Monday, April 7, 2008

Taking Action

"If you want to get things done, sometimes you've got to do it yourself."

This rings so true in running a business. Either you do it yourself or you get someone else to do it for you. But, what happens when over and over and over again, things do not get done by the very people who you count on to get things done? Well, then you either do it yourself or get someone else to do it.

What really gets to me is when people say they are going to do something but never end up doing it. Now, I can go on and on and lay blame on people. But, in the end it's not going to help achieve the end result - getting the task at hand done.

I'm going through this right now with a minor rehab. It's a case where the park manager has offered to help with many aspects of the rehab. Problem is promises get made and things do not get done. I think the park manager has good intentions of helping but at the same time - time is money. And, I've got a lot of money riding on this project.

Instead of laying blame I had to go out and take action. One of the things that needed to get done was replacing the flooring in the master bathroom around the toilet. The flooring was old and very unstable, not safe to use.

So, I called my handyman and he said he'd be able to replace the floor but could not take out the toilet as that is a job that requires more skill for someone such as a plumber. The great thing about my handyman is that he knows what he can do and knows what he cannot. That is one thing that I've learned about hiring people - the good ones know their capabilities and stay away from things that are foreign to them.

In turn, I called my plumber and he agreed to remove the toilet so that my handyman could start work on replacing the floor. After my handyman finished the job, my plumber said he'd be able to put the toilet back.

Well, my handyman finished the job as scheduled. So, I called my plumber but he was well on his way to Mexico to go out of town. I had no way of reaching him as his cell phone coverage did not pick up.

What to do? I was stuck with a new floor in the bathroom and a toilet needing to be put back in its place. Well, I had to do something as people were anxious to see the house and I had not made it available to show due to the rehab work.

So, I bring this issue up with the park manager. She offers to call her plumber and tells me if he can't do it, then her husband who does fix-up work can. Well, to make a long story short the plumber never gets back to her and her husband got sick. This dragged on for a week.

So, I had to make a decision and I had to act fast. With one last attempt, I called my plumber and guess what? He just got back. I told him the problem - he apologized. And, now he is going to put back the toilet where it belongs.

What is the moral of this story?

I guess what I'm trying to say is not to depend too much on one person for all your contacts. I've tended to do that especially with the park managers. I think they have all the right contacts because they deal with fix up work and issues in the park all the time. Yes, that's good. But, I also have to have my own team and be able to make decisions when the issue arises.

So, I've began to make contractor contacts by residents of the parks in addition to park managers. And, a lot of times the residents of the park do contract work for a living - go figure! So, I've made it a habit to talk to the residents in the parks I work with and ask them who they've used for contract work on their own houses. Also, I scout the bulletin boards at the parks I work with for contractor cards. I spend time calling these contacts. I get a feel for what they do and their experience because I never know when I may need someone quick when one of my other contacts cannot perform work I need to get done. I've learned it's always good to have backup people lined up just in case so you don't rely on one person to provide you with all the contacts as I have with the park managers.

By taking action, I have avoided inaction. It is better to take action than not to act at all.

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