Let’s shake on it

June 30, 2010

Remember when someone’s word meant something?

I can still recall the days when a simple firm handshake sealed a pact. No need for lawyers or pages of documents with footnotes to sign in quadruplicate.  You simply looked your potential partner in business squarely in the eye and moved forward in earnest and with best intentions.

So, what happened? Somewhere along the way, we stopped trusting each other.

Unfortunately, precedents of bad behavior set the tone for a bad business environment.  A litigious society, further, forces one into an often defensive stature where it is imperative to protect yourself against people who say one thing and do another. To be sure, even supposedly “fool-proof contracts” designed to avoid future disputes, are often not worth the paper they are written on.

Thankfully, it is not all “doom and gloom” and Gordon Gekkos

hellbent on stabbing you in the back in order to feed egos and fatten back pockets. In fact, in the wake of high-profile cases of corporate deceit (from Enron to JP Morgan), there has emerged a movement in the business world towards renewed honesty, integrity and transparency.

Portraying and maintaining a positive image and reputation are important again. (Just look at the NFL and the intangibles, beyond talent, that helped make Tim Tebow a first round draft pick).

Today, I still prefer the handshake to seal a deal and I continue to maintain many arrangements, in particular with colleagues, sans paper.  Who knows, maybe we are on the path to once again doing what we say we’re going to do as a rule and not an exception.


What is your recovery modus operandi?

June 23, 2010

Nobody’s perfect. An old adage that is time worn, tested and true.

In a service industry like ours, there is a term called “recovery” that deals with the approach to corrective action you take in the face of adversity. First of all, you should never assume you are going to be mistake proof. No matter how much you plan, prepare or prognosticate, we are, at our core: fallible, human.

The key: How, ultimately, we communicate and then correct the inevitable error?

Recently, I was having lunch at one of my favorite Detroit-area restaurants, Bacco, when a member of the staff realized they had made a mistake with my meal. The very minor faux pas was immediately acknowledged, apologized for and, further, the “corrected” fare was provided to me as a carryout. I was, in turn, appreciative and look forward to many return visits.

How Bacco handled things is absolutely how Dover and our property management arm, Paragon Properties, LLC., approach “recovery.” First and foremost, we are very conscientious about how we serve our customers and property residents. Our clients know that we will do whatever it takes to serve them to the greatest extent possible. And, when we do make a mistake, they also know we will communicate to them with transparency (not try to skirt the issue or “cover our tracks”), apologize and inform them as to how the problem is being corrected. (Then, we do what we say we are going to do).

All of this said, we are forever focused on making sure mistakes do not occur and that if and when they do, we are learning from and avoiding them in the future. That, in turn, builds trust, credibility and a reputation of integrity—vital components for retaining and attracting residents and customers.