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Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose

Creating a Culture of Success-Part Two: Common Purpose
When you think of companies that you’d love to work for (besides your current one, of course!) what companies do you think of? If you’re like me some of the companies on your list might include: Southwest Airlines: (I love the unconventional pre-flight safety briefings and the fun atmosphere on their flights!) Google: (Free meals. Ping-pong tables. Dog-friendly.) Twitter: (Free yoga classes. Free meals. Sense that what they’re doing is changing the world.) Patagonia: (Focus on work-life balance. Flex time. “Green.” Fitness benefits.) I know that some of you might be thinking, “That’s great and all but Google can afford to give their employees free food, I can’t do that!” Or, “I have to staff an office seven days a week, I can’t give people flex time!” Or, “I don’t want to bring in ping-pong tables and free beer!” And if you are thinking this, I get it! Creating the kind of corporate culture that inspires and ignites success doesn’t have to be about yoga, couches in the conference room and hoodies and jeans everyday.  However the one thing that all of the companies above (and on your list) share in common is a belief that there is a Common Purpose that unites everyone. In my leadership classes (shameless plug alert!) I say that the sign of a high-performance team is that it is obvious that everyone is working together towards a Common Purpose that everyone has bought into and believe in.  Beyond the Vision Statement One of the biggest culture killers is a vision statement t......
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So-You Want to be a Manager...

So-You Want to be a Manager...
If you are currently a leasing consultant, sales advisor, customer service associate etc. and you want to move on to a management position, read on! I’d like to share a few things with you that I know will help you, based on my experience!   Do Your Current Job Well Your education, background and experience may have gotten you the job, but once you’re in the door none of that matters if you don’t do the job you were hired to do!    I remember once I was at a community meeting a friend for lunch when I heard the leasing consultant (who had been on the job for one month) complaining to my friend (who was the assistant manager at the time) about having a college degree and not being the manager.    After we left for lunch my friend turned to me and said, “She’s terrible as a leasing consultant!” which made both of us laugh. Here she was complaining about NOT being the boss and she wasn’t even performing well in her current role.    Before you think about the next job you want, make sure your performance in your current job makes you a natural choice for higher level positions   Be a Student of the Business It took me about a year before I really started to understand all of the pieces of the multifamily business. I remember sitting in meetings where the manager would talk about “exposure” and I’d nod my head as if I understood how she ......
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Landing the Real Estate Job You’ve Always Wanted

Landing the Real Estate Job You’ve Always Wanted
The Real Estate industry is an easy one to get into, but you will never be able to perfect your career.  There will always be room for improvement.  Here are some suggestions for improving your fit for that perfect real estate job you have always been looking to get into. General Self Improvement Start Small and Build: If you’re new to the industry, it is beneficial to get any general work experience associated with the industry that you can.  You can start out as a property management assistant or as a marketing/executive assistant without prior real estate experience and work your way up.  Just being involved in a real estate company will build you a working knowledge in real estate that will propel you to your next position whether through a promotion or going on to your next company.   Get Proper Registrations and Certifications:  You’d be surprised how many people apply for higher positions in real estate that do not have the proper certifications for the position.  While it is not required for you to have certifications for many real estate positions, this will put your resume ahead of the pack.  These certifications are easy to get and are even attainable while you are working! Polish your Resume: Many of your skills are applicable to real estate.  Make sure that the unnecessary fluff is gone and take some extra steps to pinpoint the skills you have that are immediately useful in the real estate industry. In the Interview… Have a plan of a......
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Too Late to Terminate?

As HR professionals we get two common calls about the timing of termination decisions: Manager calls Human Resources from the field and asks, "Can I terminate this employee? He is driving me crazy, calling in all the time, and messing up my schedule."  HR proceeds to ask questions about the employee's performance, documented feedback, potential liability, etc. Eventually, the manager confesses, "Actually, I already termed the employee, and I was hoping you'd say it was okay." Manager calls HR and says, " Can I terminate this associate? She is out on Family Medical Leave because she just had a baby, but we think she's been doing a terrible job." In the first scenario, what's done is done. Hindsight suggests that managers should consult with HR prior to making termination decisions for several reasons: The manager might not know the employment history that HR has in the file; The manager might not know the precedents set by previous decisions, policies, and exceptions; and The manager might not be aware of the potential liability created by testing recent case law. In the second situation, the employee is on federally protected leave, and that's not a good time to terminate.  HR's back office rant following this call goes like this, "Why didn't the manager coach the employee when she started to suspect her? Why didn't the manager investigate, warn or suspend the employee before now? Why is this the first we're hearing of this?" Bottom line for managers: Your job is much more enjoyable and results......
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There's an Auditor in My Coffee

If you’re a manager with a busy day ahead, you don’t want to look over the rim of your coffee cup on a Monday morning and hear a Department of Labor auditor say, “I’m here to perform a wage and hour compliance audit.” Whatever plans you had that day are now pushed aside to make room for an in depth audit requiring pulling several years’ worth of pay records, time records, employee files, compensation agreements, bonus calculations, etc.   The auditor always says, “We sent a letter announcing our intention to be here today,” but I’ve never had a client who actually received that letter in advance of the audit.  Even if you’ve done everything right, you might be required to respond to employee complaints about improper pay practices.  Do you know what improper pay practices are? The Society for Human Resource Management announced, “Thomas Perez won Senate confirmation July 18, 2013, to lead the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where he has promised to focus on enforcing wage and hour laws.”  How does that affect you? As a manager who might track, enter, and approve time for payroll, you’re setting yourself up for an uncomfortable situation if you aren’t staying on top of wage and hour laws or getting training from your Human Resources department.  I’ve assisted companies with wage and hour audits before, and the tone of the audits has changed recently. I asked a DOL auditor what her field instructions were, and she said, “They told me to keep looking until I find somet......
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Have You Ever Considered a Budget Wish List?

Apartment Community Budget Wish ListBy Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL It is a tough time of the year for us property managers as many of us are in the process of planning our budget for next year. However, it’s also a perfect time to poll all of your property owners, vendors, customers, and staff to see what might be on their wish list! What is a wish list you ask? Well a wish list is a reminder of all of the things your customers, staff, vendors, or property owners have wished for that can help your property to improve, save money, or maybe even provide a new service idea! Simply create a friendly form and title it 2013 ABC Property Budget Wish List. Leave a blank page of lines and explain that you are interested in feedback for ideas to make your property better, greener, or more efficient. Ask them to share their wish list items and suggestions because you may be able to incorporate some of the ideas into the budget for 2013, or into your long range planning for 2014, 2015, 2016! There is no time like the present to start looking out beyond next year’s budget! Everybody understands budgeting and cost containment. People know that you cannot purchase everything all at one time. But, if you offer everyone on the property team a chance to contribute to the future you are not only giving everyone a chance to be heard, you are also holding them accountable to planning and strategizing for......
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