We often see advertising saying that “We have a combined 50 years property management experience”. For this to be true, we would have to be leveraging each other’s knowledge to solve problems for our clients. Let’s look at a scenario; I go out to do a routine inspection and find that the tenant has abandoned the property. This has never happened to me before, and I have no idea what to do. I return to the office. On my return, I begin to go around the office one-by-one asking my colleagues what I should do. This is how we use our combined bank of knowledge to solve problems.
For knowledge sharing to be successful, the team needs to have a culture of both sharing and learning. I have been into many agencies where the property managers work hard, but they all have their heads down doing their own thing. What if they were encouraged to share this knowledge amongst their colleagues openly. It is a two-way street, though. A knowledge culture not only embraces sharing but also embraces the learning experience that comes from that. In a knowledge culture, sometimes you have things to share, and sometimes you need to learn.
For knowledge sharing to be successful, the team needs to have a culture of both sharing and learning.
Another component of the knowledge culture is to accept that things don’t always go as planned. The agency needs to encourage openness when it comes to mistakes. Use every mistake that the agency makes as a learning experience. Be open about the error and who was involved to avoid this from happening again. Hiding the error under the rug doesn’t do anyone any favours. This also applies to wins. When something goes right in the agency, and you have a win, this should also be a learning experience.
The collaboration part of the knowledge culture is what pulls it all together. Have a way in which the team can communicate this knowledge sharing, both formal and informal. While going one-by-one around the office can be useful, it makes one individual the focal point. They receive feedback from the team, but the team are siloed from each other, restricting the learning and problem-solving experience. Having a tool that allows everyone to share, together online, allows the entire agency to both contribute to the problem, and learn from the experience.
The collaboration part of the knowledge culture is what pulls it all together
A more formal approach is to encourage the team to share their experiences openly, is at the weekly team meetings. Use these experiences as a training tool or case study to review the event, share ideas and learn from the experience. This will arm the rest of the office with the right information should they face a similar problem in the future. If need be, put action points in place to amend procedures or add amendments to policies to promote any changes needed to support this.
Knowledge sharing is done by many large corporate businesses around the world. As property management agencies, learning to embrace this process is only going to strengthen both our team and the agency.