The keynote speaker for the GAA conference in San Destin was outstanding. His name is Chris Lee from CEL & Associates and he was an extremely dynamic speaker who took numbers and stats and brought them to life. I have a feeling there will be a few blog posts trying to recap some of his content and my takeaways.
One part of his presentation focused on 10 things that will derail a company in 2011. I want to talk about two of them.
Business as Usual Management Process and Style
You can tell by just the expressions themselves how these could negatively impact our industry and that was Chris’s point. He clearly voiced how important it is to shake things up in our business process. With the challenges that lay ahead of us with this economy we cannot conduct business as usual. So there is our challenge in front of us. Complacency needs to end and some serious shaking up needs to take place. What worked pre-recession is probably not going to work now and for the foreseeable future. One of the points I loved from Ford’s CMO Jim Farley’s interview was that even job positions and titles are changing. The standard marketing and PR positions are no longer acceptable and there is a huge need for crossover between departments and for them to connect better. If a major brand has seen this need and has had major success with these changes, where does that leave multifamily as a whole?
The second point very much intertwines with the first, in my opinion. What Chris was highlighting was the overload of initiatives that companies place on themselves at one time. If every department has X amount of company initiatives that are on their plate but each department needs to connect in order for any one of them to be successful and come to a completion stage, then you wind up in initiative gridlock. His point was clear. Companies need to focus together on one or two items, get them finished and then move on to the next. We do not have time to take an entire year or two in order to accomplish what we know is going to help our business. In trying to visualize this I pictured a conference room of department heads each with their own agenda with the first steps being to create an initiative to focus on the individual departments initiatives so that an initiative can be made to circle back to the departments initiatives and create a pecking order of whose initiatives get done first. (I may need to make a cartoon out of that.)
From what I could gather from Chris’s presentation was the need to cut the red tape and focus as a company on initiatives that will help your company, roll them out, and then move on to the next. Too much time is wasted as a result of initiative gridlock. This goes back to the business as usual point. Corporate America is used to the traditional way of making companies grow but we do not live in traditional times. We do not know what is going to happen from one quarter to the next. Chris spoke about budget season and the time it should take for us to prepare those. His counsel was to be careful how much time you spend on those since we have to reforecast the very next quarter anyway. What do you do to make your budget season easier? I hear stories from both levels. Some I have talked to have stated that they are done already and ready for the beginning of 2011 and others have commented that it is a 3 month long process. If you have any tips to share please do so in the comments section below.
From just those two points in Chris’s presentation, it reaffirmed that we have to change what we are doing. It’s time to take the lead and pave the way. Thanks Chris for such a great presentation and I look forward to sharing some other key takeaways.
Written by Jonathan Saar