Whether you’re flying a plane or dealing with property management, manual processes based on your own way of interpreting a task doesn’t always represent your brand.
Today, I am talking to Jo-Anne Oliveri, founder and managing director of ireviloution. Jo is a leading authority on property management and author of Find Your Property Manager Now. In this episode, she describes how to streamline business operations.
[05:00] Find your passion, and change your life.
[07:05] Crusade for Courage: Understand property management and real estate from investors’ point of view to pursue your dreams.
[08:15] Build business using deliberate methods, not desperate measures.
[10:35] Singing and Standing in Line: Businesses built on foundation of consistent processes and systems decrease frustration and anxiety.
[17:55] Scalability and Serviceability Platform: Streamline business operations by identifying tasks, each with its own timeline and priority plus corresponding tasks.
[21:28] Brand Culture, Business Vision: Brand relationship is greater than individuals.
[22:18] Selecting Process Software: Depends on your business, but needs to work for your budget, growth plans, and how you want to build your business.
[28:37] Streamlining System Components: Processes, resources, and training.
[33:51] Vision for Success: Every business needs to start with a plan.
[34:24] Default vs. Design: Desperate to make changes due to shiny object syndrome.
[35:20] Task Tracker: Require and verify accountability, responsibility, and transparency via consistency, compliance, and completion.
[40:03] Which is worse: Losing a client or team member?
[44:25] Step-by-Step Process: How to get started streamlining business operations.
TweetablesHow can you run a business when no one is doing a job the same way? Click To Tweet Career by Design: Empower owners with courage to take control of their businesses. Click To Tweet Passionate about crusade of creating positive change in property management. Click To Tweet Businesses built on processes create a foundation, not frustration. Click To Tweet
Jo-Anne Oliveri’s Phone: 917-969-4066
Jason: Welcome, DoorGrow hackers to the DoorGrow Show. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow hacker.
DoorGrow hackers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it, you think they’re crazy for not, because you realize that property management is the ultimate high-trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income.
At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, change perception, expand the market, and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. I’m your host, property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show.
Today, I’m hanging out with lovely Jo Oliveri from the ireviloution.
Jo: Hi there.
Jason: Hi, welcome.
Jo: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Jason: Glad to have you. We’re going to get into your background first, but before we do that, I’m going to read your bio here for the audience, for the listeners, so they have a little bit of understanding. The topic we’re going to be talking about is streamlining business operations, is that right?
Jason: Okay. I’m sure everybody here, everyone listening—clients, friends, property managers—they all could use a little bit of streamlining in the business operations. That’s something close to you and to my heart as well. Let me tell me people a little bit about you here. Do you go by Jo or Jo-Anne?
Jason: Okay. Jo is the Founder and Managing Director of ireviloution and PM Leadership Summit Vice-President, First Team Property Management with over 20 years of real estate experience. I don’t know what the CIPS or TRC are. What are those?
Jo: CIPS is a National Association of Realtors designations. It’s Certified International Property Specialist. The TRC is Transnational Referral Certification, the very handy ones we have specially in property management we’re dealing with people from all around the world.
Jason: Okay. Jo is a leading authority on all things property management and an inspiring force within the industry. As Founder and Managing Director of ireviloution and the Property Management Leadership Summit and Vice-President of First Team Property Management based in the USA, she’s an international real estate identity who has trained over 500 agencies, thousands of agency owners, and property managers worldwide. She is seen as a leading authority in all things property management and regularly speaks at the industry’s top Australian and North American conferences.
She’s also author of the real estate books, Find Your Property Manager Now: Hire the Right Agent and Make More Money. As well, she was selected as an Industry Thought Leader of the Year finalist for 2015, 2016, and 2017 Real Estate Business Awards, and is an Industry Influencer for the Elite Agent 2017 Awards.
Jo is a big deal. Jo, welcome to the show again. Tell me, how did you get into this property management stuff? For those who are watching, I’m hanging out in my son’s room. It was the only quiet place today. I’ve got pug posters behind me for those that can’t see. How cool is this kid here?
Jo: All the room.
Jason: Yeah. He likes pugs. Jo, tell everybody, how did you get into this?
Jo: Actually, I came from a business background. We had a family business in grocery stores and convenience stores. We were involved in the 80s down turning businesses. We had very high interest rates, we were paying for our business loan and our home loan, and we lost everything, we have bankrupted. What I discovered is the business I was working in was my husband’s passion, it was not my passion. I wanted to find something I was passionate about.
I’m a mom, I had three small children, and I read this book by Anthony Robbins called Awaken The Giant Within. It’s an excellent book, it changed my life. I did all of the exercises and at the end of that, it was steering me towards real estate. I was a tenant at the time because we’ve lost our property and property management is where I landed.
What was really interesting is because I came from a business background, I ended up getting a job with a company in Perth, Western Australia where I originally come from. I thought, “This is an awesome business.” There were three other property managers and I was asking them, “What do I do?” They’re all telling me different things. I thought, “How do you run a business like this where no one is doing the same job the same way?” They were talking to clients differently, giving different advice. It set me on a path of understanding the business of property management because I saw that there are enormous opportunities to grow a business through property management rather than grow a business through sales.
Hence, I started off on a journey of career by design and I thought, “One day, I want to be able to empower business owners with the courage to take control of their business.” Have a business that represents their vision, their brand, and their personality, but for me to do that, I had to understand everything, not just property management but the business of real estate.
Hence, my journey started and I’ve worked in all areas of real estate with large franchise groups and small boutique agencies, wealth companies to understand how the investor feels. I’ve purposely invested in real estate myself to understand what it’s like from an investor’s point of view. It’s all brought me to this point here today.
Like you, I’m passionate, I’m on a crusade to empower positive change in the property management industry by infusing business leaders with the courage to pursue their dream.
Jason: Love it. It’s very similar to my why or our business why which is the transform property management businesses and their owners. Let’s get in to this. Streamlining business operations. Maybe we should start with why this is important.
Jo: Well, this is very important because if you don’t streamline business operations, you become what I call, a business built on desperate measures instead of deliberate methods. Everything becomes by default, every decision is by default, recruiting new staff is by default, service promises is by default. You start to become another “me too” property management company where we all start to look the same. You lose sight of your vision and your why. You start to offer property management services in the beginning.
When I was learning everything I could about what’s so good about property management business operations and what goes wrong, I started to see that streamlining systems was a major cause of why things go wrong in property management. That actually made me go on a search and discovery tour of other industries. They had systems and processes and it actually brought me here, to where I’m living right now in Orange County, California.
In 2007, I went to the Disney Institute to learn how Disney creates all their processes and streamlines everything that they do and discover why people will spend. If you’re like me and had to travel from Australia to go to Disneyland, you can spend a few tens of thousands of dollars going there taking your family, all the privilege of standing in a line to get on a ride for up to two hours.
I discovered people don’t complain. They actually stand in these lines and they whistle and they talk to each other. Yet people call a property management company and if they’re not responded to within a matter of minutes they become very frustrated. My discovery was it’s because they don’t know the process either.
If a company is built on processes then you know everyone who work within the guidelines of those processes including the clients that you’re dealing with. That becomes a very, very strong foundation in creating success in any property management business. It’s just critical.
If you look at the other businesses or other industries like Starbucks, it’s all built on processes, it’s all built on how do we create maximum efficiency right down to measuring how long does it take for the barista to get the scoop of coffee beans out of the sack and put them into the machine that makes the coffee. If we move the coffee bag 2 inches closer, that’s going to save over a period of time, 100 hours every month. It also reduces the loss of coffee beans spillage.
I started to understand the concept of time efficiency through processes and streamlining with systems and related it all back to how do we do it in property management.
Jason: I love it. I love the idea. I mean, essentially what you’re saying is that processes just like the example you give with lines of Disney which I don’t want to stand in those, by the way, but it disarms people by them knowing that there’s process and I think it creates some safety for them.
They really have two choices at that point is to choose into the process that exists or not. But if a process isn’t there then what naturally ends up happening is people try to implement or push their own agenda or their own process onto the property manager. “Hey I need this done by here. I need this done at this time. I need them to show up now or this time.” They’ll try to push their agenda and process onto the property manager because there isn’t a clear one for them to see.
Jo: Exactly. Hence, the business starts to become a very reactive thing. You will hear the shock horror stories where a property manager says, “We just lost an owner. They terminated their management with us.” We thought they’re really happy because we never hear from them. You never hear from them and you never had that contact with them. They’re thinking like, “What are they doing? Where’s the value that I pay?” So, whatever you do it’s got to be consistent across every client.
Again, I’ll relate this back to Disney where the people who run the rides, I mean a lot of them are just young kids, they’re college kids, and they don’t start to get reactive when they can see that the line is two, three, four hours long on Independence Day for the Incredibles ride last year. Everyone stood in a hot sun for four hours. Their Disney cast, as they call them, they just did their job and kept smiling, just pushing the people through and offering alternatives with single rider and things like that. We can learn a lot from Disney.
Jason: I like the idea of what you were saying about just making sure that the process is visible. Something I noticed that you spark the memory. In the past, I had jobs working in IT. When you work in IT at a company, it doesn’t matter how good of a job you do. You still are the lowest person on the totem pole when it comes to there being an emergency.
If there’s a problem with the server, something goes down in the middle of the night you’re on call, it doesn’t matter if you’re like one of the top executives in the business or you paint really well. If you do everything perfect, nobody would notice and never going to say, “Why do I even pay you?” If there’s a problem, they notice and then, they would say, “Why do we even pay you?”
I’m a little bit smart, just a little bit. What I realize is if I was just noisy about what I was doing, my bosses or my superiors would now see that I was doing stuff. I’m like, “Hey, I just upgraded this. Hey, I just took care of this. Hey, there hasn’t been any problems with this because I did this.” I just started being noisy about the things that I was doing.
I worked at HP for a while as well and I had a boss in Texas while I was in Boise. It was the same thing. He was like, “What are you guys doing? Are you doing this?” He would ask each person on my team, “Is the other one doing their job?”
I just started updating my instant messenger status with what I was working on just so he could see, to reduce that anxiety that he had that we weren’t doing anything. Then, he started thinking, “I was the only one on the team doing stuff.” So, I think maybe there’s the little secret and what you’d mentioned that the property managers need to be a little bit more visible in what they’re doing to maintain these properties in letting people know that, “Hey, we did something here,” and keeping the owners informed so that they go, “Okay. That’s why I pay you.”
Jo: Exactly. It’s like evidence defeats doubt and you got to share the value to the clients and remind them, “Hey, over the past year, we’ve managed to increase your rent by 10% and it’s 5% above the average in the area. This means […] your asset value has increased this much. Now, we’re here to help you to maximize returns and optimize growth. This is what we’ve done so far with you. What are your goals for the future? Perhaps you might consider buying another property because you’ve built equity in this property and you’ve built income in this property.”
It’s about planting the seeds of thought in your clients mind and always having that connection. Property management can be as frustrating for the rental property owners as it is for property managers but it need not be. It all comes down to your systems. When you’ve got systems, it then articulates your value and worth, and your service promise as well to the clients.
Jason: We’re talking about streamlining business operations, we’re talking about implementing systems, making sure there’s processes. How would you how would you define streamlining business operations? What really is it? It sounds like a nebulous, all-encompassing sort of thing, I think.
Jo: It truly is. You’re quite correct. A lot of people don’t understand how do I streamline my processes. I’ve got different systems for this and different systems for that. We do a lot of I’m diagnostic reporting on business operations to see where things might be falling through the cracks or things are not working together. The thing with property management is we have a multitude of things going on at any given time. Every task that we do has its own timeline and has its own priority. For every task that we do, it has a plethora of tasks involved within that one task and it could have several team members involved in that one task as well.
For instance, if we’re bringing on a new management, then there is a lot of admin work involved in that. When we bring on a new management, that then moves on to leasing that property, finding a tenant for that property, and it’s not always the same person involved. What you need is a business that’s built on a platform of scalability and a business that’s built on a platform of serviceability so that we can always service the client, scale our business growth. To do that means that we need to make sure we’re streamlining systems.
Streamlining systems in property management is about identifying every task that we do in property management and almost seeing your business like it’s a series of all these cogs that all work together. Those cogs need […] or turn in perfect sync so that we’re just moving on to the next task, next team member that needs to be done. There is nothing that creates what they call “the bushfire is starting” because something has fallen through the cracks or something as you know stopped another process from being completed.
Creating systems, to me, is something that needs to be engineered. You can’t look at one system and say, “We’re going to do this for onboarding new management.” We’re going to use this other system for looking after the property once we’ve got it occupied and things like that. All of those systems all have to work as one.
The only way to do this is to engineer, to architectural design how your systems work together so that as your business grows and you bring in new team members or new roles, you can seamlessly move one task to a new role and know that it’s not going to fall through the cracks, or know that you don’t have a team member who says,” I got this relationship with the client. I’ll just do it all and whilst they’re focusing on that, other things are falling through the cracks.
Like a good point there is, whenever you’ve got team members who say, “I’ve got a relationship with the client.” You’ve got a problem because the relationship is with your brand. Your team represent your brand and your vision. If you’ve infused your team with your brand culture, personality, promise and standards, then all the team are representing exactly what your vision is for your business.
Jason: I love that. The brand relationship is greater than the people, individual person relationship that should be in the company and everybody should have that mindset on your team.
You mentioned a lot about platform, systems, scalability. I know a lot of property managers out there are a little bit more nerdy than the average real estate person. They’re listening to this and they’re thinking, “What system should I be using? What is the ultimate software for doing all these processes and systemized in my business.” Do you have a favorite?
Jo: In my role, I do get to look at a lot of different software. I do due diligence. I think my best answer to that is it depends on your business. And it truly does. When you look at software, it’s got to work for you. It’s got to work for, (1) your budget, (2) your growth plans, and (3) how you got to build your business and what you want that software to represent about your business.
Currently, the company that I’m working for here in California is using rent manager and that’s been very good. For us, we’ve got over 30 branches spread out from South LA to San Diego. That’s a huge area that we cover and our home office is in the middle, it’s somewhere in the middle, in Orange County. Through that, we’ve been able to customize that software so it suits our scalability and the way we service our clients and our agents. We’ve got over 3000 agents in first team, so we want to make sure that we have a way of measuring the referrals that our agents come in and keeping them connected to that client.
Rent manager works for this company. If there’s other great ones like […]. It’s very, very good. That started out small- to medium-businesses and I think it fits really well in that marketplace, but I know that they’ve been doing a lot of work on how can they build a platform that is useful for bigger businesses as well .
And then, of course, there’s appFolio and there’s a lot of popular ones out there. I encourage people, when they’re choosing software, choose software based on a due diligence that they do in accordance with what they’re looking for in the software. The other thing to remember with software is it’s not your system. Your software is the platform if you like that you store all your data and generate your reports. Your system is your manual operations.
A great analogy are pilots because pilots have these massive computer systems that fly the planes, but pilots have to go through a manual process of check-listing that everything is working, that three people agree that everything is working before that plane will take off. There is a manual process to flying a plane and property management is the same. It’s these manual processes where a lot of companies are going wrong because everyone is doing it their own way, that they interpret a task, and it doesn’t represent the brand.
Jason: Right. This is a problem with processes. For those listening, I’m a big fan of the software process tree. It allows you to have a process system that is outside of whatever accounting or back office you’re using free property management company and you can really dial in. For those listening, check out the previous episode that I did with Process Street. I think you’d be really interested in hearing that.
I think the challenge with most process systems or systems out there where they have some process documentation in the business is that once a team member has read the process document and they’ve done it a couple times, they think they know it. It’s in their head. They’re not going to go back and check it. They’re not checking against the process if the process gets documented, gets updated, or the process gets changed, or that person makes changes to the process, they’re probably not updating that.
There’s always this gap between what the process is and what’s documented, if it even is at all. Think about all of us that drive cars. We don’t check the manual for the car or read the DMV booklet on how to drive the car, all the rules of driving every time we get into the car. The first time, we probably checked every mirror and made sure everything was okay, but now we just drive it it’s like an extension of our body. That’s how team members feel. They may simplify things, they make short-cut, they may cut things out, they may forget about things, they maybe weren’t onboarded properly, they weren’t trained properly. I’m a big fan of having a process that they have to use each time where they have to check something off. There’s some manual input that says I did this and I followed these steps.
Jo: Exactly. I totally agree. I was at a conference where one of the doctors from one of the busiest hospitals in Australia—he works in the emergency section—said, regardless of the level of emergency, they still have to follow a checklist where everything is ticked off. That’s where we’re going wrong in property management is because property managers keep it in their head and they make a slight change to a process which has sometimes devastating results to the overall business.
My own company, ireviloution, we’ve designed those manual processes which are architecturally designed, but every manual process you have, you’ve got to have a way of measuring so you’ve also got your management leadership that locks into that, so that we know that we’re being efficient and compliant, consistent and complete everything that we’re doing.
To me, when you have a system, there’s three different components when it comes to streamlining. One is your processes. You’ve identified what all the processes are for every task that we do in property management that then we’d lock in and we can measure the efficiency, effectiveness, profitability, performance, productivity, everything shows that process. Then, what locks into that is your resources.
Jason: This is number two?
Jo: Yes. P plus R resources is that resources have to be designed. If there is a tweak in those resources, which we find a lot of property managers say, “But I want to put this step in,” that step might be somewhere else in the process. By tweaking it, it can actually break something down.
The third step which is really, really critical is T, P plus R plus T, equals training. Your training is a vital importance and what we discovered in property management is to become a property manager, we’re really learning theory—the theory of property management. If you look at doctors to go through university and college for seven years learning how to be a doctor, it’s still all theory. Once they’ve graduated they’ve got to go into the learning hospitals to learn the practice of being a doctor, the practice of what happens when a patient does present themselves with an emergency or with some kind of condition. It’s ongoing training for them.
The training that we have in property management needs to be something where if you’re putting your team through training, it’s got to be consistent as well. If they’re going off to all these different training courses, then they’re not learning the process and the resource. So, there’s a breakdown. All three elements of the P plus R plus T are critical in streamlining business operations.
Jason: Alright. I’m gonna recap this. So, you’re saying everyone gets that they need processes and it’s helpful to make sure that the processes are very well-defined and people know how long it’s going to take. Explained resources because I think that’s a little bit less clear. What is a resource?
Jo: Resources are your paper documents. When we put information into software, there’s still a way that we gather that information or the data that is then put into the software to make sure that we’ve got all the information we need. I call it your intel and your insight into everything that we do.
The resources are just like what I mentioned before with the emergency doctors or the pilots where their resources are checklist. Then, your resources are also the way that the business owner can measure productivity, performance. it’s how they measure, monitor, and manage what’s going on.
So, resources are things like one checklist to the different forms that you use for some legal forms and some just best practice forms like getting a tenant to sign a disclaimer that they know that they’re not allowed to disconnect smoke detectors for instance. We know that we didn’t just tell them, we actually got them to sign a form and they understand the consequences in different forms. Your productivity trackers are manual forms so we can measure productivity against what’s going into your software. So, that’s all your resources.
The resources that we’ve developed, we’ve got over 500 resources there and that’s the enormity of the resources that you need to manage your property management business depending on the size, of course, and team structure.
The training speaks for itself.
Jason: Yeah. You need to make sure that they’re actually leveraging these things and they understand. I like what you said. There needs to be consistency because a lot of people just want to send the team off to these property management conferences and they come back with a whole different set of ideas, “Well, this company’s doing this.”
I had one client that didn’t even talk to me but came back and said, “I decided to change my whole structure from departmental to another structure.” He was changing his entire company and then everything fell apart. I was like, “How did you know that that was right for you?” He’s like, “Well, all the cool people are doing it,” was basically the answer. All the cool people were changing their whole business and I said, “Your business was working and now, it’s not.”
Jo: Yeah. You hear that a lot and that’s why I think that they haven’t got a plan to start off with. Every business has to be built upon a plan. It’s not a financial plan, it’s an operational business plan. So, what they’ve done is they’ve created their vision for success and they’ve mapped it out. It’s like creating the way that you’re going to get from LA to Brisbane in Australia. You’ve got a plan, you’ve got a timeline, you’ve got a budget, you’ve got all of that. But you know, a lot of them become very reactionary, their business becomes default instead of design, and that’s where they start to be desperate. It’s like, “Oh, this is not working. Let’s change something else.” They lose the deliberation around their business because they don’t have a plan in the first place. A killer of business growth is when you keep changing what you’re doing because someone else is doing it.
Jason: Shiny object syndrome.
Jo: Exactly. That’s right. That’s a term we use a lot because business owners are like, “Oh, if that’s happening over there, let’s try that.” That’s why we all become clones of each other. When you talk to consumers, the people that we serve, they all see us as the same. So, very important.
Jason: Okay. So, you have processes resources training and I think anytime there’s a process, somebody needs to be responsible for it, there needs to be clear accountability, there needs to be process documentation and there needs to be a clear definition of done, like how this does this need to be done? How can we verify that it’s done? There needs to be accountability. There needs to be some transparency there as well like some scoreboard or some way to know that they’ve won, or completed, or finished, and there needs to be that accountability or responsibility. If we have all these things in place, then is that everything that they need?
Jo: Yes and no because the other thing is that the business leader or if they appoint someone to manage that business, they got to keep their finger on the pulse because accountability is just king when it comes to property management. One of the problems I have in property management is they’re not profitable. They’ve got property managers who keep saying, “I’m so busy, I can’t get this done. I need someone else.” And because they don’t have the data and the statistics about how long it takes to do a job because they’re not using processes and resources, then they start to react to that team member saying, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m too busy, I’m stressed out, I’m going to leave.” I know you can’t leave because if you leave I’m going to lose all my clients. Well, comes back to there’s no point in having processes and resources if you don’t have accountability.
That’s what I was mentioning before, you’ve got to be able to manage it so you’ve got to have the ability to say, “We know exactly what’s going on with the business. We know when we’ve got peaks and when there’s pressure on the team because of those peaks. We also know when we need to bring in new resources in terms of new team and what that role will be and what we’re prepared to pay and offer that new team member.” For every task that we do, the objective is to be consistent, to be compliant and to complete within the timeline and priority of that task and then to be able to measure how many tasks a property manager is doing daily, weekly, monthly. The only way you do that is with the business resources.
We’ve got something that we call a task tracker so we can measure many things with that. One thing is the number of tasks our property manager is doing weekly, monthly. The other thing is every number tells a story. You can see that if we’ve done this then this should generate a job new tasks over here. What’s that done? Do the numbers all add up? Are we doing that? We start to then create that historical data about our business so that we know we’ve got peak times, we’ve got risk associated with this time of the year with our business. The business leader has what we call finger on the pulse. They can make those decisions, added deliberation not desperation.
Jason: I think one of the things that’s really helpful in tracking just about anything that you care about in the business, whatever it might be, the one thing that’s super helpful is just it gives you context. Even just having two data points like we did this much this last month and we did this much this month, you can tell if it’s gone up or down and that allows you to understand where you keep your finger on the pulse, as you say, or to have an idea of whether these things are improving or getting worse, or whether business is changing.
Property management certainly ebbs and flows during certain times of the year. It helps you to see, “Okay, these are the trends that we see during the summer when kids are getting out of school and these are the trends that we’re seeing through the winter months when things have cooled down.” It gives them some context and that allows them to plan and prepare for the future and understand, “All right. We’re ahead of where we were last year or we’re behind. We should be concerned like we can make changes, let’s make adjustments.” It allows you to feel safer as an entrepreneur, it lowers your pressure and noise it makes you less reactive. I’m sure there’s other benefits to come from that.
Jo: Exactly. Well, it takes away what we said at the start up is that they fear losing a client more than they feel losing a team member because they’ve got control of their business. If their team member is not performing then, they know how to manage them to perform better. Sometimes, team members do have a use by date and it might be good to let them go but let them go with respect and honor rather than like, “Oh my gosh. I’m losing them in a one lose business.” We should never, ever have that fear about our business. Our business is about us, it’s about our vision.
Jason: Right. So, team members may have an expiration date.
Jo: I think some of them do.
Jason: Fair enough, probably true. So, wouldn’t be great if they just had that stamp on their forehead when they came to us at the beginning? Then we would know.We can keep their replacements ready, we’d get everything documented really clearly but that’s the nice thing about having things documented.
My assistant that I just had just recently took another job, but we had everything documented I wasn’t freaking out like in the past I might have been freaking out. Losing a team member that was critical to operations would be really a big deal but we’ve got things documented. There’s this safety that comes with having things documented and if it’s documented well enough, that’s the question you ask yourself, those listening, “Do you feel like if any certain member of your team left that you have you have their knowledge documented so that the next person could step into that without having to be trained by them directly?” If you don’t, then that’s where business owners have a lot of fear. They have a lot of fear in that, “Oh no, if I lost this person, it would be so detrimental.”
Here’s the thing I’ve noticed anytime somebody said, “Oh, it would be the worst thing ever if I lost this one team or if I lost Susy or whoever this person might be in my whole business. It would be terrible, it would be the worst thing ever.” That’s like the best person for them to lose. I notice every time it’s because they don’t understand what that person is doing, that person is usually doing a lot of things that maybe are redundant or unnecessary or not done the way you have them done. When they do leave, you have to step in, you have to figure these things out. You realize, “Why were they doing it that way?” Because we didn’t have that transparency into what was really going on. We weren’t able to manage it, we weren’t able to help improve it and it wasn’t very effective in a lot of situations.
I had one assistant that I had for like three years and I thought, “Oh, if I lost her it would be the worst thing ever.” Really, when I lost that person, it was one of the best things that happened to our business. We changed so many things, I realize a lot of things could be done more efficiently and it’s never as bad as our brains make it out to be.
Jo: You’re absolutely right. Property managers love to be loved, but we need to change that thinking because we want people to love the brand and respect the team that represent the branch. Out of respect comes love. Property managers need to let go and know that clients will respect them if they’re delivering on the service promises and results. They’ll feel good about themselves. I think every owner needs to work their business as if when a team member leaves, this is what happens.
Everything that we’ve got in our business is all built upon generic names. It’s not a person’s name. It’s not a person’s phone number. Everything is associated with a role, so I move the team around within the roles and to the client, it’s seamless. It’s still first team servicing them.
Jason: Right. It’s maintenance, it’s not Fred.
Jo: Exactly. The team has that personality. They’re friendly, they want to help the clients.
Jason: Yeah, love it. Cool. So, we’ve talked about the who, the what, the why. So, how do people get started with streamlining their business operations? Maybe we could just dig into the actual process of getting their processes and their resources and their training all dialed in.
Jo: Yeah. That’s a really good question, Jason. The thing is when you’re implementing processes, there’s a whole process around them as well. What you want to do is you want to get everyone engaged in it. You need to get your team engaged, you need to get your clients engaged so they understand what’s going on as well. You need to create a step-by-step process of, at this step, we’re going to implement this new process and we’ll introduce that to the clients because there might be new policy around that as well. Articulate and communicate that to the clients.
They get to buy in with what we’re doing and they’ve got the opportunity to voice any concerns or misunderstandings. The best thing is, know that when you are implementing new processes, then you have to muddy the waters for a bit. You’re going to find all these things that start rising to the surface moving up like, “What’s going on here? I’ve got team that are unhappy. I’m losing team.” Normally, that will happen because you haven’t started with the process. So, muddy the waters and have a look at what you need to do first.
It could be restructuring the team to start off with. It could be redefining, and reassigning, and realigning roles, but whatever the step is, you need to look at it like a building lego blocks, one by one by one. This one means that this is going to happen. Once that happens, then this next step is going to happen. My best advice is don’t do it all at once, have a plan of implementation, a plan of communication as well, and a plan of education. It really is a step-by-step process.
Jason: Yeah, I think when we’re leading a team, when we’re leading a company, our job really is to inspire everybody to be excited about what we’re going to be doing rather than control them. I like to say, whenever we failed to inspire, we always control by default.
If you can inspire your team and get them excited, “Hey, we’re going to be doing this. Here’s why, here’s how this will benefit you, here’s how this will benefit the business. Everything will be better off,” and you can get them on board and get them in alignment, then they will help you do it. But if you are trying to control them and force them and say, “Hey, we’re going to be doing this,” you’re going to churn some people. You’re going to lose some people Especially if you’re making changes and they’re used to doing things being done a certain way, that shakes them up and makes them feel insecure, makes them feel uncomfortable. You start documenting their processes and, “Why we didn’t document these before?” They’re going to thinking, “Is my job okay? Why are you having me to document this now? I’m doing a good job, aren’t I?” We need to really be careful and inspire our team members to take care of these things and help us.
I think, as entrepreneurs, we also try to shoulder everything on our own a lot of times. Our team members are the ones that are doing these processes. A lot of times they know it better than us and that they should be the ones helping us do it. We have the insight to be able to look at those ones they’re documented and help them figure out, “Hey, maybe we can improve this. We can make this better. Let’s see if we can make this easier for you and make this faster for you. Or what would help you move this forward quicker?”
Jo: Exactly. One of the things I learned at Disney is Disney has a wonderful way like everyone who works at Disney wants to be there. If Disney makes changes, they have a lovely way of making sure that the cast are all on board and involved. The way that they do that is they have this program where they all sit around, it’s like brainstorming to a degree but everyone has a say and they build on what they’re saying. It’s never like that’s not going to work, it’s like yes and they build on that idea. They bring it around to something that is a way that the business leader can drive their business in a way that they want to. The team all have that understanding.
When we go in and we work with businesses, we talk about infusing the team not just like, “This is what we’re doing.” It’s like if you actually infuse them with the vision and how it’s all going to be for everyone, then they will have that encouragement and that willingness to like, “I want to be a part of this.” And that’s what you want for the team. And your clients, too.
Jason: Yeah. Ultimately, we have two types of people in our team. We either have believers or we have hiders. The hiders are just there to get a paycheck, probably do as little as possible and complain about us on the weekends.
The believers, we get their discretionary time. They’re thinking about us after hours, they’re thinking about their job, they want to be better, they want to improve and they’re looking for solutions. It’s a very different mindset. But they can’t be a believer unless they have something to believe in and you’re relating that to them. So, we have to give them the chance to be able to believe in us.
Jo: Yeah. It’s so true. You’re talking before when we mentioned about the use by date. Sometimes, we can have insight into that as well because when we bring on our new recruits and then we do our monthly 1on1s with them or however often you do it, that’s a way to gain insight into what they’re thinking what they’re short and long-term dreams are.
You will know that at some point, your company might not be able to offer them the future that they’re seeking. You don’t have the next role for them in their career. That’s okay because while they’ve been with your company, they’ve helped you to grow your company and you’re still in control of your company if you’ve got all of the systems and processes, that person will go off still having respect for your company and you have respect for them. That’s the way I would love it to be in the industry if we all understand it’s okay to say bye-bye to team for the right reasons.
Jason: Right. Any relationship can be ended amicably.
Jason: Any relationship. I mean life’s all about relationships and relationships can be ended poorly and very negatively and it can cause a lot of drama or they can be ended amicably. We should always look for that route first. That’s the best
Jo, is there anything else that our listeners should hear or should know about streamlining business operations before we wrap this up?
Jo: I think, Jason, we just encourage them to not go it alone because creating a process and then the resources around it, it does take a lot of work. It’s like engineering mindset and I see a lot of property management business owners make the mistake of letting their property managers do it. They say, “You bring in the systems and you create the systems.” They can’t do that. They’re employing that person to look after their clients and bring in new clients. Whilst they’re doing something that they’re not entirely skilled to do, then it’s impacting the business and quite often there is no goal and you’ll say, “Well, where are the systems they created?”
I say invest in systems, invest in people that really know what they’re doing when it comes to designing systems because all system should be customized to […] their business is well. When you implement, do it in stages, do it in a process so everyone feels good about the changes that have been made.
Jason: Jo, how can people get in touch with you if they’re wanting some help on their systems and on some of the things we talked about?
Jo: Well, thank you. They can email and I’ll spell this out because I’ve got a very confusing business name, but as I was explaining to Jason before, my business name, ireviloution, is my surname backwards, Oliveri. I always said I’d create a revolution in the industry, so it kind of went together. So, my email is email@example.com or you can call my cell here in the US. I’m living in California so Pacific time and it’s (917) 969-4066 or even look me up on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Jason: Perfect. Alright, cool. Well, Jo, it’s been fun connecting with you. I think we share a lot of alignment and I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.
Jo: Definitely, as I do look forward to watching you. I love what you’re doing.
Jason: Thank you, I appreciate it. All right, we’ll let you go.
Jo: Thanks, Jason. Bye.
Jason: If you are property management entrepreneur that wants to have doors and make a difference as we talked about in the intro, please reach out to DoorGrow. We would love to help and see if we can help you grow your company and be sure to check out Jo, really cool stuff that she was talking about today. I hope you got a lot of value from this episode and until next time to our mutual growth. Bye, everyone.
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