Time, the measure of our past, present and future. Our most valuable asset is time, as there is never quite enough. As we approach each day, we think about how much we can accomplish within the number of hours we are given. How do we make each day count? We can easily become overwhelmed and lose sight of the goals we strive to achieve. I challenge each of you to manage your time more efficiently and take control of your goals.
Our teams had the pleasure of attending Franklin Covey’s Time Management Training. The training separated our “time thieves” into 4 quadrants – Q1 Necessity, Q2 Extraordinary Productivity, Q3 Distraction, and Q4 Waste. Our brains are quick to become bogged down by the many distractions we all face on a day to day basis. But, what if we could take control of these distractions and set limitations? What would happen if we set our days up for more time in the quadrants that gave us the most return? Our time would be well spent and our goals would be reached that much faster. Managing your time is taking control of your life and setting yourself for success. The clock is ticking. Will you get buried alive or become extraordinary?
Baking is a science. You need the right amount of sugar to make sure it’s sweet enough but not saccharine, the right amount of liquid to make sure it’s not too wet and not too dry, the right amount of baking powder to make sure it rises to the proper level. It’s not just the ingredients that matter. You need to follow the correct order to make sure that everything goes in at the right time, that the oven is the right temperature and that everything bakes long enough (but not too long). Recipes include both the ingredients and the sequential steps to create something amazing from a cupboard of disparate ingredients.
Our teams recently attended Sandler’s Sales Training, Your Cookbook For Success. Think of your goals like a cookbook. What ingredients or resources will you need? What steps will you need to take? To follow our recipes we need to cement good habits each and everyday. New habits begin with a plan and the willingness and commitment to execute that plan. Whether it’s posting on Craigslist at just the right time to get peak reach throughout the day, or doing 100 prospect follow-ups everyday come rain or come shine, or reserving the last hour of the day to check up on our work order satisfaction, these little commitments lead to consistently happy customers, strong results and accomplished employees. Like any good recipe, the more we practice, the better we get. Slowly but surely our recipe for success becomes part of us, like my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies or my mother’s chicken noodle soup. What is your recipe for success?
Imagine what would happen if everyone at Bonaventure found a True Purpose at Work. Not only a job that matters to their company, the world, but a job that matters within themselves? It’s no secret that we love Core Value #5, “Make it Happen!” Imagine what we could make happen and how much more engaged our employees would be with their personal success? When an employee approaches each day and task with purpose, then motivation will follow suit. Where do we find our purpose? It is not something you can purchase from a retailer, and it most certainly doesn’t come in fun and carefully thought out packaging. Purpose is a continual choice that comes from within. It is a feeling and a desire to help others, contribute to the greater cause, while fostering personal fulfillment.
At Bonaventure, we are not a team because we work together. We are a TEAM because we trust, respect and care for one another. Teamwork isn’t just about the soft side of business. Effective teamwork helps us manage time more efficiently, develop working relationships that get results and take multiple perspectives into consideration to make more measured decisions. Great teamwork starts with effective communication; but, communication isn’t one size fits all. ”What style are you and how can knowing this information help you lead your team?”
A recent article in HBR defined four different personality styles: Pioneers, Drivers, Guardians and Integrators. Each one has their own unique set of traits, characteristics, drivers and blockers. But, understanding the different personality styles isn’t just about overcoming the challenges of working with an opposing style. In fact, often opposite personality styles can be the most effective at bridging the strategy execution gap because integrating multiple styles provides multiple perspectives which can help identify and overcome our own individual blockers. We can use the different personality styles as a common language for understanding how the different people on our team think and work. This is why we live by Core Value #8: Value Individuality While Embracing Teamwork. How can you embrace the individuality of your team members to improve to strength of your overall team?
Whether you follow sports or not, you’ve probably heard of Babe Ruth – the biggest name in baseball (and maybe in all of sports history). But, Babe Ruth wasn’t born “The Great Bambino.” Certainly, he had a proclivity for athleticism but not all athletes become legends. Ruth’s internal drive to achieve high performance motivated him to practice his craft, cultivate his skills and set the bar for greatness in the sports world. What looked like natural skill was built on practice, determination and attitude. Babe Ruth changed the game of baseball through sheer force of will. Billy Beane changed it again when he “money-balled” the Oakland A’s using statistical modeling to score runs and drive wins. Both Ruth and Beane relied on a high performance mindset, refusing to accept traditional models built to perpetuate adequate performance.
The concept of high performance isn’t limited to sports. In fact, Netflix gained unexpected renown when they released their “culture deck” – 124 slides that laid out their plan to hire, reward and tolerate only fully formed adults. In order to achieve a high performance culture, adequate performance can no longer be accepted as the standard, accountability and coaching must be synonymous with success, employees must not only accept but strive for greater ownership and personal responsibility for the success of the organization. Babe Ruth once said, “every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” It was not the strike that drove him but the mindset that the next home run was just another pitch away. How can you promote a high performance culture at work?
I vividly remember my first real experience with coaching. I was standing at bat, looking out at a field of other little leaguers and my coach yelled out, “Lift your elbow.” The ball left the pitcher’s hand, my bat connected, and I ran to first base. One slight adjustment was the difference between striking out and making it on base. Coaching opportunities are a critical part of the success of little league teams and businesses alike. True coaching occurs in the moment. It’s constant conversations that seek to demonstrate support while pushing for peak performance through minor adjustments. Coaching creates an environment where failures are accepted and even welcomed as a part of the innovation process; but, also where you know that someone has your back and truly wants you to succeed.
At Bonaventure, we are working to create a culture of coaching built around little coaching moments just like my little league experience. How can constant conversations about small adjustments help you knock the ball out of the park?
If you follow Bonaventure on social media (and you should), you probably saw a series of interesting videos of our team completing random acts of kindness around Virginia Beach during our annual Leadership Conference. This year’s theme focused on the customer experience - using data and a little of our characteristic quirkiness to create “wow moments” for our clients and customers. Interestingly, however, I found myself having my own wow moments throughout the event.
Years ago, our HR Manager gave me a copy of the book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. Collins masterfully describes what it takes to make the transition from being a good company to being a great company - first by finding and hiring the right people, then by making sure the right people are in the right seats and finally by finding the intersection between your passion, your unique talents and the economic engine of your company. For me, from day one this intersection point has been our people strategy - exceptional people can make exceptional things happen when you create an environment that allows them to do their best work. At this year’s conference we gave everyone a copy of Good to Great and the book’s themes weaved throughout my opening address. Collins and I both agree that when it comes to making the leap from good to great, it’s always “who” before “what” and that was never clearer than sitting in a room with the leaders and future leaders of our company last month. As John Gruber wrote of Steve Jobs upon his death in 2011, “Jobs’ greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.” That’s exactly the wow moment I had as I watched our teams complete 25 random acts of kindness on the last day of the conference. Whether it was giving out street compliments to ten random strangers, calling five residents “just because,” or making one of our their teammates’ day, I knew I was watching the leap in action. Have you found the intersection point between your passion, your unique talents and your economic engine?
In March, our Property Managers, Service Managers, Support Team and Leadership Team will gather for our annual Leadership Conference. This year’s theme takes a deep dive into the customer experience, with a Bonaventure twist.
If you think about the companies who deliver amazing consistent experiences - Ritz Carlton, Chic-Fil-A, Southwest, Apple, ect; it does not happen by accident. It takes tremendous effort and focus. It is certainly no accident that my chicken, egg and cheese biscuit is consistently delivered with a smile (with as many Chic-Fil-A sauce packets as I want!) whether I am at a drive-through exit off 95 or at Miami International on a lay-over. All of these great experiences are the result of continuous interaction of corporate culture, customer service and process refinement. And more recently added to the mix is “Big DATA.” Data helps us gain a deeper understanding of our customers, driving engagement, higher retention and brand loyalty. The multifamily industry has often struggled to create brand loyalty beyond individual communities to the management company as a whole. Bonaventure’s offerings span multiple stages in a customer’s life - from Ramen to rings and beyond. Through integrating our data resources, back-end processes, and customer-facing products and services, we empower our teams to create a unique Bonaventure experience that drives exceptional value throughout a customer’s journey with us. We are excited to bring together the Ritz Carlton Experience, Rainmaker’s LRO revenue management team and a full slate of classes at this year’s conference to improve our one-of-a-kind Bonaventure Experience. What are you doing to bring Big Data to the mix of tools you utilize to deliver amazing customer experiences?
On February 8th and 9th, I attended Dale Carnegie’s Leadership Training alongside our Executive, Regional and Support Teams. Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People was originally published in 1936 and has become one of the most successful books in American history. As I listened to our instructor review the golden rules of Carnegie’s teachings, I was struck by the enduring and universal message that our human relationships are the most critical and foundational components of success. It’s the same foundation upon which I vowed to build my company almost 20 years ago. As I sat in my bathrobe in the spare bedroom of my rented apartment in 1999, I realized that a successful real estate business wasn’t as much about the properties as it was about the people. Today, we are still a people business that just happens to do real estate.
A lot has changed since 1936. Technology is transforming businesses and blurring the boundaries between our various departments, companies and consumers. But, I believe this is exactly the kind of environment that requires an investment in our human relationships. The fast pace of change and the intersection between departments requires us to create an energized workplace that inspires collaboration, creativity and engagement. Dale Carnegie’s teachings are more relevant today than they ever have been. The multifamily industry is ripe for innovation. People, perhaps even the people here at Bonaventure, will be the innovators. How can you invest in human relationships to capitalize on the spirit of innovation?
Bonaventure Realty Tapped To Develop Westphalia Apartments
Arlington’s Bonaventure Realty Group LLC has been tapped to build the first apartment project at Westphalia Town Center, a 478-acre mixed-use project being developed across from Joint Base Andrews in in Prince George’s County. Bonaventure has signed a letter of intent with the project’s master developer, an affiliate of Calgary-based Walton Group of Cos., to build a 250-unit apartment building slated to break ground in early 2018. Bonaventure, whose portfolio includes The Encore in Alexandria and Arbor Grove in Stafford, also has an option to build a second, 150-unit apartment building on the site by Pennsylvania Avenue and Mellwood Road in Upper Marlboro. Edward Fleming, president of Walton Development Management Inc.’s eastern U.S. region, said Bonaventure was selected from between six and 10 prospective multifamily developers given its corporate culture and ability to connect the planned apartments with the larger town center. “They understand how a multifamily product can fit into a larger community, and that’s one of the things that we have to be careful about at Westphalia Town Center,” Fleming said. “It’s got to be something that fits in with the urban-suburban Westphalia.”