This is the second post in a two part series based on the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. In this post we’ll discuss three topics that relate to the subject of getting the people piece of your property management organization right. We’ll talk about making the right hiring decisions, turning loose of bad behavior and making sure personal competencies fit roles and responsibilities.
It’s Thursday afternoon around 5:30, you have just returned from the fourth promising apartment tour of the day. This one looks like a sure thing. The ideal resident sits down and immediately asks what it would take to get moved in tomorrow. You take a hard swallow knowing that you are freeing up your maintenance supervisor’s future at 7:30 the following morning. To make matters worse your lead tech is on vacation. “Yes.” “Yes, we can get you in tomorrow.” “No worries.”
“No worries,” you think to yourself. “Right!” The prompt move in is but one of your concerns; you have work orders stacked up and the morale of the team is South of Obama’s pre mid-term election approval ratings. It’s bad. You know you need new energy, a new vibe, and a new rock-star maintenance supervisor that will help you get the apartment community back on track. Good thing you work for a company that has a dedicated property management recruiter. In this case she has the first of three leads headed over for an interview on Friday afternoon.
The first candidate shows up right on time, you ask your canned questions and he says all the right things. All the while you are thinking, you had me at – showing up right on time. You forego the other two interviews, make him and offer and move about your business. We have all done it.
Drawing from Good to Great, “No company can grow revenues consistently faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company.”
Lesson #1 – Take your time even if it means suffering a few adverse resident calls, bad online reviews and or undo stress on you and your team. In the long run all of you will appreciate the delay.
One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch
It’s Monday morning 9:15 and Ima Leasingmachine is once again running late. Like clockwork, she calls at 8:59 to let you know that traffic is worse than it has ever been. It’s the seventeenth time this year. You are ambivalent to the situation given the fact she has leased twenty-two apartments in the last thirty days and is once again on the prowl to close a major multi-lease deal with a local relocation company.
We have all been there. Carly Consistent comes to work on time everyday and works to her full capacity making sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed. She is a property auditors dream employee. As with Ima, you are ambivalent to her performance as it helps you in so many ways but one – leasing a maximum number of apartment homes. Not something you can really punish her for. She is normally a no worry employee but today is different. Today she is in your office for the third time voicing her concern about no consequences being rendered on Ima for being late more than she is on time.
Fast forward six months, Carly is gone and her replacement is in your office suggesting she is giving notice because she can’t handle the fact that Ima is not being held accountable for her behaviors.
According to Good to Great one of the reasons we delay dealing with personnel is, “…we find the whole process of dealing with the issue to be stressful and distasteful. So, to save ourselves stress and discomfort, we wait. And wait. And wait.”
Lesson #2 – Don’t do this. It makes no difference – superstars should be rewarded in relation to their performance to include every aspect of their respective responsibilities. Never overlook their shortcomings as it relates to the bigger picture. Remember, everyone is watching to see what you do. Act accordingly.
Get the Right People in the Right Seats
How many times have you seen it? Lisa Leasingmaster gets promoted to assistant manager on the premise of her over the top sales numbers. For all intents and purposes, it’s the right thing to do. She is adored for her good charm, great wit and of course her ability to close leases. But, transitioning from selling to being the doer of tasks is a risky proposition.
Leasing consultants love to sell because they love helping people with their needs, wants and desires as it relates to finding an apartment. The money is nice too but stick with me for a moment. For the most part the front side of the leasing process is laced with face-to-face interactions. It’s what great leasing people thrive on. They charge their batteries via the social nature of their positions. That being said, it does carry its fair share of paperwork but it is not the primary purpose of the process. It is the necessary evil of it. An evil that becomes even more pronounced in the assistant manager role.
Lisa Leasingmaster is three months in when she enters your office begging for her old job back. She can’t take the paperwork not to mention the constant negative attention from sending out delinquent rent notices. In short, she is outside of her strike zone.
Good to Great suggests, “Whether someone is the “right person” has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background or skills.”
Lesson #3 – Be mindful of the fact that the best leasing consultants don’t make the best assistant managers. And, the best assistant managers don’t make the best property managers. It’s okay to promote a leasing consultant to property manager and or a porter to assistant manager if they demonstrate the appropriate skill sets. Promote for competency rather than performance in the current role.