Multifamily Malpractice

Malpractice, according to Webster's dictionary, isn't always deliberate. Sometimes it is simple negligence. But the results are the same; loss, damage and wrong doing to the recipient. In our industry, when we malpractice, those on the receiving end can be our residents, our owners, even ourselves. Rest assured that someone suffers when we don't perform our 100 % best.

We are producing in a quality manner when we set Six Sigma goals for ourselves. Six Sigma is a measurement level of quality achievement where only 3 to 4 defects, failures or errors occur per one million opportunities. In other words, to do it right 99.99966% of the time and to do it right the first time. High standards? You bet!!

If we accept only 98% quality, here is what 2% error, failure and defect means in America today:

  • Unsafe drink water one week this year!
  • Your newspaper won't arrive seven days this year!
  • 3.4 billion pieces of mail won't arrive to the addressee!
  • 350 flights nationwide will be cancelled daily!
  • 400,000 precriptions will be wrong when delivered to the consumer! 2% error is serious business!!

So what should our goal be??? Let's refer to the performance standard expressed by this question. "How often do you want me to do things right?" The answer is often "That's close enough" or "That's an acceptable level". These performance standards are easily misunderstood because they indicate that noncomformance is not only allowed but expected.

The answer to "How often should I do things right?" should be "always, everytime, without fail." The standard should be zero defects. If that sounds high, too difficult, think of what happens if everyone agrees to do his or her job with 2% error. Multiply 98% correct by itself once for every person in any given system. That will show you the probability of ever getting things done correctly.

Zero defect is not impossible. Make company policy "We will deliver defect free service on time, every time."

Let's take one last look at "Do it right the first time" broken down this way:

  • "do it" means conform to the requirements, the policies, with high standards
  • "right" means prevent errors, always do it correctly
  • "the first time" means zero defects, no rework, no redo necessary

Quality is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the skills of the individual. Companies can and have doubled their profits in one year by "Doing it right the first time!"

As a bonus, the individuals who perform to Six Sigma standards are happier, more productive, and free of malpractice.

Recently a friend shared this quote from Willa A. Foster. "Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives." We are reminded by this powerful statement that we are not producing quality when we are negligent, disinterested; when we malpractice.


by Anne Sadovsky
one of Multi-housing's foremost marketing and motivational speakers.

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