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Do You Need to Reach Out to Your Least Favorite Person?

Do You Need to Reach Out to Your Least Favorite Person?
A few weeks ago Maria Lawson wrote a phenomenal post asking the question, “Do you need to fire your favorite manager?” Her post explored the idea that sometimes we keep people employed because we really like them, even though we know that they really need to go and challenged readers to consider making the tough decision. Her post got me thinking about the other side of the coin ... is there someone on your teams that you need to reach out to, that perhaps you ignore, or don’t give much attention to for whatever reason? Perhaps your personalities just clash. Maybe she’s a slob and you’re a neat freak. Maybe he thinks that your closed office door means, “walk on in!” Maybe her performance is not up to par with your expectations. Or, quite simply~you may just not like him! Odd Man Out In the early part of my career, I’ll admit, I wasn’t always a great leasing agent, I think I was average to good, but not a “rock star” and I believe that frustrated some of the people I worked with. I was also going through a really difficult season of my life, so I wasn’t always myself; which made it easier for me to be the odd man out. Even though I got better as time went on and found success as a leasing consultant, I still had moments when I felt overlooked and I was ready to leave the industry. Reaching Out Then, I met someone who reached out and looked ......
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Would You Leave the Pool Green? Why Leave Your People That Way?

Would You Leave the Pool Green? Why Leave Your People That Way?
  I recently completed a phone training workshop for an apartment association in Texas. At the end of the workshop I was approached by a woman who had a look of relief and excitement on her face. She took my hand and said, “This is what I have been waiting for!!” For the next few minutes she told me about her situation. She has been working at her community for about six months and has been struggling on the phone. She knew that she could be better, she just didn’t know how to be better. So for many months she’s been frustrated, thinking that she was the problem; when in reality, she just didn’t have the knowledge to overcome the challenges everyone faces on the phone. What I think I loved the most was as our conversation ended she said, “I can’t wait to use all of this!” No matter where I am, I always find that most people want, need and desire the tools to be able to do their jobs right. People hunger for information. They want to know what they need to do to succeed. So why do so many companies skimp on providing their people with the tools to succeed? Why do companies cut corners with their people in ways that they would never do with the physical asset? If the pool is green after a busy weekend do you prevent your maintenance team from “shocking” it, because you don’t want to spend the money? If a resident calls in a co......
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Creating a 'Wicked' Experience For Your Customers!

Creating a 'Wicked' Experience For Your Customers!
  Are you a fan of the musical “Wicked”? Did you know that in every town that it plays in, the "Wicked" company holds a lottery a couple of hours before a performance for the chance to get really discounted tickets to the show? Lottery winners would be given the chance to purchase orchestra section tickets for $25.00, so my wife and I decided to give it a try since the cheapest tickets way up in “nosebleed hollow” were starting around $50.00. Now, I assumed that this was a way for the production to sell a bunch of unsold tickets either way back in the orchestra section, or in the parts of the section that no one would want to sit in. I was wrong! To my surprise only ten people’s names were called...and luckily, I was number nine! The chance to buy orchestra tickets for $25.00 would normally be good news enough, but there is more to the story! When I received the tickets I realized that our seats were in the second row! To say that these seats were freakin' awesome would be an understatement. I could see every expression on the actor’s faces. I could see every detail on the costumes. I could see the spit flying as they sung. I even got a kick out of watching the conductor singing along as he did his thing. My wife and I were giddy at how amazing our seats were and how incredible an experience this was for us. Wicked Good! Her......
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Twelve Things Your Employees Would Like You To Know

Twelve Things Your Employees Would Like You To Know
A few days ago my daughter (who is almost five) and I were participating in a market research survey. As we sat in the waiting area I turned to her and whispered, “I need to go to the potty.” (Yes, I said "potty!") As we stood up and walked to the bathroom she said loudly, “Wow, Daddy! You’ve had to go the potty a lot today!” (Thank you endless diet cola refills at lunch!) A part of me was mortified that she would say that out loud in front of a group of people. The other part, well it couldn’t stop laughing on the inside. Kids have a way of dishing the “dirt” on us don’t they? Employees do too! After training and spending time with many associates over the years, I’ve become privy to many of their hidden thoughts and secrets of the people they work for and work with. Listen, before I lose some of you, I know that the people who work for you often have very different perceptions of reality than you do! But whether you agree with how they feel or not, you still need your people to do well if you want to do well, don’t you? And to do that it helps to know what are some common things that employees think about you and the company. So, here are some thoughts that have been shared by employees to me along with some of my own observations over the years... I can see when you’re surfing on the......
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Your People Are Your Brand! Are They Prepared?

Your People Are Your Brand! Are They Prepared?
  Until they merged with United Airlines I made a decision that I would NEVER again fly Continental Airlines. Ever. This was all because of one bad experience I had with a member of the Continental flight crew while traveling. After this experience whenever I saw a commercial or marketing piece for Continental, I thought of this crew member and how she treated me. No amount of colorful airline livery or fancy marketing would ever replace the fact that to me that flight attendant was Continental Airlines. And since I didn’t like my experience with her, I didn’t like the company. Period. End of story. What does this have to do with your company? I don’t care if your CEO has degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford; or if your executives have every certification given in the multi-family universe; or if your regional managers are the most intelligent and articulate groups of regionals the industry has ever seen . . . to the average customer, they are not your ‘brand.’ The people sitting behind the leasing desks are your brand. The people answering the phones at your community, responding to emails, monitoring your social media spaces and taking clients on tour are the face of your company to the average customer. Remember your first day? My very first property was an ultra-luxury community in Newport Beach, California. Rents for a one-bedroom home started at $1,860 and went all the way up to over $4,000 per month. Now how much time and effort do ......
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GENERATION Y: Straight Talk From a Gen Y Apartment Manager -Part 2 of 2

CAUTION: Her transparency might be more than you can handle. This is the second post in a two-part series on “Straight Talk from a Gen Y Apartment Manager.” A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post, “Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem.” I strongly encourage you to take the time to read this in its entirety. In a nutshell, the HBR blog addresses the fact that members of Generation Y demand a lot from their working life right away and are frequently disappointed about what they experience instead. This has resulted in a “passion” problem in the workplace.I immediately shared this blog on Facebook, LinkedIn, and sent out a tweet. While a few of my social contacts replied with, “I agree” or “I still don’t get them” a few had more to say about it. One individual completely opened the “door to understanding.” She is a member of Gen Y and an Apartment Manager—jackpot!  She has some interesting thoughts to share about her generation, our industry, and why she believes this “passion problem” exists. The rest of this blog is dedicated to her, as she responds to “Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem” in her own words.   5.    Paying Our Dues While I feel like I still have a good grasp on the concept of paying my dues to get where I want to go, I do find myself feeling like that process is sometimes slower than I expected. And the feeling that......
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GENERATION Y: Straight Talk From A Gen Y Apartment Manager- Part 1 of 2

Generation Y CAUTION: Her transparency might be more than you can handle A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post, “Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem.” I strongly encourage you to take the time to read this in its entirety. In a nutshell, the HBR blog addresses the fact that members of Generation Y demand a lot from their working life right away and are frequently disappointed about what they experience instead. This has resulted in a “passion” problem in the workplace. I immediately shared this blog on Facebook, LinkedIn, and sent out a tweet. While a few of my social contacts replied with, “I agree” or “I still don’t get them” a few had more to say about it. One individual completely opened the “door to understanding.” She is a member of Gen Y and an Apartment Manager—jackpot!  She has some interesting thoughts to share about her generation, our industry, and why she believes this “passion problem” exists. The rest of this blog is dedicated to her, as she responds to “Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem” in her own words and sheds some light into potential Gen Y retention strategies. This is the first post in a two-part series on “Straight Talk from a Gen Y Apartment Manager.”  1.    The Sky Is the Limit I do agree with the author’s assessment of the “passion problem.”  I, for one, have certainly been fed a TON of “do what you love” and “the sky’s the limit”......
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GENERATION Y: The Employee with the Dragon Tattoo

When I have the rare opportunity to communicate face-to-face with an adult (other than my husband) during the week, it is usually with a Gen Y mom. Our children are playmates, even though I had mine at 40 and they had theirs at 20. We have great conversations and always support and learn from each other. Quite frequently our conversations (social media and texting) inspire my blog posts. This week’s Facebook topic was tattoos.   Friend A: I'm finally going to do it! Does anyone know of a good tattoo place that's not crazy expensive? This will theoretically be on me forever, so I really want someone that's good, but I'm also not loaded. There were 53 responses to her post. Here is a small sampling:  ·         Ask for X at X. He is the best, and he is a great guy. My husband grew up with him. He is the only person we will ever use.  ·         X is good however last time I went in there they treated me horribly and refused to give me what I wanted. So I went right down the road to their competitor and they gave me exactly what I wanted for a great price!!!   ·         X is good but I will NEVER go there again after the way they treated me....I'll message you a pic of my newest one!  ·         What are you getting? X and I were just talking about getting bird tattoos!  ·         I have seen some beautiful white ink tattoos on pinterest! ......
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How to Keep Your Rockstar Employees

 You’ve just hired a rockstar employee, now you start to wonder, how long I will keep her.  Wage and benefits are not enough to promise that your best and brightest rockstars will remain engaged. I bet you will find that when you interview your employees about what they value most at work, that none or few say salary. Instead, employees are most likely to say something like even-keeled bosses who made time for me, who helped me riddle through work issues by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who are attentive in employees’ lives and careers. Tangibles like salary and benefits are not enough to guarantee that your best and brightest rockstars will remain engaged. Take new hire rockstar Jill, for example an outstanding, experienced Property Manager whom Property Management Company X recently drafted at considerable expense from one of its main competitors. Despite her outward success and the success of her newly acquired property, she’s unsure how she’s performing, where she stands in the company, and how she fits into the overall goals of the agency. Her pay is great, she loves the autonomy of not being micro managed, but over time, she finds herself feeling dispirited by the lack of communication, and checks out. The loss of rockstar performers like Jill doesn’t just leave a talent vacuum to seal; it also leaves a wide hole in the bottom line. So how can your company keep its rockstars engaged? It comes down to creating a culture of communication — one......
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GENERATION Y: Are They Transforming Your Workplace?

“More Than Meets The Eye!” This was the tagline for the “The Transformers,” a line of toys that was introduced to the USA in 1984. Their remarkable transforming play features piqued the interest of both children and adults all over America at a time when we all needed a little distraction. Today, we have a new line of “Transformers” and their name is Generation Y. Whether you see them as the heroic Autobots or the evil Decepticons, they are transforming Corporate America and are here to stay! Some older generations may view them as lazy, lacking commitment, drive and discipline. In reality, they are highly educated, media-savvy, tech-dependent, flexible, loyal, adaptable and group-anchored. Generation Y is uniquely different than their parent’s generation and they are transforming the way we do business— inside and out. The fast-track does not appeal to this young generation and they are willing to trade high paying jobs for flexible schedules and a better work/life balance. Things that make you go hmmm… While some companies are standing their ground and sticking to the “This is the way we have always done it” philosophy, others are taking the position, “If you can’t beat them—join them.” They are causing many business leaders to scratch their heads as they seek to understand this generation of workers and customers.     How do we attract Gen Y as customers and employees? How do we motivate Gen Y to buy and to join our company? How do we retain Gen Y as c......
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