Challenging person facilitation: taking the pressure off committees

Background

A committee saw the bulk of their time being absorbed by dealing with the large volume of complaints, correspondence and requests from a single owner. So much so, it was having an impact on the committee’s ability to move ahead with project works at the building. Committee members were also becoming stressed. They approached Chris for a solution.

Approach

Chris firstly met with the committee via Zoom to hear exactly what was going on. The committee was a mix of long-time members and newcomers. What emerged was a picture of a committee beaten down by what they saw as an unreasonable amount of demands from one owner. Equally, Chris started to see that the committee was not clear about its obligations to respond or act upon the communication. The inability to be definitive about what should and shouldn’t be acted upon meant that committee members had become gun shy of doing anything, lest they be accused of doing the wrong thing.  

What it boiled down to was the committee wanting to have the pressure released. They needed a buffer between them and the owner in question, a way to fend off the owner’s communications, within the limits of legislation and thus, enabling them to focus on other things. Chris also saw they needed to feel empowered and supported but, crucially, needed a bit of gentle education and training on their role.  

Consulting also with the body corporate manager, Chris proposed a facilitation approach in which he would be provided with the owner’s email communications as they arrived. Chris would analyse these and then provide to the committee information about what they were and weren’t obliged to respond to. Chris also undertook to provide suggested wording for the committee to use in responding to the owner, further empowering the committee in their actions. Whenever any analysis veered into legalities, Chris would also consult with the relevant lawyers at Hynes. Effectively, the approach proposed and ultimately accepted by the committee saw Chris retained for his services and assistance to the committee and body corporate manager.

Outcome

Using this approach, Chris was able to make clear to the owner that they could not expect everything they sought on each and every occasion. Chris took the opportunity to also educate the owner about the limits of the owner’s rights: not every email could or should be answered. After a period of time, Chris started to notice small, positive changes in how the owner communicated with the committee.

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