Magicians/managers may appear to predict the choice/needs of a spectator/client, but it just takes attention to detail and planning – not mind reading – to stay ahead of the game. Magicians produce something from nothing, but not by themselves! A good manager has a strong team behind him or her and an efficient board – no rabbit needed. That is also how they make things disappear when needed! Poof! Using these same vendors and, at the direction of the board, your manager oversees the transformation of your association.

Confidence and creativity are needed, as well as good work ethic and the responsibility that comes with devotion to any craft or skill. There is no slight of hand or trick involved – just hard work and dedication. Your manager performs in front of a large audience every day, catering to vendors, board and committee members, and homeowners. They stand on the same level and are surrounded by their audience.

Every day they figure out what to do despite uncertainty and an enormous amount of potentially relevant information; they get things done through a large and diverse group of people despite having little direct control over them.

Efficient managers rely on agenda setting and network building. They aggressively seek information (including bad news), skillfully ask questions and seek out programs and projects that can help accomplish multiple objectives. They thrive when scheduling, prioritizing, focusing, engaging their resources, communicating expectations and visions, and preemptively solving things before they become issues.

Most boards and association members have no idea how many hours of preparation and planning go into making it all appear so easy. Each detail is reviewed, followed up on and verified. To pull off just one grand illusion requires a lot of behind-the-scenes juggling.

Unlike stage performers, managers do not always do a great job of boasting about themselves and their miraculous feats. They do, however, occasionally swallow swords and have to escape from dangerous situations. Don’t let the showmanship and visual effects fool you – it is all education, training, experience and hard work that make your property the center stage for you to enjoy.

Magicians, both seasoned and novitiate, can work together and help one another for mutual improvement, to learn new techniques, discuss all aspects of magic and perform for each other – sharing advice, encouragement, and criticism. They usually have to audition to show the membership they are a magician and not just someone off the street wanting to discover magical secrets. The same symbiotic relationship exists with a manager and a board working together for the mutual goal of maintaining and improving an association. Production, transformation and restoration don’t happen without knowledge and know how. Although you you may not see him or her levitate, having a professional manager will keep you afloat.

Tara Graviss, CCAM, is a community manager with Walters Management at Liberty Station in San Diego.