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Are You a Paycheck Player?

Are You a Paycheck Player?
Jerry Maguire is one of my favorite movies.  I love it because it’s a chick flick dressed up as a sports movie, and some of the dialogue is wickedly inspiring.  One of my absolute favorite scenes is when Jerry and Rod are in the parking lot and Rod is complaining about all the things that are going wrong in his job and about how he’s not getting any love, how no one is showing him the “kwan.” Jerry’s response is something I revisit from time to time: All right, I’ll tell you why you don’t have your ten million dollars. Right now, you are a paycheck player. You play with your head, not your heart. In your personal life, heart. But when you get on the field it’s all about what you didn’t get. Who’s to blame. Who under-threw the pass. Who’s got the contract you don’t. Who’s not giving you your love. You know what, that is not what inspires people. That is not what inspires people! Shut up! Play the game, play it from your heart. And you know what, I’ll show you the kwan. And that’s the truth, man! That’s the truth. Can you handle it? So, I ask you the same question – Can you handle it? Sometimes, even the best of us lose track of the big picture important things in life.  It’s easy to do – Someone else gets the promotion you wanted, someone else gets the recognition for a group effort, someone who’s less qualified than you gets ahead of you pr......
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Understanding the Motivation behind a Review

It is that time of year when we all start thinking about our goals.  What did I achieve this year?  What do I want to focus on next year?  Have you thought about any goals specific to ratings and reviews?  There are a lot to choose from, but I have one for you…  Strive to better understand your residents and for your residents to better understand you.  You and your residents should be having the same conversation.  Too often those conversations are very different.  What I mean by this is that what you say in your marketing and sales pitches doesn’t match the resident testimonials and stories. To better understand your residents, you have to understand their motivation for leaving you a review or sharing feedback with peers.  And hopefully it is not because you paid them!  People leave you feedback for a very specific reason.  You have to understand the kind of feedback to know how to fix the problem.  For example, not all negative reviews come from unhappy customers.  Their overall experience could be wonderful outside of that one problem.  You can’t understand a conversation you are not part of, so determining your next steps is difficult (and not always effective) if you are not engaging consistently with your residents to understand their motivation and needs. Every interaction, both online and off-line, is an opportunity to collect information.  It exposes flaws and misconceptions that can be fixed, but it also exposes all the wonderful things you are doing.  Use this ......
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Accountability is Motivational

I’m serious. Accountability IS motivational. Yet in a recent program too many people shared that when they think of accountability the first thought was not supportive or encouraging.  Actually it was negative.  Too often accountability suffers due to a lack of knowledge - team members don’t know how or what direction to take.  The work place can feel like a maze in the unknown with people wondering aimlessly and guessing at what to do. Let’s change that.  I’ve found that people like to do a good job, like to grow and like to develop their abilities to be the best they can.  As Daniel Pink tells us in his book ‘Drive’, people are motivated in a work environment that offers autonomy, mastery and a bigger purpose.  A culture of accountability supports this.   Here’s why.  Accountability is all about setting people up for success in advance. It’s letting them know what’s expected, that there are resources, support is available along the way and there’s appreciation for a job well done.  There’s a simple 4-step process that when followed provides the clarity and infrastructure for everyone to thrive. With clarity of direction the internal motivation to excel is more than possible, it’s probable. Motivation is an inside job.  This cycle becomes self sustaining with consistent reinforcement.  The 4 Phases of Accountability include:    1. Sharing the Big Picture - the overall company focus and specific goals. This way everyone knows, ‘how what I do every day ties into the results that must be achieved.‘   ......
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FORCED FUN

FORCED FUN
So, I’m totally into Pink. Not the color, not the Rock Star (although I dig her)… I’m talking about Daniel Pink, the author. Some years ago, my Dad sent me a book called “A Whole New Mind” by some guy named Daniel Pink. Honestly – I hate when someone sends me a book because then it turns into ‘forced fun.’ I feel like I am obligated to read the book and then share how WONDERFUL it was with the sender. So, I let the book sit on my night stand for over a year before I started to read it on my own terms. Turns out, the guy is brilliant and has changed my way of thinking for life. Whooda thunkit? So, I immediately begin looking for other ‘Pink stuff’ and found the book “Drive,” which explores the way people are motivated. Well – in my profession (and most likely yours), I spend a great deal of time asking the question “How can we motivate our employees to a greater level of performance?” Now, there are some people out there that subscribe to the thought “If I have to motivate you, then you are not the right employee.” True. However, there comes a point where the organization/supervisor/manager is responsible for providing the right environment and circumstances for their employees to feel motivated. Remember that bold italicized line two paragraphs ago… on my own terms? Turns out, that is a perfect example of the environment and circumstances being in the right place for me to be motivated to read. Pin......
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Dealing With the Bully at Work

The last time my mother hit me was when I was ten years old. Her favorite weapon of choice was anything within reach she could slap my face or head with, didn’t really matter. I remember one day, that moment before she was to take me to school. I needed money for some school activity and was reminding her that I needed to turn it in that day. In a moment of out-of-body-awareness, I saw her expression change and that distinct “look” take over and I started to back away.   The first blow struck with such force I fell down. But I got back up. I looked at her and for the first time ever, I had a voice instead of tears. I put my forearm up and blocked the next blow and stated very quietly, “Don’t. Ever. Hit. Me. Again.”   My forearm still carries a small, permanent indentation from that last blow. Without it, I am not sure I would believe it happened or that it was real. That is what bullying is like. The person on the receiving end many times wonders if it is really happening and they may think that maybe it is their fault or not really that “bad.”   Flash forward to the adult world. I once had the misfortune to work with a Regional who actually yelled at me at a company-wide meeting in front of ten managers I had never met before and the CEO that I was coming to the......
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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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Does Being Kind Matter?

“Marketing types have latched on to this story as an example of the power of social media and "virtual word-of-mouth" to boost a company's reputation. But I see the reaction to Sue Fortier's gesture as an example of something else — the hunger among customers, employees, and all of us to engage with companies on more than just dollars-and-cents terms. In a world that is being reshaped by the relentless advance of technology, what stands out are acts of compassion and connection that remind us what it means to be human.” ~  Reference to the social media explosion after the manager of a Panera Bread restaurant who made a bowl of clam chowder for a young man’s dying grandmother in article written by Bill Taylor, HBR Blogs (Harvard Business Review)   Maybe it is more important to be kind, rather than offering Specials and concessions to our Prospects and to our renewing Residents to entice them to live in our communities.. There are sure to be some cynics out there that will disagree with this, that Gen Y and X will choose price over any other offering when apartment shopping, that our current Residents only want to maintain a status quo without enduring the dreaded rent increase, that our Team members only want raises – that the almighty dollar trumps our ability to offer a connection to one another.   I posted a comment to one of Maria Lawson’s Blogs on Multifamily Insiders regarding loyalty recently. I wrote of how during......
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Relationship Selling and Why YOU Should Master It!

Used Car SalesThe word sales person conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images...  Need I even say more? Oh you know me, I have plenty more to say!  As professionals in the multifamily industry; we are all sales people, but what sets us apart from other industries is we are selling a "product" that is a basic NEED of everyone... housing!  We aren't the "stereotypical" sales person (or at least we shouldn't be). No one likes to be sold to, yet everyone needs what we sell. So how do you not SELL when you need to get leases? Easy... have a conversation.  Yep, you read that right, talk to your prospective residents. Easy as that! Think you do? OK, let me ask you a few questions... Do you say and do the same thing on each tour like you're following a script? Do you tell each person the features and benefits of living at your community without hesitation? Do you wrap up by asking for them to lease? If so, that's certainly one way to do it, but a better way is to actually have a two way conversation. You know, find out about them... their wants, their needs, their deepest darkest secrets (HA! I kid).  The easiest way to build rapport with someone else is to get them talking about themselves, and the benefit to listening to a prospect tell you about their life, is the clues you can get just from that simple and friendly conversation. Without question it'll tell you more than......
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Make Your Performance Review Work For You

Are you your community’s best asset? How do you know you are or you aren’t? And how are you making your determination? We are now entering the midpoint of the third quarter and I suspect most working adults aren’t even thinking about this. If you are a parent, you are probably thinking about getting your children ready for the start of a new school year: buying new clothes or uniforms, picking out new lunch boxes, getting those school supplies. Not to mention making sure they have had their check-ups and the required immunizations. Heck, just getting them to the dentist for teeth cleanings is often scheduled for this time of year. But this time of year is also a perfect time to make sure you are putting your own ducks in a row.   Performance Reviews are often conducted in the last quarter of the year, supposedly a kind of end-of-the-year Report Card for grown ups. If I were in charge of the world, this would not be the case. As someone who sometimes has to conduct these Reviews, I can tell you it is not usually any fun for the employee or for me. They cause stress for most people and even if you feel like you’ve done your best and have done a good job, there is still someone sitting in Judgment over you.   I think this is an archaic way of communicating with our teammates. If, at this Evaluation Ceremony, this is the first time an employee......
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You're Selling My Property???

There is a lot in the news lately about how great the market is for the acquisition and disposition of multifamily assets. You see the big players out there “wheeling and dealing” getting in on the action and proudly announcing their companies being assigned new properties in receivership. But no one ever talks about what happens to the onsite team caught in the middle. No one ever discusses how they weather the storm, the upheaval of not knowing what is going to happen next, and how to transition through the changes.   “A Negative Thinker Sees a Difficulty In Every Opportunity.” Well, I can well imagine how the onsite team might fall into this trap. After all, sometimes completely out of the blue you are told, usually in an impersonal telephone call, that your property is for sale. Maybe you did have a faint inkling it was coming, maybe you didn’t. Either way, most people will internalize this news and rationalize a plan of action.   The onsite team may well first think, “What will happen to us?” followed quickly by “What will happen to me?”   Change is difficult. Everyone understands this, but the questions a sale raises can blind any employee into not being able to see the forest for the trees. With today’s economic climate, employees may well worry about their financial well-being. They begin to worry whether or not their paychecks will be good, whether their current company will honor their accrued sick and vacation pay, whether......
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