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My cliche’ blog of the year! - Working ‘in’ the business ‘or’ on the business

June 22, 2018

Being up front, I need to say. This entire blog post is very cliche’. However, now and then it is pertinent to stop, realign and step back to visit captain obvious.



Property management is a very reactive business, and the day-to-day tends to take priority over strategic decision making and action planning for business improvement and growth. I would have to say, as a generic statement, that most businesses I visit are not happy with the status quo, and are generally seeking to improve their business. They believe they can offer a better service to their customers, provide better support to their team and grow their asset at a much faster pace. So how, amongst the blur of every day, do you make time for business improvement?


While captain obvious is still wearing his cape, I’m going to pull out the old goal setting flag. No new news here. Setting business goals is pertinent to achieving success, business or otherwise, but what I’m keen to do though, is venture more into the territory of actioning those goals. As you are doing your business planning session with your team for the year, ensure you’re not just talking about more ‘doors’ or increased profit. Allocate business improvement goals that can be contributed to and actioned by all members of the team.


As an example, one project at the front of mind right now may be to endorse the mission, vision, and values into the business operations. This may require many tasks for the team including realigning the current procedures guide, amending position descriptions, creating more relevant KPIs and surveying clients. While the goals are clear, you will need to create an action plan to ensure that the business can meet this goal.


Now time is your worst enemy here. Particularly given Mary has leave coming up, Mike is going on parenting leave, there is new property manager to be trained, and the growth team still haven’t returned from last months rugby game. Time is also your friend though. We as humans subconsciously respond proactively to time pressure. Our automatic response is to prioritize any issue or task that is time sensitive. With this in mind, let's go about trying to exploit this.


As a result of your goal setting exercise, create a list of tasks or actions that need to be completed to achieve ‘said’ task. Allocate each action to a particular team member that is best skilled to resource and drive the task to completion. Now, set a completion date for each action. This is where your time ‘friend’ kicks into gear. By setting an end date for a task, each team member is forced to de-prioritize other tasks to address the time-sensitive ones better, thus completing the action.


Without diverging too far from away from an already freaky blog post, the business needs to adopt a culture of success. This culture promotes high expectations to complete tasks on time and without excuses. Once the team forms a ‘meh’ attitude to time-sensitive tasks, the proverbial wheels fall of the entire plan.


Now, since you have been wondering if you’ll ever get these last three minutes of your life back, here is my suggestion. When setting business goals each year, month or quarter, ensure you break them up into actionable tasks. Assign these tasks to team members and lock in an end date to ensure completion. When this becomes a habit-forming process, you will find the working ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ it becomes a seamless part of the everyday operation.


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