Lessons in Community Management

May 30, 2024 Sasha Cancél

A strong foundation is essential to lay the ground for success; it’s exemplified through Catalonia’s castells, a unique cultural tradition from the 18th century that offers profound lessons on the importance of building strong foundations in community management.

You might have seen this image before: a towering human pyramid, around seven stories high, holding steady with deep-rooted pillars based on leadership, impeccable communication, good management, trust and teamwork. 

It might sound far-fetched, but this awe-inspiring display of human potential offers some serious teachings applicable to the way we run HOAs and condos.

The Art of Building a Community

Building a castell is a complex operation, meticulously planned and executed. The base, or “pinya,” forms the foundation, composed of hundreds of people interlocking their arms to create a solid base. The “tronc,” or trunk, consists of several layers of “castellers,” each person bearing the weight of those above them on their shoulders. Finally, the “coixiners,” or strongboxes, form a crucial layer interlocking their fingers to create a platform for the “anxaneta,” the small child who crowns the castell by raising their hand in victory.

The world of castells offers a wealth of insights for property managers seeking to cultivate a strong sense of community within their properties:

  • Creating a Strong Foundation: Just as a castell requires a solid base, a thriving community needs a foundation of shared values and a sense of belonging. Property managers can establish this through resident events, community boards, and clear communication channels.
  • Fostering Shared Purpose: The collective determination to build unites the entire team. Similarly, fostering a sense of shared purpose within a property can be achieved by highlighting the benefits of community living, such as safety, security, and a sense of belonging.
  • Communication is Key: Clear and concise communication is paramount in the castell arena. Property managers must prioritize effective communication channels, keeping residents informed about important updates, events, and fostering open communication to address concerns.
  • Building Trust and Collaboration: Building a castell requires immense trust between team members. A property manager can create a culture of trust by being transparent, responsive to resident concerns, and fostering positive interactions among residents.
  • Leadership that Inspires: The leader of a castell team plays a crucial role in motivating and guiding the group. Property managers can be effective leaders by being approachable, proactive in resolving issues, and inspiring a sense of community pride.

Building Bridges (Not Just Towers)

Cultivating a vibrant on-site community in your HOA/condo requires dedication, a collaborative spirit, and the right tools to make it possible. By learning from the teamwork and trust central to castells, property managers can create a space where residents feel valued, connected, and empowered to contribute to their living environment.