You've Got Feedback!

Yes, I still use AOL. I know it is for tweens and gmail is quickly taking their market share, but AOL is just easy! I use this box for my personal mail and for my Mother so that I can be her technical support department. One of the things I love about AOL is that when I log in I hear the ever familiar “You’ve Got Mail.” LOVE IT! And, it makes me think of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks checking their email for love notes from each other…top 10 movie but of course I’m a sucker for a romantic comedy that includes a wonderful dog!

Last night my team sent out another installment of my newsletter which means when I log in a few hours later I will hear “You’ve Got Feedback” (well, it rings in my head when I read my email). Today, I found feedback and confirmation. If you look at the previous post on Wednesday, January 7, 2009 “Fewer folks popping bottle tops as champagne sales fizzle” you will see I was writing about things we can do to step ahead of our competition in difficult market. Scott Knauer, Principal and Chief Investment Officer with Orion Residential, shared with me some thoughts to support my 2009 strategies.

Scott agrees with me that the name of the game is to get our unfair share of the leases. To do so people need to spend more on advertising, marketing and training and they need to spend it cost effectively.

Next, he reminded me of a strategy that Jack Welch follows about our people productivity. Mr. Welch believes that there are people out there who are deserving of a great job with a great company but they do not work for him. He lives by the concept that it is important to trim the dead wood, this means that the bottom 10% of team members either need to meet your expectations or move on because there are better people out there that need jobs. Does this make you shake in your designer shoes a bit? Me too. But I think I agree. Embrace your fear as it is a key ingredient to success. That which we are afraid of we overcome by facing head on and conquering. This always makes us stronger and smarter.

Last year I worked with Scott Knauer consulting for one of his portfolios. He reminded me to calculate breakeven occupancy, what is the level of occupancy that the property needs to cover debt service and then determine the number of leases needed to achieve break-even. This is how we determined our goals. I am passionate about goals. They must be realistic, measurable and active.

I want to say thank you to Scott for his feedback and invite you to do the same. My father taught me to never stop learning. So, I may be the teacher when I turn on my microphone but I earn the right to teach by always being a student.