Out to Put a Dent in the Multifamily Universe

Apartment Leadership – Your Answer May Not be the Only Answer

I read a story today that held a lesson too important not to share. The overarching premise related to creative solutions for business problems. The key lesson being that just because you [leaders] don’t get the answer you are looking for does not mean the answer is not an acceptable solution for the problem.

Allow me to take you back to my childhood for a second to bring this point home. I grew up on a farm just South of a small town on the Eastern Plains of New Mexico. The summers, outside of crazy boring chores, were packed with a ton of down time.  My only mode of transportation were two wheels straddled by a frame, two peddles and a seat. It was four miles along the highway to the edge of town and another four to my nearest friend. Needless to say, I was not jumping at the chance to make the trip very often.

Both of my parents worked so my sister and I were left to make the best of each day. Days that included a long list of chores to complete before they made it home. On one occasion that list included a request for me to pull an acre of weeds no less than four feet tall [exaggerated for emphasis]. A project that wold have taken the better part of two days to accomplish [no exaggeration on this point].

Now I don’t claim to be any more resourceful than the next guy or gal but I can say that if there is a more efficient way to do something, trust that I am going to find it. In this instance, I went next door and asked by neighbor if I could borrow a few of his healthiest farm animals to assist in my assignment. He agreed and it took them the better part of a half-day to complete the project. They mowed the weeds right down to the dirt and in many cases pulled them out by the root. Needless to say, I was very proud of my accomplishment and could not wait to share it with my step-father.

“What were you thinking? I asked you to PULL the weeds,” he thundered upon my sharing. I was shocked. Devastated. And, angry. Why was my solution any less effective than his alternative? The reason according to the story I read this morning was because it was not his desired solution.

Getting to the point, how many times in our property management careers have we been put off or put back by resourceful thinkers that get things done in a different or better fashion than you. Do you coach them as it relates to your desired solution? Did you coach out of an underlying premise of frustration or anger? Here are some things to think about if you are in this crowd of thinkers:

1. Are you stalling creativity?

2. Are you screening out innovation?

3. Are you killing a free thinking environment?

4. Are you killing moral?

5. Are you losing good people?

Photo Credit: conversations.nokia.com

About Mike Brewer

Out to put a dent in the multifamily universe. Love compelling conversation...

  • Great post. This happens ALL the time with new product development. The issues that arise typically turns out to be an issue of status quo or fear of change. Big hurdle for companies to overcome, but time and again those that do are those with greatest return. A great quote I agree with is, “it is better to regret what you tried than to regret what you didn’t”.

    • CarmenWhoa – you rocked my world with the uber-cool quote! Who said that? So tell me – what have you tried and regretted as of late? M

      • sorry Mike for my delay. Things that I have tried. Running my own business. No regrets AT ALL on that end. Moving abroad to continue expanding my business. No regrets AT ALL on that end!

  • Tea

    What a great story. I have a very wild mind and tend to think outside of the box often. I’ve had some employers who did not appreciate new ideas because they knew one way to do it and darn it, that is the only way! It’s really just like math. As long as you get the right answer… who cares what method you used?

    • Thank you for the perspective and the kind word. I think as we move into a more social currency model of business – leaders will have to be more considerate of new and interesting ways of doing things.

      I think there are two reasons for that, 1. employee retention. 2. The risk of stalling Innovation.

      Have a great Thanksgiving.