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?

SEEKING FIRST TO UNDERSTAND

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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“How you livin? How you livin?”

Have you ever asked yourself this question? How you living?

Stop whatever it is you are thinking or doing. I have been doing that many times since moving into this community. How can I achieve a peaceful harmonious life in a “serene community like HW”?

At the beginning, I witnessed people in their cars driving by. They smiled. They waved. Ladies walking in the late afternoon with their family pets stopped and chatted. People at the gatehouse always said “Hello”, or waved residents in. Or out. And I thought to myself, what a wonderful, caring community this is!

That was several years ago. Today, I witness in dismay the nastiness that prevails. There is a movement to divide this community by assailing those devoting themselves unselfishly and voluntarily to serve others. By alleging wrongdoings. A very dark cloud of suspicion, negativism. disrespect, and contempt hover over what had been near paradise.

“How you livin”, folks? Living a life to make a difference, an impact, in your world?

When I heard Dr. Rick Rigby deliver his speech to graduates at a Texas University, I was moved into tears. He reminded me of my own father, whose life was filled with many miracles. “Live your life making a difference, anywhere, everywhere,” my dad always said to me. My Dad’s shoes were too big for me to fill.

If we are fortunate enough, a light may shine to enable us to live a better life. A miracle may occur that could change how we see the world.

Like many whose words of wisdom I have been fortunate to hear or read, Dr. Rigby’s speech below may help clear the dark clouds over HW.

I am happy to share it here again with you:

How you all living, folks?

 

A Need for Civility and Nobility

With the formal issuance of a notice dated October 4 concerning a Petition for a Special General Meeting to vote on two resolutions, along with several pages containing names, 35 signatures, and 18 points enumerating strata council misdeeds, the puzzle deepens.

The single overwhelming thought that comes to mind is this: “What is there to be gained by all of this?”

Are we living in a community whereby we are led and represented by insidious and deceptive volunteers with a grand motive to steal and deplete resources; connive with suppliers and providers for personal gain; sow dissent and discontent for sheer pleasure, or what?

An elaborate use of legalese and citation of BC Strata Bylaws is littered on every single point on the “Rationale for Owners’ Request” clearly in an effort not only to disregard hundreds of personal hours devoted by seven (7) volunteers to strata administration over the last 19 months; but most specifically to character assassinate. (By the way, the title is misleading. It should be titled “Rationale for 35 Owners’ Request“.)

A reader of these “anomalous” allegations could be led to believe in the inference that we are “led by  (council who are) a bunch of crooks”.

It is difficult to imagine all of the events of the last several months has become the impetus for a man/men/women in a crusader’s goodwill mission to save HW from an abysmal reign of mismanagement now in need of a Saviour!

But we should not be quick to come to a conclusion. We must assume that there is “a lot of goodwill and intent” in this drive to convince all neighbours that something like this is needed. Something like having “grievances” heard frequently. Or having Strata Bylaws minutely and critically observed so that volunteer council members must “tiptop through the tulips” before making any decision. So that decisions to tackle ongoing routine maintenance or required “asset management” tasks must go through the pinhole of a needle before being carried out. So that every council member must file an eligibility statement before being nominated to serve voluntarily and declare their skills in law, accounting, management, geothermal engineering, and financial statistics. So that governing the strata shall be free from Russian hackers and interference.

Let us have a strata council that frowns on and and fines people spitting on their lawns; on pet parrots being loud; on bicycle riders going more than 5 KPH. Maybe we should have “spies” everywhere looking for bylaws infractions and reporting them to a gestapo council.

Or maybe, just maybe, most of us have not yet succumbed to this erosion of civility and nobility. Many of us still believe in caring about others, especially our neighbours. Many of us still extend the hand of friendship as we wave when a neighbour drives by. We still believe in good manners. We abhor rudeness, crudeness, and harshness against fellow men/women.

What a barren world it would be living so close to each other in a small community when we suspect feelings of ill against one another. When we look at each other with dismay and disrespect. When we turn the other way when someone approaches. When all we care about is “me”, my selfish self. When we carry the attitude “I don’t use the clubhouse, why should I care about upgrading it?” A pastor writes: “The ten commandments are then in effect replaced by the single commandment, “Be good to yourself”. Where absolute standards no longer prevail, where divine authority has been expelled, reality disintegrates.”

There are seven (7) members of the council. In matters of nominal or great importance, they deliberate, discuss, obtain majority consensus. They consult other members of our community. No one, not even the president, has exclusive control over another .The council acts in unison. No one member is perfect. Not everything they do could ever please everyone. But there is one thing certain. With their relative and maybe nominal skills, they summon all their resources TOGETHER to tackle their responsibilities willingly and voluntarily – without compensation or benefit, except perhaps to see HW blossom into a beautiful environment.

This Petition is mean spirited, perverted, and full of vitriol. It promotes divisiveness. It destroys trust and confidence. It is devoid of goodness. It is a work of evil.

Wherein you reprove another, be unblamable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.” By George Washington, 1st President of the US.

In a world of escalating violence, human folly, cruelty, and wickedness, to be exposed inside a small community to an act with no more than a malicious intent to harm, is very sad. Who in their right mind would consider volunteering for a job where you are barbecued crisp for any small misstep? Good luck HW!

Isn’t it about time for the majority with goodness of heart to rise up against a threat to the beautiful nature HW is known for?

Isn’t it about time for CIVILITY and NOBLENESS to prevail?

A lesson in nobility:

GHOSTS of the Past Reappearing Venomously?

What has been happening in this “beautiful community” is very difficult to fathom.

What describes an act that solicits to remove a person from voluntary service to the council with less than three months to serve on her term?

To answer this question required some meticulous search for an apt description of such deed. To be precise, this is not a condemnation of a person, or group of persons, but rather an evaluation of the act that “intends to harm” and/or “diminishes goodness”.

Quoting a Christian apologist Greg Kouki, he wrote: “Human freedom was used in such a way as to diminish goodness in the world, and that dimunition, that lack of goodness, that is what we call evil.”

Essentially, therefore, evil is a “lack of goodness”. In the article read, the author continues: “Moral evil is wrong done to others, and it can exist even when unaccompanied by external action. What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come.”

With all that is now happening everywhere in the world: the senseless killing of innocent people in Las Vegas; the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; has the spread of evil crept into this community? Is this the work of the ghosts of the past?

All of this is incongruent to the beautiful nature and people that this community has been built. It is a mind-boggling revelation.

And the consequences are scary: In Psalm 34:21, it is written, “Evil shall slay the wicked and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.”

Let us hope and pray that goodness returns to HW; that the ghosts of the past embrace and welcome the arrival of new, young, warm, and wonderful people with fresh ideas from which this community can thrive well past our lifetime. Isn’t it about time we all demonstrate how much we love our community and respect each other instead?

What Now, My Love?

In this morning’s paper, Tony Gioventu, Executive Director for the Condominium Home Owners’ Association (CHOA), responded to a inquiry. Something he wrote struck a note. In 2016, CHOA did a survey of 16 buildings in Vancouver to identify impact on housing affordability, occupancy and rental bylaws. Here is a quote from his response:

“A 2017 update of the data has not indicated any substantial shift in the data, but there is one significant impact that several strata councils identified. By maintaining their rental bylaws, they have built communities with lower transiency in both tenancy and ownership and have been capable of maintaining the integrity of the nature of their communities.

Our community comprises of individual townhouses. It is not a multi-storey apartment building where “rental bylaws” impact residency, turnover, and speculative investing, (Rental restrictions have not been an issue with us.) But the highlighted statement above, interestingly, describes HW to a “t”: Since inception in 1978 (41 years ago) HW has successfully “maintained the integrity of the nature of our community“.

Nonetheless, the events at the last Special General meeting deserve some evaluation and of course, so goes the title: “What now, my love?”

Last February 22, I wrote about Embracing the Process of Change and what it takes to succeed with goals and objectives, quoting Harvard Business Review resources. The chart illustrating The Change Process is again shown below.

The short question to ask therefore is, “Where are we now?” What did we learn from what took place last August 30th? How far ahead are we today after so much hard work by several members of our community and members of our council during the last six months? Where does all this take us? Have we become victims of the “Ghosts of the past”?

Here is re-quoting Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s words from the article she wrote in the HBR:

  • “The ghosts of the past are always lying in wait to haunt us. As long as everything is steady state, they remain out of sight. But the minute you need cooperation for something new or different, the ghosts spring into action. Old wounds reopen, historic resentments are remembered — sometimes going back many generations. Leaders should consider gestures to heal the past before sailing into the future.

Socrates had this to say:

Examining what took place since the new council began their tenure and up to this minute, and looking at the “timeline” above (The Change Process chart), where are we today?

More importantly, considering the majority consensus we delivered at the SGM, are we much better off today than we were 5 years ago? 10? 20 years? 41 years ago? If this consensus takes us to an “old” status quo, what bright prospects are there to look forward to years from now?

The issue we voted upon on August 30th is not about changing carpets, replacing window coverings, modernizing furniture and fixtures, or solving the problem of moods and mildew at the pool, etc. It is about ASSET MANAGEMENT. It is about VALUE MAXIMIZATION and CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. Asset management is about identifying the impact of the total life-cycle cost of an asset and about considering what is crucial to sustaining and improving its value. It is about provisioning for future contingencies that impacts its usage and longevity.

In the overall context, it is about maximizing the value of our community, now and into the future.

Over the last 6 years, we paid more than $6000 for engineers to assist us in ASSET MANAGEMENT Planning (by rendering Depreciation Reports). Their recommendations are supported by financial statistics. Although we may not take everything they suggest at face value, one item that can not be disputed is this: At their present state, the objects (clubhouse/guest house facilities) of the motions at the last SGM are in very poor state. They are 41 years old! They are not in keeping with the “integrity and (beautiful) nature of our community”.

I ask all 51 objectors this: If the facilities were your home, would you live in them at the state they are in? Would you be happy living there another 5, 10 years?

If you renovated and updated your home and it cost you $100,000 to do it 10 years ago, how much more would it cost you to do the same thing in 2017? 2027?

TENANCY and HOW it Impacts a community

We have a community of long-time dwellers and a very low rate of ownership turnover. However, our community cannot be sustained forever by an aging population. An unselfish community perspective must accept that like it or not, we will all be supplanted in the future by a new generation of owners. Actually, they are here now, trickling slowly to be among us. Who they are or will be will impact our enjoyment of our community for the rest of the years of our lives.

If we are selfish, cold, and unfriendly, so will they. “Birds of the same feather flock together.” Those who do not belong will eventually leave.

Our conduct and demeanour determine who and what kind of people we are. Unwittingly, we either become victims or beneficiaries of the way we handle our affairs and respect each other.

 

 

 

There’ll be some Changes Now

For there’s a change in the weather
There’s a change in the sea
So from now on there’ll be in change in me
My walk will be different, my talk and my name
Nothin’ about me is going to be the same
I’m goin’ to change my way of livin’
If that ain’t enough
Then I’ll change the way I strut my stuff
Nobody wants you when you’re old and gray
There’ll be some changes made

These are the lyrics of a song made famous by Tony Bennett and Billy Holiday.

Forty years! One of the new nominees elected to council last night asked: “Is there anyone here who has owned a property for forty (40) years and never spent a penny to upgrade or renovate their dwelling?”

“Nobody wants you when you’re old and gray”
“There’ll be some changes made” – that describes the reality about HW’s amenities. Yet, one person who had presented himself as “a realtor” cast a shadow of doubt about the findings of the committee which conducted an extensive research on adult communities. “At most, upgrading HW amenities could maybe raise the value of units by $400!”, he said.

Let’s have more fun! He raised hell because Guest Suite 2016 budget of $5,000 was raised to $8,000 for 2017 (actual income was $9,830). “What makes you think you can realize $3000 more (from this source of income)?”

Just for clarification as to what a “budget” is: “An estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time”. Rosemary Peavler writes, “Without a budget, the business owner is literally shooting in the dark when it comes to trying to create an action plan for a company“. In a management and profitability planning sense, a budget is targeted goal to achieve. “Thoughts are things” according to Napoleon Hill. By developing a budget on the basis of which we plan to act, we are creating a momentum towards its achievement!

$8,000? $10,000? $20,000? There is absolutely nothing wrong about planning to “reach the moon”. If you fail, you fall amongst the stars! Patrick, you and your team did a great job!

Fortunately, at the AGM, there were many sensible questions and proper decorum was observed. Clearly, the President and her council members prepared well in presenting the results of their unselfish work for the benefit of the community.

With most of the proposed resolutions getting votes of approval from owners, a paradigm shift at HW is now evident.

Although there were valid and justifiable concerns about the merits of the proposed changes, supporting evidence pointed to positive outcome:

  • Upgrading of amenities would enhance community perception of HW
  • Increase enjoyment of facilities
  • Add aesthetics and longevity to infrastructures
  • Enhance ratio of cost of living space to average sales in line with other adult communities in Richmond
  • Address the  risk of AirBNB
  • Improve perimeter security measures
  • Eliminate insurance liability risks
  • etc.

The WILL of HW was expressed last night. It is a step in the right direction. With the council having announced (2) meetings to take place within a week of the AGM, we are all assured that it is determined to see goals set to be achieved.

Let us not watch the changes unfold. Let us participate in the excitement of great things to come. Let us do what Dr. Wayne W. Dyer advocates – let us all “think” these objectives to reality. Volunteering to help any which way we can is also highly desirable!

Council 2017 – “A well-oiled machine”?

Gotta give credit where it is due! He said that first! 🙂

This was written in a previous post: “We have a lot of talented residents here at HW, but I am not sure we have qualified professional geo-thermal engineers and geotechnical engineering experts with Building Science Specialist accreditations to assist in expertly evaluating our waterway system and other infrastructures to offer us guidance.” (Here is the link: https://huntleywynd.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/signs-of-good-things-to-come/)

It goes to show that there is a greater need for community get-togethers – to get to know each other better. The latest Council communique about the upcoming Strata Council Election announces a pretty impressive line up of new nominees for Council.

In addition, one of the nominees prove the quoted statement above wrong! We do have in our midst someone with the stated credentials (geological/geotechnical engineering).

In fact, with their professional and business accreditations, all the new nominees could very well be in the Huntly Wynd WHO’S WHO! For that matter, it would not be surprising if the 2017 AGM discussions were to proceed smoothly.

Here is extending a hearty congratulations to the nominees (and the continuing members of the council) for accepting the leadership challenge at HW. There certainly seem to be “many signs of good things to come”.

HW owners will be……..