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2001 New Year's Resolution: Be FEP!

Forget the "four letter" words. When it comes to setting your New Year's Resolution 2001 goals for yourself, your staff, and your community, first make a pledge to yourself. Aim now to become the kind of individual that can reach all your other lofty goals. Make a New Year's Resolution to renew yourself . . . to more fully utilize your personal strengths and talents. Most important in this "people" business, resolve to do what it takes to enhance and sharpen your "personality"; that is, what we often refer to as "People Skills." In 2001, be FEP!

What is FEP? It is an acronym that stands for three of the key characteristics of any successful on- site professional. Together, these three words become a single three-letter term, "FEP." This term epitomizes the personality and character of the human being that our Residents want and need as caretakers of their home . . . our apartment communities.

FEP stands for:


One could think of hundreds of other adjectives that would be appropriate for describing the ideal on- site professional; yet, if limited to just three words, don't you think FEP does the job? Look at the three words that make up our acronym, FEP:

Friendly - Nothing can replace a warm smile and a cheerful disposition. Whether you are a vice president over multiple properties, an on-site leasing consultant, or any other position in the spectrum of property management, friendliness is the foundation for positive working relationships and effective customer (Resident) service. The friendly person is not hung up on power or status. They are approachable and interested in others no matter what they can or cannot gain from that other person.

Remember. It is not enough to "be" friendly. You must be "perceived" as friendly by your fellow property management professionals, the Residents, and rental prospects. Anyone who encounters a truly friendly individual recognizes it immediately. It is as though there is a big neon sign over the person's head that says in bright, glowing letters, "I'm Friendly, I'm Approachable, I'm Interested, and, yes, I Will Help!" In this business, it is easier to teach a friendly person good property management fundamentals than to take a knowledgeable but grumpy individual and try to teach them to be friendly!

"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Professional - On the other end of "FEP," giving the term balance, is the letter P for Professional. This characteristic starts with how you look, but it goes much deeper than just dress or grooming. Professionalism does refer to how the property management person looks, but, more important, it refers to how you "be." Professionalism is what is inside an individual that gives him the discretion and polish to be credible and masterful in their profession.

Professionalism is a result of superior knowledge that comes from both experience and education. The professional person uses that knowledge with integrity and fairness, realizing that in the big picture a good reputation is the one thing that cannot be bought with money or taken away from you. Perhaps, the best and clearest definition for this important characteristic, Professional, is possessing the skill and inclination to do or say the right thing at the right time to the right person in the right manner . . . RIGHT NOW! The Professional develops superior and responsive decision making skills.

"The Professional knows how and when to make the right decision."

Enthusiasm - The middle letter in "FEP" holds the entire word and its united meaning together. The word "Enthusiasm" comes from a Greek root word, meaning literally "in God." To the 1st Century Greek mind, this word implied "relationship" or being "in relationship." Enthusiasm is not simply hype and rah-rah. It is not necessarily the person who is jumping around bouncing off the walls and ceilings! Real enthusiasm is from the heart and is seen in the way one creates and maintains healthy relationships. The enthusiastic person may or may not be a boisterous and highly-animated individual. There is nothing wrong with hype and cheerleading, but that in itself is not enthusiasm.

An enthusiastic person is one who exudes hope and truly believes in people. They even understand forgiveness and know when a second chance is appropriate. They do not simply fire employees. They train and "retool" them. By their very nature the enthusiastic person brings out the best in those around them. Employees produce better, customers get better treatment, and personal relationships are full and meaningful. An enthusiastic individual is excited about life, not just money, things, or position. They realize that everything hinges on having the right kind of relationship with other people. Their inspiration is what propels others to their highest and best performance and behavior.

"Think enthusiastically about everything, especially about your job. If you do so, you'll put a touch of glory in your life. If you love your job with enthusiasm, you'll shake it to pieces."

Don't discard all those noble New Year's Resolutions. It's great to resolve to exercise more, stop smoking, go back to school, etc. Just realize that a decision to be "FEP" will enhance your success with all your 2001 New Year's Resolutions. Have a great New Year!


Rick Ellis, one of multi-housing's foremost consultants & educational speakers.

Rick Ellis' Biography and Article List
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