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.”
Nova Firm To Expand Henrico Apartments
A ’60s-era Henrico apartment complex has the go-ahead for expansion. Arlington-based Bonaventure Realty Group received approval from Henrico supervisors Tuesday to add two buildings totaling 267 units to its 55-and-up Carriage Hill apartments, along Glenside Drive west of Staples Mill Road. The expansion will add more senior living facilities to the 47-acre complex, which straddles both sides of Glenside Drive and totals 664 apartments, most of which were built in 1967. The two new four-story buildings will include elevators and improved accessibility over Carriage Hill’s current two- and three-story buildings, said Bill Axselle of Williams Mullen, who represented Bonaventure in its rezoning case. Amenities also will include limited medical assistance and meal service.
Bonaventure Seeking 1031 Exchange Opportunities
Bonaventure is selling multiple assets and has numerous 1031 needs under the following criteria: Property Type: Multifamily (200+ units) or Zoned Multifamily Development Site (density 200+ units); Characteristics: Underperforming/Value-Add Asset; Off-Market Opportunities; Location: Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina).
For me, business cards are the physical embodiment of opportunity. Whether it’s the start of a new business partnership or part of a networking event, many great business relationships begin with the exchange of a business card. That’s why the best business cards are a pocket-sized snapshot of who you are as a company.
Every business card at Bonaventure introduces our company with a single phrase - “Empowered partnerships begin with the right Wingman.” The concept of the “Wingman” has long defined the relationship we have with our business partners, but, over the last few months we have focused on what it means to be a good Wingman to our most important partners - our employees. Great companies know that “I’ve got your back” is always more effective than “I Gotcha!” In fact, Facebook has a poster on its wall that reads “Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.” The same is true at Bonaventure. If something’s broken, we, as a team, commit to fixing it.
This year, we have made some exciting changes within our company - changes that will allow us to empower the partnerships we have with our teams, our investors and our business partners. It’s our Wingman commitment for 2017. What’s your Wingman commitment for the New Year?