rocket science

I invest in apartments and I own a community management company. On some levels, it is a pretty simple, common sense job. You show apartments, you respond to your Residents, you collect rent, and pay bills. It doesn’t take a college degree; I can teach it to anyone with a basic IQ who wants to learn. I’ve often said it isn’t rocket science.

Then it hit me the other day: It may not be rocket science from an IQ perspective; but to do it well, it is rocket science from the EQ (Emotional Intelligence) perspective. You have to have an excellent EQ. You don’t just show apartments, you need sell them and yourself and the entire community and support staff. You don’t just respond to your Residents, you create rapport with them and do your best to anticipate their needs. You don’t just collect rent and pay bills, you are running a small business with a micro profit and loss statement. You are in charge of the homes of hundreds of souls, responsible for the care and upkeep of a $20 or $30 Million dollar capital facility.

The good news is most of this is still pretty basic on the IQ level BUT it does require a TREMENDOUS amount of BOTH kinds of EQ. Remember, EQ is both external (how well you understand and can relate to and deal with others) and internal (self-awareness, motivation, self-control etc.). External EQ means a good community team member understands and responds to Customers’ wants and desires, can calmly deal with difficult people, confidently and unapologetically explain and enforce quality of life rules, collect rent like a polite bulldog, remember names, and have a smile that could substitute for sunshine.

Internal EQ means coming to work every day full of vim, vigor and vitality, motivated to give their best and bursting with curiosity to actively learn, to grow and expand their circle of influence. An active commitment to learning means proactively and continually asking questions, learning all you can about the disciplines and trades that surround and support your community. I’ve got a Building Contractor’s license; 80% of what I learned to pass the exam was by asking extensive questions of every vendor, plumber, electrician, roofer, carpenter, contractor, etc. that came on site: “What are you doing and why? What are the alternatives? Why this way?” 

There are always new levels of complexity to be learned of any task; and if you feel you’ve mastered your task, full mastery means you understand how your position interacts and relates to the task of those around, below, and above you; never ending treasure chests of opportunity for exploration and learning. In retrospect, I may have done some folks a disservice by saying it’s not rocket science in that I may have underestimated the degree of dedication and commitment (both EQ talents!) required to master the position.

However, the joy and beauty of EQ is that, unlike IQ which is largely set at birth and in the first few years, your EQ is yours to expand, raise, and grow, and the benefits are 24/7, equally positively impacting both your professional and personal lives.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier