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20 for '20 - A New Perspective on Multifamily Leadership

This week we released our much-anticipated white paper, 20 for '20: 20 Conversations with Senior Executives About the Outlook for 2020 and Beyond. For those of you who hadn’t heard about it, we interviewed 20 operations and technology executives at the end of 2018 to get their perspectives on the state of the industry and their own priorities.

We felt that by contrasting our 20 interviewees' current priorities with priorities for the next few years, we could gain and share insight into the outlook to 2020 and beyond. We’ll be discussing some of the findings in more detail on this blog over the coming weeks. But today, aside from making sure you know it’s now available for download, I thought I would share what motivated us to put in the many hours of research and to invest in writing this white paper.

Not another opinion piece

Simply put, we wanted to write something that wasn’t just an opinion. So we worked to find a structured way to collect expert input and develop a neutral, sober perspective on where the industry is heading.  We wanted to identify and understand broad themes and trends, rather than just articulate a viewpoint to go with all the others.

To this end, we structured our interviews around a combination of quantitative statistics and qualitative discussion.  While this white paper was not primarily designed as a piece of quantitative research, we feel that by comparing 20 sets of responses to the same questions, we can draw some inference from the answers.  

In writing up 20 for '20 we set out to stick to straight reporting, but as we processed the findings, we became aware that some themes were more significant than this piece of research.  To help round out the discussion with additional expert perspective, we reached out to some well-known industry figures for their views on some of the topics under discussion. Their contributions appear as "perspectives" throughout the white paper.

Why operations & technology?

We very purposefully focused our research on conversations with the heads of operations and technology. We get that ultimately, multifamily is a Balance Sheet industry. At some level, serving residents (operations) is what happens in between deals. As a result, much of the research in our sector focuses on development and transactions. Yet at a 5% cap rate, a dollar of operational (NOI) improvement creates $20 of value/wealth.

Given this high leverage point, we believe there should be more rigorous research on all things customer-facing. No offense to those who take their experiences and call them “best practices” (heck, we do the same at times—and there’s value to that); but this time we wanted to put our experience and our opinions to the side and do the hard academic and journalistic work to research what is really happening.

The approach we took both reflected the perspectives of senior executives and also employed sufficient rigor to be reliable. We intentionally went in with no preconceived notions or hypotheses. We simply asked 20 executives the same set of questions and then did cluster analysis on the answers to let the trends (and contrasts) speak for themselves.

Join the conversation!

We feel that 20 for '20 accomplished our objectives, based on our conversations with the 20 interviewees and through subsequent preview discussions with executives we didn't get to interview. Hopefully, this new white paper will serve as a catalyst for many conversations within your operating team, and maybe even a few with us.

We hope that you’ll download the white paper and we look forward to hearing any questions or comments back from you!

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