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All the Best Intentions in the Social Media World

Tom Peters has carved out a very unique niche in the business consulting arena and rightfully so. His ideas, dating back 25+ years are as relevant today as they were back then. Many of them are still cutting the edge that we all innately yearn for. Over this Mother’s Day weekend I managed to read a post that really hit home in a simple but important kind of way. The following is an excerpt from the blog titled: Wrong Answer!

When I got back from the field, covered with mud (it was rainy season), I was sent directly to the Commandant with no time to change into a respectable uniform—a great embarrassment. General Chapman engaged in all of about 15 seconds of chitchat, and having done his duty to my aunt, sent me on my way. As I was literally walking out of his temporary field office, he summoned me back, and said, out of the blue, “Tom, are you taking care of your men?” (I had a little detachment, about 20 guys as I recall, doing the work described before.)

Yup, 40 years plus later, I remember his exact words—which is the point of this Post. I replied to the General, “I’m doing my best, sir.” To this day, with a chill going up my spine (no kidding—as I type this), I can see his face darken, and his voice harden, “Mr Peters, General Walt and I and General Buse are not interested in whether or not you are ‘doing your best.’ We simply expect you to get the job done—and to take care of your sailors. Period. That will be all, Lieutenant.”

The line, “we simple expect you to get the job done,” took me back to 1996. It was my rookie year in the role of property manager and I was as confident as they come - on top of the world and on top of my game. Or, so I thought.

The hand written note read; “all the best intentions in the world are worth nothing unless they are followed through with.” It was the last sentence in a long letter addressed to me from my district manager shortly after a very important property inspection. It floored me. It took my view of the world from a 6′7″ lens to that roughly the height of fire ant. Mind you - it was well deserved and sticks with me to this day.

She had entrusted me with a project that needed to be complete prior to the upcoming inspection. I put it off to the last minute not knowing that the regional manager would walk the property on the eve prior to the date her expected visit. She, along with my DM, caught us in the act of prepping the project in the eleventh hour and was clearly tweaked. The following day was both the best and the worst day of my PM career. The best in the sense that I clearly understood the definition of expectation - the worst in the sense that I did not meet it on behalf of the one that had bestowed the responsibility on me.

I say all that to say this - as we continue down the path of social media as it relates to marketing apartments; remember intentions must marry to expectations. Our consumer demands that we live up to and follow through with the ways in which they like to do business and not much concern is given to our sacred cows. Any more it is not our executive officers defining the way we do business - it is the consumer and we must engage. We must get the job done in a way that is being defined and redefined everyday.

What are your intentions for the coming week and who is driving them?

Have a famous week. M

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Well said.

In my training classes, I always remind attendees that to the customer "YOU" are the face and voice of your management company. This is even more important in the new world of social media marketing and communication. If you aren't sure what to say and how to say it, then rehearse it, reread it, have someone else take a look at it and THEN post it. And if you are upset or angry, for goodness sake, please make sure you wait at least 24 hours before giving a thorough response. 24 hours generally will allow you to take the emotion out of your response. Post that you're read the question, remark, etc. and that you will get back to the customer/prospective resident within 24 hours. That shows you care and are making a thoughtful, informed decision.

Yes, 'intent -vs- effect' has always been a strong consideration for those of us in multifamily. Even now more so than before.

Thanksk for the post, Mike.

  Lisa Trosien
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Mike, thanks for sharing Tom's story. While the next big thing could be a great idea, it's always good to take a step back, ground ourselves, and think about what's most important and the best decision.

  Mark Juleen
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Thank you for taking the time to comment.

I like the word mindful when it comes to introducing any new concept. It seems especially appropriate in the SM world as it is so easy to build it and forget it. Or, build it in the eleventh hour just to say you have done something in the space. It's crucial to understand that engagement takes time and effort and the ill affects of not participating are growing worse everyday.


  Mike Brewer

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