Olympic fever is alive and well these days as the 2012 Summer Olympic Games are underway. Like many around the world, we have been glued to the screen watching the games unfold and cheering for the athletes. With all the emphasis on the personal stories of the athletes, we've started seeing paralells between Olympians and Property Managers.
Here are 6 lessons we all can learn about being a successful property manager from these heroic men and women:
1) Be a Team Player
There's no better example I can think of for this point than gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who was shut out of the All-Around competition by her own teammates, due to a '2 entries per country' rule, in spite of the fact that she was reigning world champion. For many people, such an event might make them bitter or angry enough to take it out on their teammates, but not so Wieber, who rallied the team and contributed to the Team Olympic Gold.
Some managers feel they need to do everything themselves. Remember that you have an entire team to help you – even if you are a solo manager, you can look to your vendors and board members for support. Take advantage of the resources that are right under your nose. Working together as a team benefits everyone, and you’ll be rewarded for it.
2) Be Communicative
Synchronized divers rely heavily on communication to insure that they start exactly together at exactly the right time. Without that communication, the dive fails, as it did with favored British team Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, whose failed 4th dive kicked them to 4th place and out of the medal competition.
For property managers, failing to be communicative can have equally disastrous results. I firmly believe that good communication is the hallmark of a great property manager. Not only does this mean communicating with your boards, but also following up with vendors and homeowners to keep them informed of where things stand. Good communication skills are the springboard to happy clients.
3) Be Persistent
Everyone thought Dominican Republic 34 year old Felix Sanchez' best running days were over. Back in 2004 he won the Olympic Gold for the 400m hurdles, but a lot of years have passed since then, and he hadn't been able to repeat the performance in 2008. However he persisted, stating that he wanted to win to honor his grandmother. With her picture pinned beneath his bib, Sanchez raced for his promise, surprising the world, and himself, with a gold medal and an exact matching time to that of his win in Athens.
Persistence pays off in anything you do. That couldn't be more true for Community Management. Being persistent in pushing through problems that may occur and smoothing things over with vendors, boards and homeowners gives you the edge you need to stay ahead of your competition.
4) Be Focused
On several occasions over the course of the games, Olympians touted as the "Best in the World" have let themselves and fans down by believing they had won before they even competed. Australian swimmer Emily Seebohm set a world record in the qualifying round of the 100m backstroke, and was inundated with well wishes and support from fans on social media. Believing her gold medal to be 'in the bag', she relaxed a little too much and lost the gold to American newcomer Missy Franklin. Another event that easily comes to mind is the heart wrenching sit-down landing of gymnast McKayla Maroney on the Vault when a sure win became a lost opportunity.
In Property Management, it's easy to get caught up in the big things, like winning a new contract or managing a big project, but don't assume the little things will take care of themselves. Stay focused, even on the smallest details and you'll come out the winner.
5) Be Smart
When Sanya Richards Ross competed in the 400m race in the 2008 Olympics, she pushed herself really hard early on, and was outrun at the end of the race when she didn't have the energy to continue. This year, she paced herself, letting other runners pass her to save her energy until she really needed it - the final 100 meter sprint. By working smarter, Ross was able to overcome and win the gold.
There's no question in anyone's mind that Property Managers work hard. Unfortunately, that doesn't always equate to working smart. Look for ways that you can pace yourself by sharing the burden of tasks with others and automating processes you currently do manually. Use preventative measures to take care of tasks early instead of waiting until the last minute. This way, when you really need to push yourself, you'll have the time and energy to cross the finish line!
As a Property Manager, you are the "Coach" of the team. Your encouragement keeps the team focused on their goal, whether it is a big construction project or a broken sprinkler that needs repair. Keeping the lines of communication open lets each team member know what their role is and how important it is to accomplishing the team's goals. Your persistence in working through problems toward your mutual goal(s) will help build the team's confidence and show them that this may just be a stumbling block to learn from and help them to better complete their task.
Keeping these lessons in mind, you and your property management company will be winning gold medal contracts over your competition!
Andrea Drennen works in Marketing and Design at TOPS Software.
Kim Repass is the QA Manager for TOPS Software.