Is Roberts Rules of Order Dead?


Now this title alone likely has some people furious right now. What do you mean is Robert’s Rules of Order dead? It’s my favourite book! Hold on, just here me out.

Henry Martyn Robert created the first edition of Roberts Rules of Order back in the 1800s to bring some structure into Parliament discussions and debates. And he was successful; since 1876, Roberts Rules of Order has gone through 11 different editions and has been the basis for running meetings in many different settings.
However, if you have read Roberts Rules of Order, you know it is complicated and confusing. In fact, across hundreds of Boards, I haven’t met someone who can tell me what Roberts Rules of Order is. If you aren’t an expert, you won’t follow it without referencing the book every 5 minutes. The last thing any Condominium Board needs is more homework to learn how to have a "proper" meeting. Or to spend 30 minutes of every Board meeting debating Roberts Rules. Hey, I have been there, trust me. It happens all the time.

I have sat through many of these meetings. Two people going back and forth, "no, the motion was seconded, so we must now speak to the motion" What a waste of time, and these people are missing the point.

Nowhere in the Condominium Property Act or any Corporations by-laws, is there any section requiring a Board to follow Roberts Rules of Order. And there is no mention of how a meeting should be run. So why are we so hung up on Roberts Rules?
Honestly, I think its what we have to work off of so people just get hung up on it and then only lose sight of the purpose of the meeting in the first place.
So what’s the solution then you ask? If not Roberts, then what? The answer is to keep things simple. You want everyone to participate with the ultimate goal of having an efficient meeting where all members can make quality decisions.

Our suggestion would be the Board focused on productive meetings first and formality second. Sure, use Roberts Rules as a guidepost but don’t worry about perfection.
Every Board I have ever met does things a little differently, right down from meeting procedure to how they record minutes. However, the most efficient meetings with which people are actively participating and making quick and quality decisions always have a simple meeting format that any Board member can easily follow.

If you are a Roberts Rules expert, stop forcing your other team members to read and follow Roberts Rules of Order. Instead, lead everyone with a format that achieves the ultimate goal of having a Board meeting.

Braden Equities Inc. is an Alberta owned and run Property Management company, servicing Edmonton and area for over 25 years. We strongly believe in focusing on our team, getting things done and being financially literate to help our Boards. If you are a Board in Alberta looking for Property Management Services or need some advice. Give us a call. We are always happy to help.

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