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The Butterfly Effect


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Ever wondered if what you do on a daily basis is important? This gentle presentation for managers and Board members will discuss how everything you do has some effect on someone or something, and how your decisions matter to more people than you are aware.

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The Butterfly Effect

  1. 1. The Butterfly Effect<br />How little things mean a lot<br />By Julie Adamen, President, Adamen Inc.<br />c. 2010 all rights reserved<br />
  2. 2. The Butterfly Effect<br />"Small variations of the initial <br /> condition of a dynamical <br /> system may <br /> produce large variations <br /> in the long term <br /> behavior of the system."<br />
  3. 3. Have you ever seen…<br />
  4. 4. It’s the story of George Bailey…<br />Who always wanted to see the great big world….<br />But for various reasons gets stuck in his hometown of Bedford Falls <br />
  5. 5. George owns the Building and Loan…<br />One day, hapless Uncle Billy <br /> loses an $8000 deposit, spelling <br />financial disaster for the company.<br />The money is found by the evil Mr. Potter, <br />who would like take over the building and loan. He doesn’t tell George he has <br />the money, and in fact calls the bank<br />examiner with the news of the <br />lost money. <br />
  6. 6. George is distraught…<br />Knowing he will be ruined and his family scandalized, George decides they would be better off without him, and he contemplates<br />suicide.<br />Just as he is about to jump, he is <br /> saved by an angel, Clarence. <br />
  7. 7. Clarence shows George…<br />What Bedford Falls would have been like had he never been born. <br />George realizes he has touched many people in a positive way, and that his life has truly been a wonderful one.<br />With Clarence’s help,<br />George see the Butterfly Effect <br /> first hand (and Clarence gets his <br /> wings).<br />
  8. 8. Now, this begs the question…<br />What would you do differently if you suddenly became aware that everything you say and do has some effect, subtle and profound, on those around you?<br />How would you feel about yourself as a manager? Board member? Vendor?<br />
  9. 9. Managers<br />
  10. 10. Seeing the Butterfly Effect<br />Having a lasting effect is hard to see because<br />The results of the work often comes at a later (much later) time; thus the causes for the effects are muted or forgotten<br />The act is so subtle it misses recognition completely (all in a day’s work!)<br />
  11. 11. Managers, like everyone else, judge their contribution or worth  through the recognition they receive from others<br />Negative recognition significantly outweighs positive recognition<br />It’s no wonder we don’t see and own our effect on people and communities<br />Let’s take a very common example…<br />
  12. 12. The evidence<br />The dreaded new account: There’s often good reason for trepidation<br />No minutes? Not for months<br />Notes? MIA<br />Non-profit status? Yanked<br />Paperwork? Stuffed under <br /> the desk<br />Service orders? <br />The result:<br />
  13. 13. An angry mob…. <br />
  14. 14. More evidence<br />The delightful new account!<br />Minutes! <br />Contracts!<br />Action list!<br />Service orders!<br />Neat, clean, professional, and done! <br />It’s sunshine in your cubicle!<br />
  15. 15. And now a real-life story<br />A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…there was a manager named Julie, who, in 1991, <br /> looked like this:<br />And she thought she knew everything <br />… And The Butterfly Effect visited <br /> itself upon her in all its ironical glory<br />
  16. 16. And the moral of the story is:<br />An action, word or deed can disguise itself as small,  yet turn out to have a real, real, BIG effect<br />A word of advice to all managers: STOP, THINK or even SLEEP ON IT before you mail that letter or hit the "send" button<br />The Butterfly Effect is a daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute occurrence. As a community manager, your effect can be subtle or gross at any one given time, and not necessarily the way you meant it<br />
  17. 17. Board Members<br />
  18. 18. Do you think about yourButterfly Effect?<br />Having a lasting effect is hard to see because most Board members are rooted in the present, i.e., their term of office (why?)<br />Each and every action and non-action you take as a Board member has an effect on your community <br />
  19. 19. The evidence<br />The early Board member’s casual comment and its cascade effect:<br />“Let’s not get too complicated with our Rules and Regulations, because there’s only a few homes here. If there’s a problem, we’ll just knock on their door and discuss <br />it neighbor-to-neighbor.” <br />Which led to…<br />
  20. 20. Overt Micro-administration<br />Without structured Rules and Regulations, items that should be handled by staff must be raised to the Board<br />The Board becomes judge and jury for the simplest of issues, making their job labor intensive and wholly destructive in the short- and long-term<br />Why? I’m glad that you asked….<br />
  21. 21. Here’s why:<br />The sheer volume of work is exhausting for the Board<br />The staff lacks clear direction, putting them squarely in "no win" situations leading to manager turnover<br />Micro-administration will make the Board deeply unpopular as each decision rendered "for" one owner will be "against" another <br />There will be little-to-no corporate memory for decisions made, as they were not based on a formal rule, guideline or procedure <br />As time goes on the basis for decisions, even if <br /> well-thought out, will become fuzzy, allowing for all <br /> kinds of interpretations by subsequent regimes some <br /> of whom may have less common sense <br />The community will have a very difficult time finding and <br /> keeping volunteer Board members<br />
  22. 22. More evidence of The Butterfly Effect<br />Another casual comment…<br />"If we fund the reserves this year, we'll have to raise assessments, and that will make us very unpopular. <br />Let's table it until next year." * <br />
  23. 23. As time marches on the problems grow exponentially…<br />The common areas age and the fixes become more urgent and expensive. Each subsequent Board elected is faced increasingly grim choices: <br />Do nothing like past Board members and hope and pray it doesn't fall apart on their watch<br />Get a loan and risk the ire of the populace, <br />Raise assessments and risk the ire of the populace, <br />Special assess and raise assessments and risk… <br />The result?<br />
  24. 24. Another angry mob…<br />Heading to the Board member’s house or the manager’s office<br />
  25. 25. What’s YOUR Butterfly Effect?<br />
  26. 26. Everything you do matters<br />There are many "big" actions in which managers have a great effect on their communities. <br />Exposing corruption, introducing new ways to save energy, finding better and less expensive contracts, etc. But…<br />The real effect, the real flaps of the butterfly's wings happens in the thousands of small things managers and Boards do every hour of the day: <br />
  27. 27. Simple acts… For managers<br />Handling problem resident professionally and without emotion <br />Making sure vendors are paid on time<br />Returning those calls and emails in a timely manner<br />Do what you say, say what you mean <br />Making the job work as best you can and at all times.<br />
  28. 28. For Boards…<br />Millions of Americans have served on a volunteer Board of Directors at least some time in their lives<br />Sadly, many of us feel as if we contributed little, if anything, to the organization for which we served<br />And that is an incorrect assumption<br />Each and every action and non-action has an effect, sometimes subtle and sometimes profound<br />Nowhere do the flaps of the butterfly's wings have a more direct effect than in the Board of Directors of any community association<br />
  29. 29. Touching those around you as you would<br />wish to be touched. <br />In the Butterfly Effect,<br />the first act may seem unimportant,<br />but it is the certain chain of events that<br />follow the first flap of the wings that<br />become more important and relevant to<br />those around us.<br />
  30. 30. Need more convincing?Try this test:<br />
  31. 31. It’s Truly a Wonderful Life<br />By the way – nice shoes. <br />Where did you get them?<br />
  32. 32. This program is not endorsed by anyone. It is not politically correct…<br /> Your comments are welcome, but I may not listen… The man who smiles when thing go wrong has thought of someone else to blame it on… Predict catastrophe no later than 10 years hence and no sooner than five years away -- soon enough to terrify, but far enough off that people will forget if you are wrong… Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of congress; but I repeat myself… One of the symptoms of an approaching breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important…<br />… Please place all candy wrappers, popcorn boxes and soda containers in the receptacles provided in the lobby. <br />You may now un-silence <br />your cell phones. <br />You are now free to move <br />about the cabin. <br />All Butterfly Images by Karen’s Whimsy.<br />