rubber.jpgI spent about 5 hours Saturday and about the same Sunday driving various Collier Companies properties. I hit 10 on each day. At each apartment community I stop at the clubhouse and talk to the leasing specialists. If the leasing office is busy, it is just a hello. If it is slow, I love to sit down and talk.

In many respects, no one knows the properties better than the leasing specialists because they are our primary contact with our Customers. Leasing specialists are the first people prospective Residents meet, the person who shows them their new home, the person who answers all their questions. Leasing specialists have more impact on our Customers’ perception of who we are than anything else.

Since we are 80 percent university housing, many of our leasing specialists are students. I enjoy hearing about their majors, their backgrounds, their plans, ambitions, and dreams.

I have a few favorite questions:

“What would make our Residents happier?”

“How could we take better care of you?” (Happy Team Members = Happy Customers!)

“How could we have done a better job training you?”

“What 3 things does the community need?”

“What do I need to know that I don’t know?”

“What do I need to hear that I’m not hearing?”

And my all-time favorite:

“If you owned the community, what would you do differently?”

In order to encourage people to open up, I try to phrase open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no.

I have always believed you cannot lead an enterprise from an office. It is vital to get out to whatever is your equivalent of the factory floor and talk to your front-line people. They have a unique and special perspective on your business that you need to hear.