Tom Skiba, CEO of CAI, is concerned about the lack of member volunteers to lead their HOA in his Ungated post under the column, “News and Insights on community association living.” As he argues for more volunteer leadership and activism, he doesn’t realize that he’s admitting to 45 years of failure to solve HOA problems.
That’s why, for more than 45 years, we have supported the belief that homeowner involvement is essential, and that education is a critical component to an association’s success. . . . At CAI, we know there is usually a correlation between the level of homeowner involvement and the long-term success of a community. . . . it’s the homeowner volunteer leaders who are accountable to their neighbors.
Skiba’s concern is understandable when, illustrative of the problem, a large, active adult resort style HOA has been facing failure and having difficulty attracting members to become active in management. And that’s after 3 years earlier an independent and professional strategic plan recommended an educational program to assist in obtaining members to serve in management. It has been ignored.
CAI has introduced a program designed to educate volunteers to become effective and productive HOA leaders by taking its CAI Board Leader Certificate Course and obtaining the CAI Board Leader Certificate. It seems however, that Skiba is a little bit unsure of this program to create leaders from average people: “After completion of the course, students will acknowledge that they’ve read and understood three key CAI educational resources:” Why the acknowledgement? For what purpose? Is this an oversell of CAI’s attempt to bolster the ego and acceptance of board directors and officers as being “somebody” and an authority? “Community leaders who complete the CAI Board Leader Certificate will receive a certificate of completion and recognition on the CAI website”.
This course, recognizing that “leaders are responsible for setting policy and making decisions . . . . highlights what every board member needs to know to serve effectively,” contains 5 modules:
- Module 1: Governing Documents and Roles & Responsibilities.
- Module 2: Communications, Meetings and Volunteerism.
- Module 3: Fundamentals of Financial Management.
- Module 4: Professional Advisors and Service Providers.
- Module 5: Association Rules and Conflict Resolution.
From what is available online, as indicated above, my thoughts are more of the same. There is nothing to make me believe that this course addresses questions of effective leadership. It appears to make use of the inbreeding and indoctrination by the CAI School of HOA Governance. A doing it my way program without any discussion or presentation of effective local government management or any general qualities of what makes a genuine leader.
Travis Bradbury explains leadership:
Leadership has nothing to do with titles. Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Leadership isn’t management. Leadership isn’t something that anyone can give you—you have to earn it and claim it for yourself.
In addressing the management of nonprofit organizations, eminent management consultant Peter F. Drucker wrote: “The first job of the leader is to think through and define the mission of the institution.” 
In the inbreeding atmosphere within HOAs where the volunteers are sought who are not disruptive — who do not dare criticize the BOD — Terrin Allen warns about YES men.
In my experience, most people get this way because they are responding to a culture or people in management who elicit and reward this type of behavior. . . . [in order to] survive on a dysfunctional leadership landscape where all the signals and messages confirm for them that dissent is bad and agreement is good.
I appreciate Skiba’s concern for responsive HOA management, but CAI’s approach is severely lacking. There is the continued absence of democratic institutions and principles. that would send a message to those truly seeking to create a healthy and productive community; a true community not focused on property values and enforcement of the governing documents alone.
A healthy society and community must be supportive of their membership who still naively believe their HOA is a democracy in action and protective of their individual rights and freedoms. Where they truly have a voice and fair elections to make that happen. I offer an alternative legal model of HOA governance to accomplish this task. See HOAs are in need of a major restructuringg and sequel under Restructuring.
 Tom Skiba, “Effective leadership: How board leader education moves communities forward,” (March 5, 2020).</p>
 I collectively refer to CAI’s policies, best practices, guides, communications, seminars and certifications, and in its Manifesto as the CAI School of HOA Governance.
 Roger L. Kemp, “Forms of Governance,” Managing America’s Cities: A Handbook for Local Government Productivity, McFarland & Co., (2007).
 Travis Bradbury, “What Makes a Leader?”, Success.com (May 25, 2019).
 Peter F. Drucker, Managing the Nonprofit Organization: Principles and Practices, HarperCollins (1990).
 Terin Allen, Are You Creating ‘Yes Men’ And Hindering Your Own Leadership Success?”, Forbes.com (Nov. 10, 2018).