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7 Takeaways from NPMA SES 2019

The Rocky Mountains in Denver, Colorado. Text overlay reads: 7 Takeaways from NPMA SES 2019.

While it may be called the “Spring Education Seminar,” a Wednesday blizzard brought in a winter wonderland during NPMA SES 2019 in Denver, Colorado—the perfect atmosphere to focus on all the great sessions held throughout the two-day conference.

Here are my top takeaways from this year’s SES.

Communication is key

If you want one main takeaway from SES 2019, it’s that communication is key. Whether you’re explaining the details and exceptions of regulations to coworkers, or stating what needs to be done to prevent a CAR to senior leadership, effective communication is vital to accomplishing your goals.

Learning to communicate with different kinds of people is an ongoing process. A combination of research, experimentation, and plain old feedback will get you well on your way to impactful presentations and conversations.

Keep It Simple, Silly

This is an extension of the previous takeaway which specifically applies to communication with higher-ups.

When communicating with senior leadership, it’s important to keep it simple. I don’t mean to imply that you should dumb down what you’re saying. Rather, you should give more concise information. Higher ups only have so much bandwidth; they can’t focus on the details.

During his talk on CSAs, Scott Petersen suggested a green, yellow, red system to easily show what is going well and what needs attention.

Read your contracts!

This was a theme in almost every session I attended, and there’s a reason for that. Reading the clauses of your contract is incredibly important to ensure you know what is expected of you. Your contract lays out most of what you’ll need to know, such as reporting requirements or how often audits must occur.

Though most would agree it’s not the most fun reading, it’s still worth taking the time to read your contract.

Don’t do metrics just to show management

Kim Saeger brought up an important point in her session on metrics that I want to echo here.

Many professionals feel pressure to track metrics just to have something to report to management. But metrics are not an end to themselves, but a means to an end. The goal of metrics should be to improve your business processes.

Remember that you don’t measure and track metrics just to report them; you measure metrics to drive organizational change.

Keep thorough records

Almost every session I attended included this as a caveat. Whether the talk was about metrics or contract termination, the speaker emphasized that records are important to many property management processes.

Without thorough records, you can’t prove things to your auditor or CO. Even if you follow all procedures, if those procedures don’t have a paper trail or electronic record, you have nothing to back up your claims.

Put on your taxpayer hat

As a property professional, it can be easy to recoil at new regulations and requirements.

We ask ourselves, “Why are they making us do even more work?”

But Bob Koop encourages us to “put on our tax-payer hats” when we feel this frustration and confusion. When you think from the perspective of a taxpayer, whose money is paying for your deliverables, you start to see why the government can be so strict. Suddenly some of the “unreasonable” regulations seem much more reasonable and less frustrating.

Always be learning

Dr. Goetz championed this takeaway in his session on property management pitfalls. He encouraged us to always be learning about some aspect of asset and property management. With his many years of experience, even Dr. Goetz is always trying to learn more.

One session attendee echoed this philosophy, so much so that he joked he likes to read NPMA PowerPoints in the bathroom!

While the rest of us may not be quite so enthusiastic, learning is an important part of being a property professional. Dr. Goetz suggested taking just 10 or 15 minutes a day to read regulations, blogs, or books to help you grow.

Conclusion

Overall, NPMA SES was an excellent start to the year. Despite the snow, the trip was well worth it, for the people we met and the things we learned. We hope as the year goes on we will find more excitement and learning with NES and FES. We hope to see you all there!

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