This is the first of a two part series where I will be using the book Good to Great by Jim Collins to talk about the topic of people. In the book Jim and his team of very talented researches dig up a few practical principles used by companies to differentiate themselves from the crowd. One principle includes hiring the right people, getting them in the right places and getting rid of the bad apples as quickly as possible.
Now, before I move forward, one could argue that a number of the companies that Jim writes about have failed miserably as it relates to the word great. Good might even be a stretch for some of those companies today. Despite the merit in that argument, the principle is the important piece to keep in mind here. If applied appropriately and consistently then good, if not great, results will be sure to follow.
I first read the book in the mid 2000’s while working for a nationally recognized and publicly traded REIT. It became the underlying premise for the forward-looking direction of the organization and despite some common ebbs and flows in adoption; it really made a difference. In this author’s opinion, it was the discussion and subsequent actions based on Chapter 3 that made the biggest impact and as such will be the specific topic we talk about in brief today.
First Who Then What
The principle of: “First Who Then What” or what I refer too as Page 41 thinking, is the key to it all. Page 41 references a somewhat collaborated quote from CEOs’ who took companies from good to great. They said, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
I think it goes without saying that the property management business is not rocket science. I think it also fair to say that there are but eight to ten principles that if preformed well and consistently will yield great results. And, to me, the number one fundamental is: get the people piece right and the rest will fall into place.
Hire for Attitude
I’ve seen it time and time again over the course of my career, one bad apple and the whole bunch stinks. Not as a function of all bad people but rather one person’s bad attitude that rubs off on others. I think Winston Churchill said it best, “Attitudes is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Therefore, in the quest of taking your property management operation from good to great in the year to come, I suggest you keep the following three things [we will discuss each in detail during part two of this series] in mind.
1. Never hire out of desperation – take your time no matter how painful it is.
2. Weed out the bad apples at the first sign of bruising.
3. Get the right people in the right spots – don’t promote on performance alone.