Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Proving the Blackhatters Wrong: Creativity That Impacts the Bottom Line

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Proving the Blackhatters Wrong: Creativity That Impacts the Bottom Line

Article excerpt

WE tend to draw a line between the two halves of our brain the creative and the measured. We speak of arts and sciences as if they must exist in parallel universes, separate but equal. But that's not necessarily true. We could ask Albert Einstein:

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."

But, since Einstein is no longer with us, we can also turn to Natalie Brecher, CPM, CDEI, who invoked the world-changing mathematician in her recent IREM white paper in the Leadership Development Series, An Interview with Creativity.

Brecher, who is founder of Brecher & Associates in Torrance, Calif., sees and counsels professionals that creativity has a major part in professional success, even in professions not known for creativity. "That's the beauty of it," she said. "There are so many ways to be creative, and I believe you can bring creativity into every element of your work."

That includes the most measured of disciplines: property maintenance, accounting and lead generation. And it should be noted here that everything Brecher recommends in the white paper, in a recent webinar she produced for IREM or in her training classes, which can be intensive day-long events leads either directly or indirectly to the bottom line. This is not creativity for its own sake.

"The question is if it translates into profits," she said. "And the answer is absolutely. Different ideas out of the norm can bring about efficiencies, add to tenant retention or increase business."

TAKING AN INDIRECT PATH TO CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

Such was the case with a national real estate firm (which will remain anonymous) that was stymied in its efforts to build fee-based management business. So, at a one-day workshop, the conversations began.

"We used analogies," said Brecher. "Finding new clients is like [and the participants would fill in the blanks] leaf-cutter ants working together to find food. It's like a pride of lions stalking its prey. Someone said it's like a dolphin finding a school of fish. The eureka moment came when someone said dolphins use echo-location because that turned into a conversation about how the various regions for this national firm weren't talking to each other. They were all doing their own lead generation."

They realized as a result of the analogy exercise that they could share leads, that if someone was happy with the firm's management in Philadelphia, they could use the same firm for properties in Dallas. Most of all, said Brecher, "They realized they were missing this huge opportunity, and they realized it through a discussion about schools of fish. …

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