Complexity in times of Adversity

Over the course of my career in the Multifamily space I have dealt with my fair share of complexity and adversity. Be it missing expectations, getting a property back on the rails or exercising triage during a fire. No matter the nature, there are a range of things than can and do happen when managing apartment communities. And in those times of adversity, there are a number of personalities that present themselves. And they each bring with them a level of complexity. Excepting one.

Multiple Personalities

You have ‘the sky is falling group,’ known for its doom and gloom, scorched earth, the world if falling apart tomorrow propensities. This is the group that creates reports that track reports. When you think of stall points in a property management organization – this person holds the – I’m that guy/gal trophy high and proud. Complexity.

Next you have the ‘whoa, this is too much for me to handle so I do nothing group,’ know for its complete ill-regard for action. They see the problem so loud and clear that it stumps their ability to move. It’s very akin to the old deer in the headlights saying. Complexity.

Then you have the Stoics, know for their non-impulsive, simply observed, cut to the chase, mindful strategize propensity for reflection before action types. I love these people. They look at a situation – innately know what to do and they simply act. Never shaken by emotional whims; they simply see the solution, rally the players and work the underlying things that make up the larger picture and produce results. No Complexity here.

Your always looking forward to working with the Stoics Multifamily Maniac,


They’re Here

They’re here and will be the Center of your Universe for the next 25 years.

They’re here.

“We are the Aussies & Kiwis & Americans & Canadians. We are the Western Europeans & Japanese. We are the fastest-growing, th biggest, the wealthiest, the boldest, the most (yes) ambitious, the most experimental & exploratory, the most (self-) indulgent, the most difficult & demanding, the most service – & experience-obsessed, the most vigorous, the most health-conscious, the most female, the most profoundly important commercial market in the history of the world-and we will be the Center of your Universe for the next 25 years. We have arrived.” – Tom Peters

Sounds like a demographic that the Multifamily business is ready to serve!

Active adult or millennial? Who do you think of when you read the statement above? Don’t Google it. Just read it and think about it. Okay – and then Google it.

They’re here and they are ready for exceptional service. And those that serve them in the highest and best way will be handsomely rewarded. 

What is your property management team doing to serve them?

How is your business going to change to capture your share of attention from this group?

Your thinking through the next 25 years Multifamily Maniac,


Human Behavior

For the savvy apartment marketer

At the deepest levels we multifamily types are forever students of behavior.

For you bottom-liners; we are in the business to lease more apartments.

But, for you that understand that the multifamily business is in place to serve the people who serve it; the study of behavior and the power it yields is where it’s at.

Strip it down to the brass tacks and you have – the study of people and their actions.

For the analytic among us – a problem is a set of numbers.

For the servants among us – a problem is human and compelled by care, compassion and empathy.

For the savvy apartment marketer – creativity can change the way people think, feel and ultimately act/behave.

Human behavior is a very compelling body of knowledge and well worth the time and effort to study and understand.

Understand behavior and you get at the core of a persons needs.

Powerful stuff when you think about it in the context of one of the most fundamental needs of all – shelter (read: apartments).

Your thinking deeply about human behavior Multifamily Maniac,



Multifamily Culture

Carve some choice chateaubriand out of the sacred cows in your company.

Eric Brown penned a question that caught my eye today: How much is company culture holding YOU back?

He further amplifies the point by asking if it’s just a myth. I am presupposing that is to imply that culture is a mythical quixotically utopian fantasy land ripe with heaps of pixy dust for times when people go rogue. That is to say they attempt to carve some choice Chateaubriand out of the sacred cows that roam the hallway of we’ve always done it that way.

It sharply reminds me of the young woman who promptly chops three good inches from each end of the family holiday ham. When asked why: the answer traces back to great grandma – “honey, I used to do that because the pan I had back then would not hold the full ham not to mention my stove was a far cry smaller than this mega-hunk of stainless steel madness you call a Viking.” Ugh-a-ruga – right. It’s one of those head slapping moments followed by a choice of keenly place curse words.

Culture in the Multifamily Space

Culture is not a place, person or thing. It’s that something. I tried to some it up a couple of years ago here.

While I would not suggest that it is a myth; I would go so far as to say that it is the most elusive of all necessary intentions that a company has to get right. They have to align values with purpose. Values with Vision. And values with Mission. Everything the company does from decision-making to policy crafting to rewards and recognition have to ladder up to the Mission, Vision and values of the organization.


Here is the crazy kicker – it takes a ton of time to get it right. In my head – (10,000 unit company with 300+/- employees) – it takes no less than 12 months and likely up to 18 to get it 100%. And then it takes a lifetime to keep it alive. It can’t become a piece of paper that hangs on the wall or worse yet falls in the drawer of doomed to never see daylight for as long as I run the broken show of mindlessness.

It is alive and well in everything. If everything is marketing; everything is predicated on the mission, vision and values.

Is it holding YOU back?

Here is what I have to say to that; there is a little space between (sing the Dave Matthews tune in your head while reading this – it makes for great imbedding) catalyst and response called choice. Is it holding YOU back? Your choice! How do you change culture. You choose to do it. How do you change people? Two ways: 1. change people 2. be the change you want to see in the world. It’s the same way you change the world – by the way.


Your fully convinced that culture is worth the full faith and effort of the people Multifamily Maniac,


Feeding Multifamily

You know what can never be measured in the Multifamily business?

You know what can never be measured in the Multifamily business?





This kind of stuff is not manufactured.

This Stuff

This stuff is human. This is the kind of stuff, if tapped into, will change the world because it compels people to change.

Find this stuff in your customers, vendors and employees and your business will be so over-the-top amazing that people have no choice but to join your quest.

And, they will be crazy loyal.

Your thinking the work of a property management company is human Multifamily Maniac,


Multifamily Purpose

The purpose is to change the world; the world is people…

What is the purpose of your Property Management Company?Michael Porter #WBFSydney

Is it driven by profits?

Top line growth?

Y/Y rental income growth?

Y/Y NOI growth?

Cash flow?

Purpose Larger than Self

Multifamily people get inspired when they know they are working for something larger than self. And believe it or not; it’s not all about the bottom line. No, it’s about much more than economics.

It’s About Service

I am fully convinced that business sets in place to serve the people who serve it. And companies that understand that will prosper in the coming business cycle.

Michael Porter suggests as much in the quote above. Not sure how he defines societal purpose but I look at it two-fold:

1. Business serves each person that serves it; the role of business is to build people of character;

2. Character results from businesses manufacturing quest(s). The business also supports the quest. And, carrying out the quest(s) results in the building up of character

The purpose is to change the world; the world is people. Give people the chance to grow and change and the world will change.

Your thinking more deeply about purpose Multifamily Maniac,