After some lengthy planning, brainstorming, notes in Evernote, cups of coffee, dreaming, and business planning, I found myself sitting at a circular table with my partner and property management team this week. I was so fired up to hear from my team about what was going on, how we could work together better, what was awesome, what wasn’t working, and how to fix it.
First, in full disclosure. My partner is awesome. My team is awesome.
We tell them all the time, thank you. Thanks for what you do, thank you for what you represent, we appreciate you, we genuinely care for you as a human, and we are happy… that you are on OUR team.
The Meeting Prep
My partner and I laid out about five major bullet points to cover in our three hour meeting. It seemed reasonable, and a good amount of information, ideas, and break down of tasks and systems. He and I talked through some ideas, how we generally wanted the meeting to go and where we wanted to be headed both systems-wise and strategically in the next 12 months.
We made notes on some specifics that we wanted to cover in each bullet point. Some of the items were understanding the breakdowns in systems, or where we lacked them. Other items were about specific jobs, their descriptions, and how the tasks were being completed.
Another side of it was how we were coming across to clients: our owners, our tenants, and our contractors and subs. These relationships are the backbone to our business, which is all about communication and relationships. We wanted to make sure that came across, as well as how we were actually writing these emails, making these phone calls, and talking with various people both inside and outside of our organization.
During the meeting… the introduction
We started walking our team through our formation, why we wanted to be a property management company in the first place. We got tired of having managers in place who we felt did just a good enough job. We wanted to have in-house management that assisted our buyers all over the country on the turn key side of the business. And we wanted the proper management covering our own portfolio of properties, ensuring those were getting the right attention and management as well.
There was also an explanation our goals… to have the best properties, best owners, and best tenants. We want to have a product we are proud of; an awesome team that understands the goals, the vision, and is on board; safe, functional, healthy housing for our tenants; and awesome, well-rehabbed properties for our owners.
And, to the people in the room, we want to have an awesome team that works together!
During the meeting… overall and nuts and bolts
Once we had spent some time talking about what was happening, we had a break for a few minutes then gathered back together to talk about all the parts of the property management company and what those processes looked like, and allowed ourselves to get a little more into the “weeds” of our operations.
My partner and I quickly realized, although we had about four or five headings of things we had anticipated talking about, that an hour into the conversation we had gotten roughly HALF WAY through ONLY ONE!
We spent an hour or so just on the processes to market and getting a tenant leasing appointment set up, and then through the entire process of marketing, showing, leasing, and getting the tenant moved into their place. I’ve done it hundreds of times, but talking through it that way really put the entire conversation into perspective. Sometimes you have to break things down small enough to be able to understand the problems, or issues, or even just the entire process.
At that point, we started talking about even the subcategories of these conversations. For instance, you list a property online, but where do you put it, how do you write the text, how do you lay out the pictures, who does the potential renter call, and where does that call come in. Then, how are we tracking that lead, who is following up with it and booking a showing, and then who is showing up to the property.
There is a LOT that goes into even just a basic task. Through the process, we also had more clarity on how we would do these items, big and small, as a team. How each were responsible for different aspects of the process, and although they wouldn’t have the job of the other team member, they needed to at least understand how they fit into the big picture. WHY are they doing what they are doing? This is super important.
During our time together, we were better able to understand who was doing what, our challenges, what we were doing well, what we weren’t, and how to bring it back to a more macro view after we had assigned the tasks, and put in systems.
I learned to ask good questions, but to not try to answer them. The leader is there to help guide the conversation, but not to answer every question. We have an awesome team in place, and we needed to let them help guide those answers; they are the ones responsible on the front lines to do those jobs, and know how and why they were doing them.
I also learned that we had an amazing team. They were in need of this time, and more time like it, with their leaders. If we aren’t there to lead them, then who is? Because of this meeting, we (my partner and I) also learned better HOW to be their leaders and how best we could serve them. Out of that came better processes and systems (being developed or already in place), and then more follow up meetings over other areas of our business where we could do the same dissection, analysis, (better) processes, and then back to higher level to-do’s.
I am always learning, always seeking to be a better leader, business owner, investor, and manager. And it’s so important to look critically at your team: help them, guide them, learn yourself, and you will get exactly what you want and what you do.
- Ask great problems
- Instill vision and team-awareness into your people
- Walk the walk, and talk the talk
- Grow your team, both as a group and as an individual
- Let them do what you hired them to do… and watch them succeed, correct as necessary, and affirm.
Are you part of a Mastermind Group? How do you best use your time with them?