Business is Personal

In The Godfather (1972), Michael Corleone infamously says, “It’s nothing personal, Sonny – It’s strictly business” when referring to the shooting of a colleague’s father. Far be it from me to tangle with a mob family, but given a chance, I’d like to say, “You’re (dead) wrong.”

When team members come to work, either to the physical business center or through virtual/digital systems, they bring their whole selves with them. There is no imaginary coat hook by the door where real-life problems are parked until the end of the business day, only to be picked up and loaded on again before going home.

Businesses serve these whole humans. This truth has been magnified over the last year as employees’ personal and professional lives merged (and often cracked) under the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic. The disruption of work-life balance, loss of workplace camaraderie, and lack of shared in-person experiences left many workers feeling disconnected from the business. Working parents experienced the additional burdens of juggling remote learning and feelings of constant guilt about not meeting the needs of either family or job.

As pandemic-related restrictions begin to wane and our lives return to some new form of normalcy, businesses need to be thoughtful about the path forward. Organizations must actively remove barriers to healthy, creative, mindful work, including physical, psychological, and cultural obstacles.

It is critically essential to engage with employees and invite candid conversation intentionally. Leaders must develop an ear for what is not being said as much as what is, and make it safe for employees to share pain points, then develop strategies to address these needs. Companies should prioritize mental health and consider schedules that adapt to meet the evolving needs of their employees.

Companies that invest in the actual overall wellbeing of their workforce have better outcomes and higher retention. Team members feel the difference when the business views them wholistically. The true value is achieved when the ‘H + R’ of Human Resources provides powerful resources in service of the whole humans that make up an organization’s workforce.

Ultimately, it’s always about the people

In multifamily property operations, fewer people have more physically demanding jobs than our maintenance team members. Working on air conditioners in scorching heat and dealing with plumbing malfunctions are among the urgent and disagreeable tasks that service teams deal with regularly. Top it off with the high emotions of affected residents for good measure.

If the job at hand is objectively unpleasant, why do we find time and again maintenance team members who are enthusiastic brand ambassadors?

Human-centric culture

A company with a genuinely human-centric strategy seeks to serve the people who serve the business such that all team members can have meaningful and rewarding lives. Human-centricity within a business incorporates characteristics like empathy, fairness, reciprocity, kindness, and compassion as core components of its culture. Human-centricity at work sets the stage upon which employees can identify areas of interest, apply and expand their talents, and experience a sense of fulfillment for their contributions.

A company’s culture is its DNA. Culture establishes a common language that determines team member experience within an organization. Entire countries, religions, and generations are grounded in shared beliefs, values, and practices. I would go so far as to say that a company’s culture is the most critical factor in determining its long-term success.

Businesses have a responsibility to design authentic choices that empower people to feel active, heard, and understood; invite them to participate, and involve them in decision-making. Genuine human-centric businesses avoid empty, short-term promises and encourage honest, emotional, long-term relationships. 

Businesses that act in enthusiastic alignment with published core values earn the loyalty of their workforce. What people love about their jobs is not necessarily the work they do, it’s the way they feel while they do it. That feeling of heartfelt connectedness to purpose is the direct result of authentic organizational human-centric culture.

Renter’s Resume

Several years ago, I lived/worked in San Francisco, where I was a General Manager overseeing two properties in Foster City for Equity Residential.

And, during no oddly particular day, a prospect entered our leasing office and presented her “Renter’s Resume” and asked to see an apartment. 

Up to that point in time, I had never seen a Renter’s Resume. I didn’t know such a thing existed. But I found it to highly useful. 

Just today, I came across an Australian company called Snug that created what seems like the digital version of a renter’s resume, and it got me thinking. 

In essence, the resume is a certified pre-application that saves the owner/operator a ton of time on the front end of the leasing/qualifying process. 

Is anyone aware of this kind of service in America? 

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Multifamily Friends

ACTION POINT: Next time you hear colleagues pounding the table for something that is yesterday’s news, find a way to tell them they need to wake up and smell the coffee. [Read Full Text Here]

The above Action Point comes from my all-time favorite Daily Reading Business Book, The Daily Drucker.


I’m optimistic that people in the Multifamily Space will take full heed to Drucker’s’s Message as we move into the total Digital Transformation of our business.

In the next eighteen months plus/minus, our systems, processes, disciplines, and routines will happen behind the scenes outside of the purview of our Team Members and our Customers. Many companies are already well down the path to Digital Transformation. The Digital Coffee Pot is brewing.

Many years ago, Bill Gates/Microsoft was on a mission to see a computer on every desk in the world. That vision gave way to Steve Jobs and others, putting multiple devices in people’s hands and pockets.

The next wave of tech will allow us, the Multifamily Community, the opportunity to remove every desk PC from every office across the country. There is no need for this tool as much of what our site team members do today can happen behind the scenes with the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.

Seamless Business

The word Seamless or Frictionless will be the theme. Amazon’s click to buy is the best example of what I mean. Click a button, and your product shows up. There is an untold number of things that happen once you make that swipe, but you see none of it.

That day is here for the Multifamily Space. That day is now.

Wake up And Smell the Coffee

Old School mindsets have no room in the now of work.

If your mindset is to surround yourself with people that think your way (the old way), the new way to work will eject you – it’s that harsh.

I hope people see it, I genuinely do. It’s the one thing that keeps me up at night.

Your always ApartmentHacking friend,