HBS Resources

“Many of my clients are trying to figure out how to take the next step. They’ve enjoyed some success, and now want to evolve to a higher level of performance. Amidst the waves of every day operations, we often work together to find the lighthouse and start swimming in the right direction.”

-H. Blaine Strickland
President, HBS Resources

Struggling to manage several projects at a time?

Ever wonder what goes on in that trailer at the back of the development site?

Typically, the trailer is the site for vendor meetings, a safe haven from the weather, a real toilet, and the place where the master set of architectural drawings is stored. But there is an even more important use of the trailer - it is where the project manager constantly pores over the project schedule.

Next time you stop in to the trailer, look for that guy near the back hunched over a giant Gantt chart. If you linger long enough, you’ll hear him on the phone. “Terry, you gotta have that PVC on site by Tuesday night. If we don’t lay pipe on Wednesday morning, we’ll never pour the slab by Friday. No slab, no loan draw. No draw, I’m toast - but you’ll go down with me.”

The project manager is using the Gantt chart to help him manager the job’s priorities, materials, schedule and flow. If you’ve never seen a Gantt chart, any contractor, engineer or architect can give you a quick overview.

We can use that same chart to drive our marketing campaigns - just like a construction project. We have the same tasks - manage a lot of issues so that they converge for a successful ending. Gantt charts have been around for over a century - they are a tried and true tool.

If you are not sure how to employ this tool, take a few minutes to watch some introductory videos on YouTube or Lynda.com.  The concepts are not hard to master. If you can’t create one yourself, it’s easy to find someone on Upwork.com.   (I recently launched a Gantt chart project there and received more than 30 proposals, ranging in cost from $25 - $175 for the hour’s work that would be needed.)

Your clients will be impressed - they’ll realize that you understand the roster of tasks that have to be completed, their sequence, the duration of tasks, and the critical path. It’s a great tool for reporting, too - you can always explain where you are in the process of achieving their goals.

If you would like to read more about this idea, please check out my new book, Thrive: 10 Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent.

It's hard to get the right people on the bus!

It’s usually fairly evident when a CRE team needs a new team member. It’s not nearly as easy to add that new player.

Most of us know the Jim Collins’ (Good to Great) mantra that we have to “get the right people on the bus.” But - how would we know if we have the right person for the job?

My suggestion is to follow this three step process:

Start by defining the job in clear terms. This means creating a job description in three parts: what the team does, how the new role fits into the team’s mission, and what activities are part of the typical week. Then, take a minute to describe the attributes that would have to be present for a candidate to succeed in the role.

Next, create a scorecard that will act as a sieve as you interview candidates. This scorecard has two main benefits: it increases the chances that every interview will be on point, and it enables you to rank the candidates on an apples-to-apples basis when the interviews are complete.

Third, in addition to the interviews, use other “inputs” in the process. You can have other team members interview the candidate, check references, conduct third party evaluations and have the candidate complete a skills test. (If you need some serious Excel skills in this role, asking the candidate to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 is not sufficient!).

When you work this process, you have greatly enhanced your ability to discern whether the candidate in front of you is a good fit for the role you have designed - which means you can get the right person on the bus AND in the right seat.

If you would like to learn more about this idea, please check out the instructional video on my website (www.hbs-resources.com).