How hard is it to improve the way you do a routine inspection by 1 or 2%? It could be to benefit the landlord, the tenant or both, it doesn't matter and it is not hard to do. In 2018, Real iQ is going to implement this concept with the clients that we work with. Small, marginal gains and an openness to learn from mistakes without fear of recrimination.

I have been motivated to do this by a brilliant yet simple concept that I was fortunate enough to experience and it will change the way I look at business.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be invited as a panelist to the EA Masters event in London in front of 1,000 Estate Agents and Property Managers. One of the keynote speakers was Matthew Syed whose presentation was based on how the aviation industry has an almost impeccable safety record due to the concept of ensuring everyone learns when mistakes are made. He also spoke about how small marginal gains over a lengthy period of time is the key to achieving excellence in sport and in business. Over the Christmas holiday, I read Matthew Syed's brilliant book Black Box Thinking and would highly recommend that you read it too.  Everyone in Property Management could learn from Matthew Syed's brilliant book Black Box Thinking

It really made me think that in the Property Management industry we are too quick to jump to conclusions when things go wrong and seldom do we really learn from our mistakes. Too often we look for a scapegoat or something to blame when things inevitably go wrong.

 "The landlord was impossible to deal with, she won't fix anything!"

"The tenant hasn't paid their rent on time again"

"I’m glad she has left our company, she didn’t know what she was doing"

Everyone in our industry can relate to these comments from time to time. However, if we analyse the issues without fear of blame and look at what is the underlying cause of this issue then we can learn from the mistake and avoid it from happening again. If we accept that people will make mistakes and encourage them to be open about this, we also create an environment of creativeness and harmony as people do not fear recriminations when they drop the ball. A culture of fear leads to mistakes being covered up and an opportunity to learn being missed. Seldom is it just one thing or one person that has led to an error or an issue. In many cases, there are multiple factors, and people, that lead to things going wrong.

You may simply find that the landlord is unaware of their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act or they haven't budgeted for repairs and maintenance and have got their sums wrong. More often than not we are reactive rather than proactive in Property Management. Spending quality time with a landlord prior to them signing up as a client is imperative to establishing a successful and trustworthy relationship.

In New Zealand, the Property Management industry is under scrutiny as the shortage of rental stock has led to allegations in the media of corruption, unfair tactics and a general lack of care. This can easily happen when queues of tenants are scrambling to rent houses. Many of them are left feeling as though they are just a number as they fill out application form after application form, only to be told without empathy or care, that the property they had applied for had just been rented to someone else. It can be a demoralising experience and it is no surprise that many frustrated prospective tenants are left feeling unimpressed. Customer service often plummets when we are dealing with so many numbers of applicants as we can often get overwhelmed when dealing with so many people.

Getting qualified as a Property Manager in 2018 will benefit you, your company and the industry as a whole. This is a great way to embrace 'Marginal Gains'.

We need to look at our industry differently, through the eyes of our consumers and listen to their grievances.

Think of a Property Management industry where we are educating our consumers on an ongoing basis. We help landlords with cash flow projections for the year ahead to help them budget. We have enough data to accurately predict what should be being spent on repairs and maintenance throughout the year.

Think of a Property Management industry where tenants feel valued and the whole Property Inspection experience can be an opportunity to thank the tenant and show them that as an industry we care.

Think of a Property Management industry where we are educating prospective tenants on how to submit an excellent application for a property and provide advice helping them with their ongoing search for a rental property.

So I challenge all of you to do this in 2018. Look at every aspect of what we do and improve it by 1 or 2%, this is what marginal gains is about. And when mistakes are made, do not jump to conclusions and do not blame anyone without a comprehensive investigation. Then look at how we can improve our procedures to ensure that the mistake isn't made again. That is what the aviation industry has done for decades and why it has a safety record second to none. Let's learn from this and adopt a 'Black Box' mindset as we look to grow our business and our minds.

Category: Management

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