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5 Reasons Why Little Things Matter at Allegiancy


5 Reasons Why Little Things Matter at Allegiancy

By: Chris Sadler, President

March 30, 2016

Tighten your chinstrap. That’s what a newspaper reporter I once knew – one who spent time reporting in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom – told me her retired military father (a crusty, old, curmudgeon of an Army sergeant major who may have been the best soldier she ever knew) told her just before she deployed as an embedded journalist with an Army unit.

Why on earth would something so small – the chinstrap on the Kevlar helmets military members and reporters alike wore in the trenches – matter amid much larger challenges like roadside bombs, ambushes, an entire country working to rebuild itself and a growing insurgency?

The answer was simple. Details matter. If you can’t pay attention to the little things, the details that help keep a machine running or people safe in a hostile environment, what big things are you ignoring that could cause much larger issues, impacting many more people.

That story resonated with me, and still does, largely because we’ve always had a saying here at Allegiancy: “Little things matter.”

You’ll hear it often in our office and it’s something of a mantra.

What makes those three words so important?

Here’s five reasons why:

Little things become big things — When little things are neglected, they become big things. Say you are that reporter and you don’t tighten that chinstrap the proper way. Then the Humvee you’re traveling in gets into an accident or encounters a roadside bomb. Your helmet flies off. Instead of getting the protection you needed from that helmet, you’re vulnerable to greater harm and the flying helmet could injure your neighbor. That little detail just became a big deal.

At Allegiancy, when actively managing commercial real estate property, we train our analysts to monitor little details like sudden spikes in power usage. Of course this is not the same as a military operation. But we are playing with people’s livelihoods in all we do (the investment that our owners have made in the assets we manage represent their blood, sweat, tears, missed family events and more).

We use that detailed data to determine what is happening in the building — maybe a spike in power is related to something as simple as a compressor spinning up when is should not – fix the problem and you save electricity. Or, the spike could indicate a bad compressor. Paying attention to this detail gives you the opportunity to replace the bad part before the whole unit goes down and thereby save money. Not noting that detail about spikes in power and you run the risk of wasting money on energy costs or worse waste money on expensive replacements.

Noting those little details, and watching them before they become big problems, can translate into big savings down the road for property owners, effectively putting money in the pockets of investors.

Focusing on little things sets the company tone

At Allegiancy, first and foremost, clients come first. But also we care about the very little things that other firms might consider insignificant details. By making that a core of our operations, we embed that culture throughout the entire organization. Our people are regularly looking for even the smallest improvement to make for clients, knowing that small gains today can equal big gains down the line.

Little things matter reflects company culture

It really comes down to caring about all aspects of asset management and putting the interests of others such as our clients and investors above our own. We work until the job gets done, not up to the day’s “quitting time.” It takes time and effort to care about small details. Not everyone wants to sign up for that. I read recently where the Flint water crisis in Michigan could have been avoided at a cost of only $100 a day to add phosphates to lead pipes to ensure they wouldn’t corrode and leach poison into the water. It’s a small detail but nobody cared. So now how many millions or billions in repairs and litigation will it cost to remedy a problem that could have been solved expediently and cheaply?

Neglecting details courts disaster

Growing up on a farm is also a good lesson in what happens when you neglect little things. Whether it’s checking fences, or maintenance on farm equipment, or getting enough hay up for the winter, there’s not a “margins for error” on a farm. I learned from a young age the value of hard work, planning and how critical it is to pay attention to little details — for everyone. Because mistakes on a farm hit right in the pocketbook. There’s not a safety net and we take that same approach at Allegiancy, particularly in our leadership (both the CEO and President grew up on a farm).

It’s not our money

Paramount to the culture of Allegiancy is the idea that we are stewards of other people’s hard-earned money. We like to say that the invested capital that a property owner has in their building is actually a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears. These are the missed family events, the days, weeks or even months of not seeing their families. They are the sacrifices it took to earn the capital to invest in the real estate we manage. We are duty-bound to ensure their hard work and sacrifices pay off. Just as they paid attention to so many little details to earn the capital, we in turn will take care of all the little details to ensure their investment pays off not only for them, but for their children and grandchildren as well.

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