Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood


Rancho Santa Fe Board members have a fiduciary obligation to facilitate the community’s goals and objectives. While board members will have their own views on matters, they are obligated to put the community’s interests above their own.

During my career, I organized several HOA’s and served as President of a 1,090 home residential community with a championship golf course. In addition to establishing the governing documents, one of my primary responsibilities was to create a transparent organization that was financially accountable to its members. It was also my responsibility to educate new board members about their fiduciary obligation to serve their friends and neighbors and to encourage community members to not only voice their opinions but to also offer creative solutions to problems.

Too often the loudest voices in the room dominate the public conversations and the silent majority remains silent until it’s time to vote. I have always believed in the motto, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. We go further in life and have greater success by listening to others. We gain insights and a deeper understanding of the issues before us.

So when it comes to matters like high speed internet, cell phone service and the Covenant Club, we should be mindful that the demographics of the Ranch have changed and will continue to change, and what were once acceptable amenities for an upscale community may need to be improved. To maintain our property values the Covenant must be attractive to families of all ages.

There are many extremely smart and sincere members of our community that have subject matter expertise that is greatly needed. These folks should be encouraged to serve on committees where their knowledge can make life in the Covenant better for all of us.

So let’s try and find common ground and search for new ways to include the silent majority, which includes bringing significant issues to a community wide vote. We shouldn’t be personalizing our discussions around important issues facing the community, we should be discussing their merits and how they will or will not enhance our lives. Good governance works when the process is transparent. The RSFA board’s job is to facilitate community engagement, not champion a particular viewpoint.

While Board members do have an important role to play, they each have just one vote. The community should always have the final say.