminate any backlash that results from unpopular board actions.  Raising condo fees will never be popular.  Providing supporting documentation so owners see and understand why fees are increasing can eliminate some opposition.

Transparency is the best way to combat misinformation.  There are times when owners put out wrong or untruthful information.  When this time comes, the best way to combat it is with trust and transparency.

There are limits to transparency.  Information affecting all residents should be shared.  Information relating to a resident, contract bid or litigation should likely remain confidential.  Doing otherwise betrays trust.

Honesty is the best policy when a condo board communicates with its community.