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A Strong Office Culture: It's Critical to Multifamily Success

A Strong Office Culture: It's Critical to Multifamily Success
"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." Attributed to the renowned business consultant Peter Drucker, this famous quote underscores how a company must have a healthy corporate culture in order to thrive. But you don't need to take just Mr. Drucker's word for it. More and more, the business world is filled with leaders and executives who have realized that to attract the best and brightest associates – particularly millennials and members of Generation Z – the right office culture must be in place.  Just consider the remarks of Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn: "Culture and values provide the foundation upon which everything else is built. They are arguably our most important competitive advantage, and something that has grown to define us." Also note that, according to one study, millennials would be willing to take a pay cut of $7,600 if their new employer provided a better work environment.  Simply, put a toxic office culture – one in which problems are allowed to fester and in which associates don't feel supported and listened to – can lead to a seriously unhappy and unproductive workforce. And that, in turn, can torpedo the performance of a multifamily company's portfolio. Unhappy leasing staffs are an express route to unhappy prospects and residents. So what does a first-rate office culture look like? Here are some characteristics: Open and compassionateWhen multifamily associates know they can go to company management with any problem – big or small – that helps foster an open, honest work environment, and lets your employees k......
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Are You Trying to Control What You Can't Control?

Are You Trying to Control What You Can't Control?
Wouldn't it be great if there was remote control that you could use on people?? I mean, there are some people in your life that the MUTE button would be awesome for, right? (Admit it!) There are some conversations you'd love to be able to "fast forward" through, others you'd love to rewind and play again and again and times you'd love to be able to hit the pause button (just like Zack Morris in "Saved by the Bell") when you find yourself in an awkward or difficult situation.  Unfortunately, the remote control for people doesn't exist, and much as I have tried (believe me I have tried!!) I cannot control the people in my life and/or places and things around me. Yet, I have spent much of my lifetime trying to do just that, with lousy results!  Why am I sharing this with you? A few years ago I found myself in a crossroads point of my life and a wise sage who became one of my mentors drilled in me the idea that "You can only control what you have control over-so stop trying to control the things that you have no control over and focus on the things that you do have control over." The day I fully embraced this piece of advice is the day I started experiencing a true "comeback" in my life, because instead of focusing my energies on trying to change... My spouse My friends My family My clients The economy Taxes How people drive (although that......
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Tiny housing making big impact on combating homelessness in America

The fight to end homelessness in this country is a massive undertaking. About 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Alleviating this problem in a meaningful way will surely require a multi-faceted effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector. Here's one possible component of the solution to this giant issue: tiny homes. Across the U.S., organizations are using tiny houses and apartment homes, which typically range from 100 square feet to 500 square feet, to provide shelter for the homeless. For instance, the nonprofit American Family Housing recently opened Potter's Lane, a 16-unit community in Midway City, Calif., to house homeless vets. The property features 480-square-foot apartment homes made from energy-efficient shipping containers. Across the country, in Newfield, N.Y., the nonprofit Second Wind Cottages, relying heavily on donated materials and volunteer labor, built a community of 12 tiny homes that house homeless men. Residents pay rent as they are able to help defray the community's operating expenses. Other examples of similar communities include the Tiny House Village in Seattle and the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. Advocates of these developments note that they are comparatively cheap to build, and constructions costs often are further mitigated through the use of materials and labor supplied for free by area businesses and residents. Can the multifamily industry incorporate tiny apartment homes for the homeless into their communities? It's certainly something to think about. With its ample resources and......
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5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck

5 Vital Questions To Ask Yourself When You Are Stuck
Have you ever been cruising through life, when all of a sudden, you hit a wall? I experienced this feeling of being stuck shortly after the Great Recession of 2008.  My business and life were both in the midst of an upheaval, and I began to question my purpose in life. I decided to take massive action and enroll in Life Coaching School at IPEC (Institute For Professional Excellence In Coaching), and was presented with these five vital questions during the training:     What do you want? What frustrates you about your life/business? What would it take to double your business? What have you tried and not tried? What is the number one thing you are trying to accomplish?   What do you want? This may seem like a fairly easy question to answer, but I will guarantee you that if you ask most people what they want, they will quickly proceed to tell you what they DON’T want. Therein lies the enormous problem. Most people’s focus is on what they don’t want, and any successful person learns that what you focus on is what grows in your life. It may appear to be a simple question, but once you can address the question, answers will begin pouring out. Let me give you a personal example.  During the time I became disgruntled with my business, I kept telling myself that I did not want to continue down the same path. I knew what I didn’t want, to work at the restaurant. What was it that I ......
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When Training On-Site Teams, Stories Deliver, Statistics Don't

At the 2017 NAA Education Conference and Exposition, Shawn Reynolds, Director of Training at Morgan Communities, shared some absolutely great tips on increasing engagement and retention when training our teams.  Here are a few notes that really grabbed me:

63% of people remember stories in their training, only 5% remember statistics!  I will admit that sharing a statistic in a blog about how people don't remember statistics is a bit ironic, but we'll hope that you are in that 5% today!  Regardless, Shawn stressed that when sharing stories in your training process, it is important that you give them names, even if they are made up, as that will help the students connect more with the content and retain.

When learning, students will retain 40% of what they see and hear, but will retain 90% of what they see, hear, and do!  Tying training in with role playing or some other active approach is critical to retention!

Video, Video, and more Video.  Shawn stressed the importance and effectiveness of video within your training process, and she said the best videos are the ones you make yourself that include your team.

Finally, Shawn noted that it takes on average 5 weeks to fill an on-site position, so why go through all that effort to bring someone in, only to provide mediocre training?

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Multifamily Has Many Reasons to Lend a Helping Hand to the Homeless

There's no way around it: too many Americans are experiencing homelessness. According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), nearly 550,000 people were homeless in this country on a single night in January 2016, and 22 percent of those were children. That 550,000 figure actually represents a 15 percent decrease from nine years earlier, but the number is still way too large. Over the course of a given year, according to estimates, 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness Without question, the elimination of homelessness is a complex task, and a true resolution will surely entail a multi-pronged effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector. But with its collection of exceptionally bright, hardworking people and its abundant resources, the multifamily industry should not be shy about stepping up to the plate to help address this critical issue. In fact, from moral considerations to more practical concerns, it has many reasons to do so. Right Thing to Do First of all, helping to alleviate the pain and suffering of our homeless population is simply the right thing to do. It's important to take a step back to look at the all too thin line that separates so many Americans from homelessness. One life-altering event – the loss of a job, a medical or health emergency, a divorce, domestic abuse or the death of a family's primary income earner – can send people to the streets or the local homeless shelter. According to the......
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#1 Question Salespeople Should Ask in Every Sales Presentation


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Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three

Is That the Pilot?? Creating a Culture of Success Part Three
Remember the video of an airline forcibly removing a passenger from a flight that had been overbooked? In the aftermath of that public relations debacle many passengers who fly that airline (like me) were left wondering, "Hmmm....could that happen to me??" In other words, am I safe with this airline? Can I trust that they will honor the ticket I've purchased from them? Then, there was another situation that occurred when a pilot from this airline showed up to her flight dressed in civilian clothing and not in her pilot uniform. I can imagine the thoughts in the mind of the passengers and crew as they saw someone who looked like a passenger enter the cockpit. I know what my thoughts would be! BUT, IT GETS BETTER! This pilot then started what was described as a "long, bizarre speech" on the aircraft's PA system that referenced Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and a comment directed towards an interracial couple seated near her. Here is what one passenger Tweeted while this was happening... Randy Reiss @undeadsinatra So, y'all. I'm shaking right now. I just left my ----- flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space. The passengers on that flight did not feel safe with her being the pilot because they did not trust her ability to fly the plane. The foundation of a high-performance team, your department, your community, your region, your portfolio, your company are based on the same things that made passengers want to get off that flight; the......
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How to Keep a Motivated and Engaged Team

How to Keep a Motivated and Engaged Team
Team morale, motivation and engagement is something you have most likely had to address at some point or another. Ensuring that your team, department and company as a whole remains motivated and engaged can be a daunting task due to difference in personalities, range in specialization, distance and more. At the CFAA Rental Housing Conference “Corporate Culture – Pull, Don’t Push” and “Data in Performance Evaluation” were presented by Randy Daiter (M&R Properties) and Colleen MacCarville (Killam REIT), respectively. Both presenters did an amazing job at exploring corporate culture and how to motivate your team to strive for success daily. Some key points to note and to take away from this topic include:   Create an open and inviting corporate culture “Pull, don’t push” i.e allow team members to ask questions, provide ideas and suggestions, give input Give recognition when due Provide awards, prizes, nominations i.e incentive programs Switch up tasks and allow team members to explore new tasks to help expand their horizons Get out of the same daily routine to keep things interesting and fresh Remain available and communicate well Track progress and performance and be willing and able to provide these results Team build – make time for teams and departments to get to know each other outside of the 9-5 In conclusion, ensuring that your team remains motivated and engaged is important to the success of your employees, your departments and your company as whole. Invest the time into ensuring your teams remain engaged in what they do while also ackno......
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You Can’t Buy Experience, The Value of Long Term Teams

Possibly the most valuable asset in property management is the experience of the onsite management team. Properties with tenured, long time employees benefit from: development of annual systems. they have noticed, realized and anticipate occupancy trends. they create and build relationships with residents, which improves resident communication, rent collection and resident retention. Preventive maintenance is incorporated into the monthly schedule without fail. Staff Endorsement A staff with experience is an unspoken endorsement for a future resident. “I like working here, you’ll like living here.” Including this information in the introduction of team members to new residents, creates a sense of stability.These individuals, three, five, nine, ten, fifteen and even twenty years of seniority, bring immeasurable experience, wisdom and common sense to the workplace with them every day. Internally, we acknowledge our team members as our best practice experts. Rebecca has developed a fantastic system for this process. The organization would be lost without her. A question develops regarding a capital improvement or a unique repair, ask Bob, he’ll know the answer, find it for you or point you in the right direction. A new initiative to roll out, Abby will be the team leader for that. She’s overseen all of our transitions. That property has been stuck in an occupancy rut for a couple of weeks, have Carl take a look at the operations, he’ll be able to identify what’s missing. Management teams are surrounded by this wealth of experience. It’s often a questioon asked by potential employees during an interview, “How long have yo......
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