In an earlier post at the NAA blog Mike Beirne, Executive VP of The Kamson Corporation, shared some thoughts on how companies should prepare for worst-case scenarios. In a follow up post he shared some other “lessons learned”:
Make sure your communication network is well defined; and ensure that you have redundancy in that communication. Cell towers can go dark or have reduced signal just like any other technology. When that happens, mobile phones and email does not work very well. Texting seemed to, and it became my lifeblood for 10 days. Make sure you know your options.
There are people who will take advantage of you. Because for them, pardon the pun, disasters can bring windfall. So, pre-approve a disaster recovery contract with a nearby service provider so that you have one if you need it. Hopefully, you never will. But at least you’ll have one written in stone.
Be compassionate. Your employees and your residents are at wit’s end. You need to be the voice of reason and care.
It’s not about property management, it’s about human kind. If you manage that way, people will respond that way…
- Use your friends in our NAA network. That is what association membership is there for. I had a very informative conversation with NAA-member industry professionals from New Orleans. Their wisdom guided me. Greater New Orleans AE Tammy Esponge and her group had developed emergency recovery “best practices” based on what happened to them during Hurricane Katrina. It was great. But even better–and most comforting–was to be able to hear from her the progression of events and how they sounded very similar. She has been through this. She was able to help me see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” And that can really help.
- Understand the psychological impact that this will have on your staff members. They have been dealing with all of your residents’ problems and their own. You reach a breaking point. I know I did. I have to assume all your people did, too. Be prepared to counsel this. And again: be compassionate, no matter what the bottom line is.