With the 2020 National Multihousing Council’s annual meeting behind us, it has allowed me to reflect on a number of things that could help us succeed. In a keynote address, Caren Majo, CEO of Nestio spoke about our communication methods with residents and prospects and how it requires adapting. “A lot of work we’re doing is to meet someone where they are. I’m excited to pull best practices from insurance and hospitality and apply them to multifamily.”
Pulling hospitality’s customer service best practices seems to be a no-brainer. Casoro Group’s management firm, CLEAR Property Management, has won resident satisfaction-type awards repeatedly. But I started to wonder what other best practices the hospitality industry uses that could benefit our family of companies?
I discovered this article from Hotel Management that lists hotel management best practices and pitfalls and decided to use the same criteria to see how Casoro Group measures up.
THREE MAIN KEYS TO SUCCESS
Put employees first
When I was appointed CEO in January of 2019, I made it my priority to talk to team members across all the companies from all levels. I wanted to understand what made them excited to come into work and what kept them up at night. It helped me meet and understand where our team members were.
Our company has always been good at investing in our people as we’ve had Satyen Raja from WarriorSage Trainings come in regularly over the last few years to provide our team with personal and leadership development support. Last year, we began to augment that with a training series that uses principles from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, emotional intelligence, and DiSC profiling. These lunch-and-learn series rotate throughout the year, ensuring that new team members don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow. We not only arm them with the tools to effectively and creatively solve problems, but communication and relationships are strengthened. Many of these principles can be applied not only in their careers but in their personal lives as well.
By investing in our team members, we are developing exceptional leaders and we love to promote from within.
Know your why
“In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. It all started with WHY. What is your cause? What do you believe?”
Our company recently went through a merger and we took that opportunity to rebrand. Our leaders worked collectively for days to truly drill down to what we wanted our company to stand for. What did we want to accomplish? What is our vision? Whatever we came up with will become our why.
After much discussion, brainstorming, debating, and pondering, Casoro Group’s purpose now is to provide Better Homes for Better Lives.
Every step of the way now, from acquisitions to management, we are starting to analyze everything with the Better Homes for Better Lives filter.
Leave no vacancy for ego
We are teachable. We are growth oriented. That is one of our five company values. We are continually learning. We learn from experts and from each other. We learn from our mistakes and take ownership of our growth. We believe in failing forward.
As a leader, it’s important to remember that the ‘L’ in leader stands for LISTEN. We sometimes let our ego and pride get in the way of listening to what our peers, partners, and clients are telling us. We may miss important ideas, observations, and concerns if we don’t listen and humbly consider what is being said. Trust your people and let the ego go.
PITFALLS TO AVOID
Picking projects instead of partners
This is one we are learning from (see leave no vacancy for ego). By changing our focus so it aligns with our new company vision, we realize that we are no longer in the business of value-add. Instead, we are in the business of providing Better Homes for Better Lives. We want to find partners who have a similar vision.
Keeping management on autopilot
When it comes to multifamily, one size does not fit all. What you do at one community may not work at another. We have to truly get to know our residents to understand what they value most before we start implementing programs like after school care, tax-preparation assistance, or fitness classes. Our team has formed a committee to develop a pilot program that will test what works and what doesn’t. The objective is to develop guidelines that will help our other communities implement similar activities as it fits with their residents’ needs. I’m looking forward to seeing this implemented company-wide next year.
Departments in silos
Casoro Group is a vertically-integrated company. We have different companies that acquire, manage, and renovate our assets. We even have a company that helps raise money (Upside Avenue) in the form of a REIT which allows everyday investors to invest in shares of a multifamily portfolio. One might think a one-stop firm like ours can avoid the trappings of operating in silos but that’s not true. We sometimes find departments and companies working so independently that communication breakdowns occur.
Since the introduction of our company values in 2015, we have made strides to reduce communication hiccups and increase collaboration. Our regularly occurring leadership development trainings throughout the company focuses on teaching us ways we can improve our communication and relationships with each other. We continue to strive for excellence and create a culture where communicating with affinity is important.
DO WE MEASURE UP?
This was a good exercise to evaluate where we were with some of hospitality’s best practices. These can actually be applied to any industry. We’re doing all of them but they’re all on different parts of the journey towards exceptional. What makes me proud is our team is all committed to our vision of providing Better Homes for Better Lives. As we continually to improve internally, the results will show externally in how we serve and communicate with our residents. Our opportunities are endless.