We Are in the People Business

I was in a brainstorming meeting when the owner of multiple properties said these words and they just stuck with me.  I’ve heard this before, but I think it’s often forgotten, especially the further removed from the front lines you become.  This owner just happens to check in on his communities quite frequently, so he understands the magnitude of his words.

We are in the people business and apartments are simply a way to attract people.  When all else is equal, we attract prospects and get them to become customers because of the people we have on our teams.  We attract the people we have on our teams by having good people in leadership positions.  We attract good people for our leadership positions because we have strong, supportive executives.  It is a chain of executives (people) serving leaders, (people) serving teams (people) serving customers (people).

The most successful leaders I know in this industry are the leaders who have not lost sight of this.  They are the ones who are out at their communities frequently inspecting the product, staff and level of customer service provided to their residents.  They also inspect the level of customer service they provide to their own teams.  They are leaders who understand that they work for their employees just as much as their employees work for them.

As a leader or supervisor, I like to ask my teams what I can do for them.  That sets an example for them to ask their teams the same and of course ask their residents the same.  When you operate with this mentality, your organizational chart should end up looking more like a wheel with spokes rather than a pyramid.  The center of that wheel will be your residents.  Ever try hauling a heavy load with pyramid shaped tires?

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