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Spreading Joy: Lessons from an Eighteen Month Old in a Parking Garage

When I was leaving work today, there was a girl, approximately 18 months old, standing on the bumper of a car with her mom in the parking lot. As each person passed by her, she would call out “Hi!” As grownups do, she was usually ignored on the first greeting, but that never slowed her down. She would repeatedly bellow, “Hi!” with increasing volume until the passerby engaged with her. To get a full understanding of the situation, at five o’clock there are droves of people getting into their cars in the parking lot, so there was a constant parade of people leaving and a chorus of “Hi” to each one. We are all born with an innate desire to be noticed by other people. I was observing the situation as I approached, and noting the responses she was getting. I was also noticing her mom’s reactions.Her mom seemed a little embarrassed and shy. She tried to quiet the little girl a couple times, but that little one was not going to be stopped. And I started thinking, we are all born with an innate desire to be noticed by other people. In yoga practices, and in some religions, it is customary to say, “Namaste”. Namaste loosely translates to, “the light in me recognizes the light in you”. I’m not a psychologist, and I could research this to give you all the data supporting my assertion regarding our need to be recognized, and I’m not going to. Instead, I’ll do this little experiment with you to prove ......
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Investing in Yourself as Property Managers

Investing in Yourself as Property Managers

Benjamin Franklin said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, and for property managers who have a wealth of opportunity to grow with the multifamily housing industry, this quote has quite a bit of substance. While there are plenty of driven students who can’t find enough opportunities for learning, many people need some guidance and motivation to get back into the classroom after they have finished their primary education. There are plenty of different driving factors that make a person want to learn more about their craft, but it can sometimes to be difficult to find accessible options.

Depending on your level of interest, here are 3 fantastic opportunities to increase your multifamily credentials:

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Shout Out To Our Apartment Associations

I was not a happy camper my first year of marriage. I thought it was boring. It got much better once the kids came along and married life turned into family life! In any event, I had to find a way to fill my time in between, so I chose teaching and was, it turned out, pretty good at it. However, even after a few years teaching kindergarten, I longed for a little bit more, so when the administration created a new position as the school’s Art Director, and they asked me to take it, I was apprehensive, but thrilled for the challenge. Turns out, having the opportunity to create a whole new curriculum where none existed before was the best thing to stimulate my growth as a leader. An entirely new opportunity to set the stage for learning was my perfect world. Our school was the first of its kind in offering art education to children from preschool to kindergarten age, so it became my responsibility to share that knowledge with everyone else in our state. This meant that I would have to actually teach the adults by presenting at professional development conferences. Now that I am in the multifamily/property management world, I crave those opportunities to learn anything new! One of the best ways for us to receive any level of professional development is through the Apartment Associations, either at the local, state, or national level. It is vital that our onsite teams be given the opportunity to participate a......
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"The Conch" and Focused Listening

"The Conch" and Focused Listening
In today’s world, distracted listening is endemic. Most American adults, over 90%, have a cell phone, and well over 65% of American adults own a smart phone.  With this recent trend, distracted listening is literally the click of a button or the swipe of a screen away. Tablets, laptops, MP3 players, smart phones, desk tops, TVs, Blue Tooth, etc., all provide the perfect excuse for us to not really listen to one another.  I found myself easily falling into the trap of not paying attention to those I needed to most; co-workers, customers, management, and to those I valued most; my wife and my daughters. I realized that I was providing more time and focus to my smart phone; emailing customers or reading the latest tweet from ESPN than I was to my three year old trying to get her daddy’s attention. I decided it was time for a serious change in my listening habits and focus. I needed to be able to focus on that which was most important, to remove the distractions, and truly be in the now. In the midst of pondering this question and seeking to determine a process to improve my listening focus, I took a vacation with my wife and children to California. While walking along the beach early one morning with Lucy, the previously mentioned three year old, we saw a large sea shell. This sea shell triggered a faint memory and reminded me of a literary device utilized by William Golding in his classic novel, “Lord of th......
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5 Keys to Improved Co-Worker Relationships

5 Keys to Improved Co-Worker Relationships
A large portion of your time is spent in the company of your co-workers, so having positive working relationships is important. No one wants to spend their day with a grumpy, hard-to-please, negative co-worker. More importantly, you don't want to be the grumpy, hard-to-please, negative co-worker. Let's take a look at five ways you can build better relationships at work. Listen. Take the time to listen to the input from your co-workers. People have different experiences, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. By actively listening to their suggestions, you show respect for their input and that you value them as part of the team. As an added bonus, you can learn many new things from your co-workers. Adapt. When faced with a disagreement, take the time to evaluate the impact the decision will have on the community, your co-workers, and yourself. Is it worth the time and energy to debate changing the office’s preferred brand of coffee, or are there other battles that are more important? Stay adaptable and don’t let personal opinions and preferences dominate your perspective. Positive Attitude. Take the time to get to know your co-workers. When the going gets tough, people sometimes become Negative Ned’s and Nancy’s. Instead of pointing out the mistakes and “wrongs” of others, offer words of encouragement and help out with whatever needs to be done. Your co-workers will see you as a positive, reliable ally in the daily grind.  Keep It Professional. Over-sharing personal details and the resulting office gossip can quickly ruin your relati......
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Get the Most Out of Your Software’s Help Content

Get the Most Out of Your Software’s Help Content
Has the company you work for ever disrupted your routine by introducing a new software platform? They promised it would make your job easier and the company more profitable, but here you are struggling to learn a new system. A software solution is supposed to provide an organized structure to work in, usually based on research about best practices and user experiences surrounding a set of tasks. But no matter how perfect any software solution is, when it’s new to you, there is a steep learning curve. Take, for example, Entrata®, the complete property management solution. It has been designed to help leasing agents and property managers do their jobs as quickly and easily as possible. But for it to make your life easier, you have to learn how to use it. That’s why software solutions often come with Help Centers full of support and training resources. You may not be aware of this, but as you read this article, there is a team of millennial hipsters throwing nerf balls over cubicle walls and eagerly developing help and support content for the software your boss just told you to start using. These folks want you to get your job done without tripping too much over a new software platform. Their own jobs depend on it. So what can you do to get on board with a new software solution and become the expert around the office? Get the most out of the help content already built in to your property management software. The web ......
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Communicating During Mold Mediation

Communicating During Mold Mediation
When faced with mold remediation in your community, communicating your plans and easing resident concerns are of the utmost importance. A clearly defined communication plan can help strengthen your rapport with residents as you navigate the remediation process.   Naturally, residents will be concerned about mold growth in their apartment and potential health impacts. Their concerns may grow if they think information is being withheld from them or that their health and safety is in danger.   In addition, if residents are required to relocate during remediation, more questions will arise about the changes and duration of the process. You must consider the size of the area affected, the extent and types of health effects (if any) exhibited by the residents, and the potential health risks associated with debris and activities during the remediation project.   The status of the apartment or building investigation and remediation should be openly communicated including information on any unknown or suspected health risks. When considering the issue of relocation, be sure to inquire about, accommodate, and plan for individuals with asthma, allergies, compromised immune systems, and other health-related concerns.   Depending on the size of your remediation efforts, you can tailor your communications to specific residents or the entire community. You may rely on face-to-face meetings, memos or emails, or community-wide town hall-type forums to respond to residents’ concerns and deliver updates on the project. Be sure to keep residents informed on the scope of the project, any planned activities, and an updated timeframe for c......
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Communicating with People with Disabilities

Communicating with People with Disabilities
Consider this scenario: Your new co-worker, Bob, uses a wheelchair. You don’t want to intrude into Bob’s private life, but at the same time, you may wonder if he needs special accommodations or if there are things he can’t do. Are you comfortable having a conversation with Bob about his disability? For many people without disabilities, it’s an uncomfortable topic. You don’t want to offend anyone. You definitely don't want to find yourself outside of fair housing compliance. You’re not exactly sure what words to use. You not even sure Bob wants to acknowledge his situation. So, what should you do? The 2010 Census estimated that 19% of the U.S. population has a disability. People can be born with a disability, or it can occur later in life due to an illness or accident. Disabilities are a medical diagnosis, not a label or stereotype. As a team member in your community, you should know that discriminating against persons with disabilities—be it an employee, resident, or a random stranger—is also illegal under federal laws.  The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names/words will never hurt me” isn’t true. Words can affect the way we see others and the way they see themselves. Words perpetuate stereotypes that victimize or bully others. If you only know Bob as “the guy in the wheelchair,” you may never learn that Bob is a skilled woodworker, father of twin boys, and an all-star basketball player. By using people first language—that is, choosing words that put the person before their disabil......
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The Importance of Appearance

The Importance of Appearance
Beauty comes from the inside. I totally agree. But, I’m not talking about beauty today. I’m talking about professional standards in our own appearance and the appearance of the product we send out. We are here to represent our company, our brand, ourselves as professionals and how we do so is very important. Perception is reality. I have listed a few areas where the perception that we’re giving off may be hurting us.   Corporate dress codes: Does your company have a dress code? Thoughts on hair, colors, cuts, tattoos, piercings? If not, why not?   In the multihousing industry, we work with all kinds of people, and that’s one of the perks of our job. Shouldn’t we be allowed to be our own person? Have our own look? Of course, but let’s be completely honest, your choices in how you dress and present yourself will determine how far you go in your career.   If your company’s image is corporate and professional, why struggle against it? You knew it when you were hired. I love tattoos, I love all the vibrant hair color, I love everyone individual enough to stand out in the crowd. I’m just suggesting that IF individuality is frowned on at your place of business, don’t flaunt them there.   If you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate, please consult your HR Department for a copy of the dress code. If you don’t have one, do a quick Google search for “example of corporate dress code” and see what comes up.   P......
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Does Your Pet Policy Cover Animal Hoarding?

Does Your Pet Policy Cover Animal Hoarding?
Take a moment to consider your community’s pet policy. Does it specifically address animal hoarding? Would you know how to identify and respond to residents who were hoarding animals?   Animal hoarding is a specific type of hoarding that occurs when a person collects animals instead of things. The person may identify with or feel a kinship with the animals. While their motive may be to take care of the animals, hoarding can lead to the unintentional abuse, neglect, and even death of the animals. The Humane Society estimates that nearly 250,000 animals are hoarded annually. Currently, only two states in the United States have laws specifically addressing animal hoarding. However, each state’s animal cruelty statutes cover animal hoarding; penalties may include fines, counseling, animal forfeiture, and/or jail time. Let’s take a closer look at the laws in Illinois and Hawaii that specifically target animal hoarders. In Illinois, The Humane Care for Animals Act targets hoarders who do not provide adequate food, shelter, or humane treatment for animals. The Act targets Companion Animal Hoarders as those who: Possess a large number of animals, but fails to provide food shelter, or humane treatment Keep the companion animals in a severely overcrowded environment Displays an inability to recognize or understand the nature of or has reckless disregard for the animal’s environment and the deleterious impact on the animals or owner’s health and well-being. Counseling is mandated for those convicted under the Act. Hawaii Senate Bill 3203 places limitations on the number of animals allowed as ......
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