A Better Approach to Problem Solving

The images in this page are known as perceptual illusions. They are pictures or objects that appear to have properties which are physically impossible, deceptive, or counterintuitive. Two people looking at these images may have an entirely different perspective. One may see an “old woman” and a “rabbit”. The other may think she is looking at a beautiful “young lady” and a “duck”. Yet they are looking at exactly the same images.

Mathematicians and scientists have an lengthy explanation on how the eye processes what it sees and sends information to the brain in order to come up with what “makes sense” about what a person ultimately “sees”.

This “optical illusion” explains what is going on at HW. One group sees “all the mess” that is going on. Another group wonders “what is all the fuss about”.

Disagreements arising from nothing but different perspectives could be deadly. They can create havoc that could linger for a long time. It could cause animosity and resentment that can ruin relationships. It could turn neighbours against each other.

Huffpost published this except about Dr. Steven Covey: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey is one of my very favorite books. Part of Dr. Covey’s message (addressed in Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood) is that people form opinions based on their own experiences. Unless they work hard to understand the other person’s perspective, two people can see the same thing and form completely different viewpoints because they are understanding “autobiographically.”

The decision to request an SGM is exactly the result of great disagreements about many issues which come from a series of miscommunications about intents and actions taken. And these come from “never seeing” the other’s perspective. It is seeking to be understoodNever seeking to understand.

The strongly and sternly worded allegations of the petition are exactly that.

What is the perceptual illusion at HW? Everyone is looking at the same image: Seeking to make Huntly Wynd a beautiful place. I bet that if we are to send out a poll as to which they’d rather have ([a] let clubhouse and facilities remain the same); or ([b] Update and make HW beautiful); majority would vote affirmatively (b).

So, let us attempt to bridge the gap of misunderstanding or disagreement by first accepting that the strata council and the owners have exactly the same objectives. Let us seek first to understand the other.

A good way to do this is perhaps to tackle the thorny issues of the 18 “significant events” that have taken place over the last several months:

  1. Was there an illegitimate use of CRF in upgrading gym facilities? Not if one were to take into account the motion passed during an earlier AGM. Judging from the usage of our gym facilities since the upgrade, there has been greater residents’ usage.
  2. Was there an intent by council to prejudice a resident’s right to web access? Creating a website is a work in progress. it begins with a “conceptual” design depending on purpose that could take months and years of IT work. It could run from a few dollars a month to several thousand dollars. (Is it a fair statement to say that none of the council members are IT experts?) HW’s use of new technology is at its infancy. Few companies with substantial financial resources employ interactive websites with audio/visual capabilities and large servers. A website for HW does not create income and it is at its infancy. Unless such a website could be proven to have economic benefits to the strata, a large commitment of funds towards it monthly and annual maintenance is difficult to justify.
  3. Again, this allegation is faulty as it is a case of two perspectives.  It is the same with…
  4. Information concerning insurance coverage for loss is in the interest of the strata council and the owners it represents to ascertain, negotiate, and put in place.
  5. Professional engineers rendering Depreciation reports act in accordance to the guidelines and requirements of the Strata Property Act and alleging “manipulation of financial data” is a serious offence. The purpose of the report is to assist the strata to “manage assets” and future contingencies. A strata council has the mandate to handle asset management diligently, and prioritize projects, in the interest of the entire corporation.
  6. The entire objective of upgrading HW facilities perhaps could have been handled with greater tack, efficiency, and diplomacy. This is a case of everyone wanting to do the same thing with everyone having a thousand different ideas.
  7. The same could be said for the “community feedback initiatives” of July 25. Good intentions resulted in polarizing the community rather than bringing it together. (Same objectives+different perspectives= big differences.)
  8. No comment – as this requires evidence for or against.
  9. Unfortunately, judging a “judgment to be poor” is very subjective and requires evidence of bias or prejudice.
  10. These are very judgmental statements and unfounded allegations stemming from personal biases. Those serving the council are also owners volunteering their personal time. If they lack management, procedural skills, or proficient understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order, they do not lack the desire to see HW’s value rise.
  11. See above.
  12. The task of managing a strata can be very demanding or very rewarding. A significant factor that influences this outcome is dependent on “effective communication” AND community spirit. In a “happy community”, volunteer work could be very rewarding. In a “disgruntled community”, it could be very dissatisfying, destructive, stressful, and hateful. Is there effective communication at HW? Are issues and concerns handled efficiently? Are residents happy or disgruntled? This is a case of which comes first: the chicken or the egg?
  13. Official documents and contracts are filed with the Property Manager and they are available on request.
  14. No comment.
  15. Seek first to understand, remember? See item #2. HW’s bylaws are in serious need of amendments so that issues like this do not become contentious and source of anger and disagreement that destroys cordial relationships. (So what if high tech security measures are taken! Good golly!)
  16. Seek first to understand! What is the purpose? To beautify the clubhouse, not to deface it or commit bylaw infractions. (Is this getting uglier?)
  17. No comment.
  18. Nag. Nag. Nag! Is it possible that committee work has been completed and reports submitted, thereby completing mandate?


Just as the images above demonstrate, two people seeing different things are neither right nor wrong.

The Petition for a Special General Meeting is CONFRONTATIONAL. It is disruptive and divisive. A better approach to problem solving requires better understanding devoid of anger, misgivings, and hurtful allegations.

Perhaps the motivation should be how to make things better. How to manage HW better. How to solicit skillful contributions better. How to be a better neighbour.



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