Student Housing Business

JAN-FEB 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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Page 86 of 88

WHAT'S ON MY MIND January/February 2018 86 It's About Execution Execution is a special and distinct skill that involves clear communication of the strategy, adequate resources and highly productive team members and teams. By Mark Baumgarten A At the end of each year, we — as manag- ers — look back at how our execution fared versus our strategic targets. During this time, we extract forward-looking lessons for the next cycle and target specific processes for improvement. Year-end is also a time to conduct tradi- tional employee reviews and provide feed- back to team members on the prior year's performance as it relates to goals. The review process affords us an opportunity to recognize accomplishments, while also giving honest feedback and identifying areas for develop- ment. On the heels of annual reviews, com- panies often set goals for the upcoming year which are then cascaded to all team members. It is the transparent communication of these realistic yet ambitious goals which focuses our teams on future success. As Trinitas embarks on launching four new developments in 2018, the property manage- ment team is focused on building four new, rock star teams. As we assemble these teams, we reiterate to our leaders the importance of selecting the right people at the outset. Team building is the first step to the successful execution of our strategy in each new market. As business leaders, we must be fully com- mitted to the people process. What does this look like? Committing adequate time to hir- ing, training, evaluating, developing and advancing our number one resource — our people. We must identify the kind of people we are seeking and then place those people in the right jobs. Once the team is in place it is our responsibility as leaders to provide each member with a clear understanding of our processes, procedures, and overall strategy. A successful team will maximize the talents of each individual member; however, the power of teamwork comes from the group's collec- tive focus on a common goal. Investing in the development of our teams is another important attribute of a high-func- tioning organization on track to execute their strategy. Onboarding teams with suitable time for training, practice and coaching is vital to building the knowledge and skills neces- sary for success. Providing the right tools and training on how to use them is key. Just as a professional pilot regularly hones his craft in a flight simulator, we must provide education through various forms of testing to ensure everyone is adequately prepared. And while preparation leads to the successful opening of a leasing office, regular coaching and guid- ance sustain that success. Continuous team training also provides an environment for positive attitudes and strong work ethics to flourish and helps to create an environment where the "one-plus-one-equals-three" effect can emerge. When team members hold each other accountable for achieving common goals, the likelihood of success will increase. The syn- ergy that this creates often propels the col- lective team to overcome obstacles, which will undoubtedly surface. A team's success is elevated through regular feedback through- out the year, not just during the annual review process. Holding people accountable and rec- ognizing the achievement of milestones along the way are critical components to the suc- cessful execution of the company's strategy. Celebrating first downs along the way to scor- ing a touchdown is acceptable, so why not do the same thing with our teams throughout the year? Another key component to successful exe- cution revolves around each individual team member's behavior. It is important to ask if each member is operating with integrity. Has he or she internalized their goals? Is each member of the team encouraging others and receiving regular feedback, and is innova- tion within the guidelines of existing policies being encouraged? It is vital to build an organization where a culture of execution is a core principle. When this happens, seemingly basic manage- rial steps provide our number one resource — our people — with the right environment to execute strategy. If you're fortunate enough to be a part of this process, ask yourself these anecdotal questions: Is the basketball play, as drawn by the coach, leading to a basket? Does the pro forma look great in the spreadsheet? And is the scene, as written in the script, mak- ing you cry? When we allow our people to embrace the challenges set forth, do things the right way and bring their best forward, we create a framework on which strategy can be successfully executed. We must remember that it is our people who are executing and turning what is on paper into reality. For me, the end of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on how we did as a team and determine how we might improve. But moreover, with each year that passes, I gain a greater appre- ciation of "team" and how together everyone truly can achieve more. Mark Baumgarten is executive vice president of operations with Trinitas. MARK BAUMGARTEN EVP, Operations, Trinitas " A successful team will maximize the talents of each individual member; however, the power of teamwork comes from the group's collective focus on a common goal.

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