Are you Playing the Long Game?
Keeping with our theme for our Big League Education Conference and trade show, I thought I would ask you about your strategy? Specifically, I would like to discuss networking.
I think that we can all agree that we have met some very talented and unique individuals in this industry. Many of you over the years have become my friends as well. When I ask you if you are playing the Long Game though when it comes to networking, I really want to know what your goals are.
I think there is a misconception out there that if you join the Association, you will instantly be plugged in and see immediate results. Now, I am not saying that you will not have instant access to great industry connections, because you will, but I challenge you to make the networking relationship reciprocal.
Make the time to get to know those around you – and see who you connect with. We do offer several networking opportunities throughout the year that are disguised as FUN! Make no mistake, we will have fun, but you have a seat at a distinguished table when you attend those events. Leaders on both the supplier and operator side of the business are in attendance. Make an effort to connect with someone that you do not know very well. I have seen so many wonderful relationships start simply by me extending my hand to introduce myself.
I also discussed the future generation at my installation and that is an integral part of networking as well. I know people are playing the short game when I hear them say, “oh, they are only a manager” or “they are just a sales guy or girl” … or, “I want to talk to the regional” or “the VP”. This is another misconception that I hope you will help me dispel moving forward.
I can say that I was a community manager once and now I am an area vice president. And, as I look at the successful supplier partners around me, I see several people who connected with me then. I had Chris Lee with Earthworks as a landscaper at my property. Mike Follis was my Apartment Guide rep. Amy Alvarez was my flooring rep … and the list goes on and on. That was 15 years ago and they are on my board today.
Relationships are forged in the trenches and there are so many of us that have grown up in this business. Do not overlook that up and coming manager or supplier. Make those connections now to invest in your future.
I will also let you in on a little secret. When I am making a choice for a supplier on my assets, I look to my community managers for feedback. They are the ones that help me drive my decisions, so time invested with them will pay off dividends … if you are playing the Long Game! I would also think that my supplier partners would echo the same sentiments.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because our relationships are what bond us together. Our industry is built on a strong foundation between suppliers and operators. The best relationships are the ones that we work on consistently and networking needs the same focus.
Make an effort this week, this month and during at the next event to meet someone new and connect them into your network. And, if you don’t know someone, find me – I will introduce you!
Remember, shoulders back – heart open!
Nicolle Block serves as the Apartment Association’s president, our chief elected officer. For additional information on any of the association’s activities, check out the AATCnet.org website or call any member of the AATC staff at 817-284-1121.