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Making the Case for Collaboration in Property Management

IREM’s annual Global Summit brought forth the need for collaboration in tackling issues ranging from diversity to emergency preparedness.

There is much talk these days from corporate office occupiers and those who provide spaces for them—including property managers—about collaboration. It is as if the concept is fresh out of its box, though the reality is that collaboration has been a vital tool of productivity long before it took a center-stage spotlight.

Fresh from the annual Global Summit of the Institute of Real Estate Management (this year held in Hollywood, Fla.), the importance of collaboration in all walks of property management, be it commercial or multifamily, was underscored for me. Now, let’s be clear. I am not talking about camaraderie here, although that was in evidence throughout the Summit.

All industry conferences are great times of camaraderie, and indeed there are always ample opportunities for attendees to catch up with old or new acquaintances in a variety of social gatherings. For us such gatherings also provided ample opportunity to greet new CPMs, from as near as the 50 states and from as far away as Japan and South Africa.

There is a misconception about industry conferences among the uninformed, namely that they begin and end with those social events. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and this is where the collaboration comes in. Even with the beaches of Hollywood serving as a backdrop, serious work got done, and it set the stage for the work ahead, to be tackled by CPMs teaming with colleagues who share the same passions and interests.

As we have reported in this space, 2018 has been a year of redefinition for the Institute, and the Summit helped us move the ball many yards closer to that goal post, in issues such as diversity; recognizing the efforts of young professionals (a particularly critical issue for all commercial real estate practitioners in this aging industry); emergency preparedness; and measuring the NOI impact of sustainability strategies.

In each of those cases, leaders in the field from within our own ranks came to the fore to point the way forward, to share their insights (whether it was the result of independent research or professional experience) and galvanize the group, increase awareness and incite passions for taking these initiatives to the next level.

And in each of those cases, or any of the other variety of topics treated during those four days in Hollywood, it is up to each of us individually to find better ways of refining our best practices so all of us collectively can redefine our future.

We are still unpacking the depth and breadth of information shared at the Global Summit, by members as well as by outside professionals. (As just one example, keynote speaker Ryan Estis, a sales and leadership consultant, laid out for our 800 attendees the practical implications of the changing nature of work). As we do, many new ideas will be shared in this space, even as they continue to evolve.

For now, the shared work continues, much of that in committees that did not exist just a year ago. We are taking this information and transforming it into actionable steps that in turn will result in real change and progress for the Institute and, it is hoped, the industry.

Results. That is the true power of collaboration.

Don Wilkerson is 2018/2019 president of the IREM. In addition, he serves as president and CEO of Gaston and Wilkerson Management in Reno, Nev.

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