Currently Reading: Essentialism

Essentialism BookWow. Just an amazing book to start cracking open some of the pre-conceived ideas that the only way to be successful is to work, work, work, and work harder, longer, and more. Instead, Greg McKeown shares the insight that we should actually work less, but work better.

This book was recommended several times from my friend Dr. Debbie Phillips, CPM®, and I finally decided to read it. #WorthIt

Some of the exciting highlights from my read so far:

glyph_quoteopenInstead of making just a millimeter of progress in a million directions he began to generate tremendous momentum towards accomplishing the things that were truly vital.

glyph_quoteopen…only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.

glyph_quoteopenLess but better.

glyph_quoteopenEssentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing what is essential.

My DiSC – Influence!

As part of one of the courses that the Education Department teaches at Concord, we were all required to take our DiSC evaluation– and boy was I excited! Anyone who knows me, knows that I love this kind of stuff. To find out more information about your behavior, your personality, and your strengths– man, this is great stuff!

DiSCAs it turns out, I am a full-on “i” on the Everything DiSC Workplace­­® Profile, which means that my style is “Influence.” Well, that’s where the dot lies, anyways, which gives you an idea of which style I am strongly inclined to. The style of Influence has attributes like Outgoing, Enthusiastic, Optimistic, High-spirited, and Lively. Cool!

The bigger picture with the profile, however, is how it determines the priorities that shape my workplace experience. For those priorities, we look to the shaded areas to get a clearer picture of the primary areas where people focus their energy. For my profile, the priorities are listed below in order of descending intensity:

  • Generating Enthusiasm – The profile says I maintain a positive, upbeat attitude, and that I most likely assume the best in people and look at the bright side of any given situation. (Spot on!) Furthermore, my energy fuels my exuberance and I’m usually open and expressive with my opinions and emotions. Because I like to encourage team spirit, I focus on generating enthusiasm. (Whoa– this is accurate stuff!)
  • Taking Action – The profile details that people with the i style like excitement and fast movement. Most likely, I am energized by innovative, groundbreaking solutions, and I’m eager to hit the ground running. (Yup– pretty much!) In fact, my rapid pace might be too much for others, and rather than slowing down to meet their needs, I may encourage them to keep up with you. (Introspectively, I am making a note to keep an eye on this for a healthy balance.) My willingness to take quick action can help the group move forward.
  • Valuing Collaboration – Like others with the i style, I’m probably friendly and outgoing and I prefer working with others. (Nail on the head!) Most likely, I enjoy meeting new people and finding opportunities to interact. In fact, I probably have a difficult time understanding people who would rather work independently. (I used to, but I am much more flexible on this.) The report says that I value collaboration because I think it not only leads to better outcomes, but it makes the job more fun. (So true!)
  • Getting Results – The report states that I seem to be highly focused on results, which is not typical of the i style. Whether it’s achieve my goals or simply reaching the next milestone, I tend to prioritize getting things done. (Oh yeah– definitely me!) As a result, I keep striving until I reach my objectives, regardless of the obstacles in my way. Ultimately, I probably make it clear that I am determined to succeed. (It’s like they’re reading my mind!)
  • Offering Challenge – Although it’s somewhat unusual for someone with the i style, the report stated that I am probably willing to ask questions and challenge assumptions when present with new ideas. I place a high value on competency, and when I spot a flaw, I am likely to speak up about it. (For sure, that’s me.) Furthermore, if I encounter methods that I think lack common sense or a logical basis, I probably make others aware of my discomfort. (But I always provide a solution!)

workplace-motivation-727x380One of the other things that I love about this report is the Motivators section, which describes many of the aspects about the workplace that I would probably enjoy:

  • Meeting new people
  • Being the center of attention
  • Inspiring others to do their best
  • Initiating colorful projects
  • Being around people who are lively and charismatic
  • Achieving immediate results
  • Working toward challenging goals
  • Working with people who have high standards
  • Using logic to solve problems

reunion-stress-620x264In addition to the motivations in the workplace, the profile provides possible Stressors, which is amazing because I love to know where my limitations could be. Knowing is half the battle and lets me be aware of where I might improve or adjust my behavior to come out successful. Remember, I like getting results? 🙂

  • Giving people unpleasant feedback (Thankfully, I have worked on this to be comfortable with this process and I feel that I can do it gracefully.)
  • Being forceful or insistent with others (Not usually a problem with me when I switch into “D” style.)
  • Being isolated for long periods
  • Working steadily toward long-term goals (I have found that was the case a while back… and an agile task-management system helps keep me focused to be successful.)
  • Being in a dull or unsocial environment
  • Facing the possibility of failure
  • Being forced to give up on your ideas
  • Dealing with people who do not meet your standards
  • Having to keep your opinions to yourself

Another great thing about this profile is that is also gives you the breakdown of the behaviors of people with other styles. This better enables me to understand the motivations and styles of people who are D style, or S or C. Finally, the profile provides three key strategies that might help me work more effectively with all the people in your workplace. I will definitely be taking these strategies to task to ensure that I work on them and show myself progress.

I encourage you to take your own profile and learn about your behaviors. Remember that DiSC is not a personality test– it evaluates your behaviors and people can change their behaviors; perhaps not drastically, but knowing motivators and limitations can help you know where to make adjustments.

I hope that you enjoyed learning a bit more about my workplace behavioral style. If you have taken the DiSC and we are connected somehow– please share with me your style so we can learn a bit more about each other. I love learning and sharing!

Overcoming Objections Is Bad– Prevent Them Instead!

In my LinkedIn feed this morning, I saw that a connection of mine had responded to a question of a different connection. After reading the original query, I couldn’t help but respond because I knew the answer! In the apartment sales industry, we usually provide a presentation of the community to a prospective customer and if we have done the job correctly, we get the sale. Sometimes, however, we get a few bumps in the road in the form of objections.

The original question was:

So I had a prospect take a tour today of one of our furnished one-bed units. The prospect stated that the furniture looked like it was “from a garage sale” What are some tips on things I could say to sell the furniture even though the prospect may not like it? Getting them to pay more for furniture they don’t like is very difficult!

In the responses that were already posted, I saw a few decent attempts to suggest that the original poster “overcome” the objection. This has been the standard practice of sales teams the world over, but I have always thought differently on the subject. In many cases, the sales person turns the objection into a battle of wits and attempts to win the prospect over by correcting them or invalidating the objection. “That closet isn’t small– look, I can do Zumba inside it!” What they are missing, however, is that the objection is not what it looks like and their response is almost always combative and offensive to the prospective customer– because the salesperson misread the underlying intention!

My response to the original poster is as follows, save for a few grammatical corrections. If you agree or have other feedback, I would love to hear it– so please comment below!

You have a few suggestions here, but I think they are addressing objections in the traditional sense and never really address the underlying issue. When people give an objection, it sounds up front like they are saying “I don’t like this; change it, fix it, remove it, build it– whatever you have to do, but make it perfect for me.” WRONG!!! When someone gives an objection like this, they are really saying “I don’t see enough value in what you are providing me.The real issue is that your prospect doesn’t feel as though the price they are perceiving in their mind is worth what you have shown them.

If you were to find the perfect new car to buy– it’s luxurious, it’s the perfect color, it’s pretty much everything you want and it’s $5,000 less than you wanted to pay… but you found out that it had some stains in the carpeting or the power mirrors don’t work. WHATEVER, that’s still a great deal right? You’re probably not going to even say anything about the minor imperfections and you will driving this bad boy home tonight. Why? Because its VALUE (despite minor issues) is GREATER than its PRICE.

Conversely, if you were to find the perfect new car to buy– it’s luxurious, it’s the perfect color, it’s pretty much everything you want, but it’s $5,000 MORE than you wanted to pay– well, now we’re probably going to point out all the imperfections, right? Those stains in the carpeting need to be cleaned. Those mirrors better work. What’s that? Now that you look closer, there are some scratches, there are dings and dents, the paint is faded on the trunk. It’s going to take a LOT to get you to drive this home because the PRICE is now GREATER than the VALUE!

What your prospect is telling you is that they don’t see the VALUE as GREATER than the PRICE… for them, it’s the other way around. And now, no matter how petty it may seem to you or anyone else, they are pointing out the stains in the carpeting and the broken mirrors. If the PRICE is too much over the VALUE, they are going to find a lot more to pick out and complain about.

When the PRICE exceeds the VALUE, everything needs to be pristine and perfect and they need warranties and bonuses and perks and concessions to make the purchase. That’s just not possible for every situation.

When the VALUE exceeds the PRICE, you better believe they are going to shut up and buy right now. They won’t let this *DEAL* pass them by. The best part is that you can control this situation with how you structure the presentation.

My suggestion is that you need to start looking at this differently. Stop trying to attend to the objections themselves. They aren’t the issue– they are a symptom of the underlying issue that your prospective customer hasn’t been shown the full VALUE. Once you have arrived at the point where your prospect is objecting to things, you have already partially failed and it is much harder to get back to the “easy” sale.

Instead of waiting for objections, try to start with gathering information about what the prospect knows about your community and then focus on gathering the information on EVERYTHING that is important to them. Focus on their DREAMS, their ASPIRATIONS, their PERFECT LIFE… everything they want, everything that is important, everything that is a MUST HAVE. And equipped with that information, you can now start focusing every part of your tour and presentation on their DREAM LIFE. Paint every corner of your community as the next step in their journey to that PERFECT LIFE. Draw the lines between what you have and what they want.

Hold off on talking about price until later– if you can redirect the prospect off price discussion until as late as possible, you have time to build this DREAM LIFE for them. (What about people who are price-limited? Guess what– with the internet, there’s a 97% chance they know your price anyway! Just assume they know and confirm to them that there’s so much value that will fit in their budget!) You have the opportunity for the prospect to continuously focus on VALUE… and not just any VALUE, but rather VALUE that fits their individual wants and needs. All they can see throughout your entire presentation is how the VALUE is so high.

When you finally drop the true price on them for their new home– “What? What’s it?!?! I get all this– everything you said that is perfect for me and it’s only going to cost how much?

This is how I have prepared my presentations for over a decade and I hardly have any objections where the customer is being nit-picky. Every objection I have gets handled early on in the information gathering stage because I asked the right questions. Later, we only talk about their DREAM LIFE and the gobs and gobs of VALUE and everything that is important to the customer that I have. Start thinking of objections in this manner and be prepared to enjoy a higher closing rate!

2017 IREM® Southeast Leadership Forum #IREMSELF

This article was originally published in The Network Georgia, a Crest Publication. (link to original publication). Written by Jake R. Zachariah, ARM® CAM (

The Southeast Regional meeting #IREMSELF was an amazing event, bringing chapters from North Carolina to Tennessee to Texas to Florida and everywhere in between to collaborate and learn about leading our industry and improving our chapters. As the plane wheels hit the tarmac over and over Tuesday evening, the amount of highly ethical and educated talent in Atlanta exponentially increased by way of the best and brightest real estate managers arriving for the IREM® Southeast Leadership Forum.

We listened and learned from the very engaging Sarah Sheila Birnbach how to motivate and hold accountable the numerous volunteers in our chapters for the success locally, regionally, and nationally as an organization, which created a great deal of discussion between each chapter’s attendees on how to improve their own systems for success. Breakout sessions later divided the groups into engaging Young Professionals, planning for Legislative involvement, and improving Education initiatives. The afternoon rounded out with Tony Smith, CPM®, sharing stories of what he learned on his path to IREM® President and left the room inspired to reach higher and achieve more for IREM®.

That evening the attendees of the #IREMSELF conference let their hair down and enjoyed a social event at the prestigious Office Apartments by Greystar, giving an opportunity to meet and mingle with IREM® members in chapters spanning the Southeast and learning more about how we can all help the IREM® Foundation help give back to IREM® members. We can’t thank the sponsors enough for their support — THANK YOU Market Me Social, Inc. and Southern Energy Solutions.

The final day was no different than the first for the level of inspiration and skill building, starting off with Jonathan Saar (@JonathanSaar) of Market Me Social, Inc., and Stacey Smith of First Communities giving an impassioned presentation about proactive digital reputation management and talent-building within your organizations. The intensity of enthusiasm and energy did not dissipate as we welcomed the much esteemed Dr. Debbie Phillips, CPM® (@drpsuccess), of The Quadrillion to the stage with her counterpart, Ray Waters (@RayDWaters)of The Big Life, Inc. Through their collaborative presentation, the attendees at #IREMSELF learned a variety of coaching tools, techniques and best practices that we all need to lead and measure the added value that our team brings to the table. Attendees furiously scribbled down the titles as Dr. Debbie recommended a ton of books that I am sure will see a huge spike in sales on Amazon—her passion elevated the group and everyone paid attention as she and Ray explained some of the “big, Big, BIG” concepts around the coaching mindset, emotional intelligence, providing balanced and helpful feedback. Finally, we rounded out the event with a very informative look at the current state and the future path of our industry as George Ratiu (@GeorgeRatiu) of the National Association of Realtors. Despite the heavy numbers, graphs, and complicated concepts, George easily explained his opinions and forecasts for the industry, giving amazing insight to the best real estate managers in the Southeast.

This event inspired, engaged, and motivated our IREM® Members in the Southeast to be better, go further, and lead better. Our collaborative conference is one of the best things that sets IREM® apart from other prestigious organizations and you’ll never find a better place to spend a day and a half learning about becoming a better leader. Learn. Engage. Lead. #IREMSELF

Certified Apartment Manager (CAM)

b306edfd787eed72_mCAM allows you to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and ability to manage an apartment community and achieve owners’ investment goals.

After completing the CAM program, you will have learned about:

• Occupancy rates
• Comprehensive marketing plans
• Sales team management and product readiness
• Equitable treatment of current and potential residents
• Resident retention and the maintenance of a positive company image
• Consistent and ongoing resident communication
• Positive resident service and issue resolution
• Enforcement of company policy in compliance with laws and regulations
• Property inspections
• Preventive maintenance programs
• Service request process
• Apartment turnover process
• Contractors and vendors
• Recruitment, hiring, orientation, and training of high-caliber employees
• Systematic employee evaluation
• Employment regulations and record keeping
• Analysis of the property’s financial operations with corrective actions for under performance
• Monitoring of property performance to achieve the owner’s investment goals
• Accounting principles and practices
• Maximizing net operating income
• Reporting property performance honestly and accurately


ISSUED TO Jake Zachariah


EARNED ON Aug 28, 2016


CAM candidates must complete the following requirements to earn the CAM credential. Candidates must complete the coursework and exam within 12 months of declaring candidacy.
• Minimum of 12 months of onsite property management experience
• Successful completion of CAM coursework, eight modules (40 hours)
• Passing both parts of the CAM exam. The CAM exam is a two part, proctored exam with a total time of four hours. Part one: 115 questions timed for two hours. Part Two: 70 questions timed for two hours.

View additional criteria

Positive Feedback– Without Giving It, You’re Failing

This post has also been mirrored on Linkedin and Medium.

It’s no secret that I am a super big fan of Positively Focused Leadership. I love building and developing teams, coaching and mentoring individuals, and growing my business through a positive focus on balancing and utilizing the strengths of my team. Of course, there are some unconvinced and skeptical managers out there who may not immediately see the benefits of this kind of leadership. To those managers I beg: give your teams some positive feedback or find yourself failing.

Recently, I read a great article from HBR on “Why… So Many Managers Avoid Giving Praise?” ( and I had to admit that I was shocked by the data. I have known for some time now by personal observation that a lot of managers either do not give any feedback or what is given is criticism. What I was surprised to see was the amount of managers that (either actively or passively) avoided giving positive reinforcement to their subordinates! Thirty-seven percent of the respondents in HBR’s self-assessment admitted to the deficiency.

If we are doing our job effectively as team leaders, we are guiding our teams to perform by supporting each individual in their personal path. That means for high performers, we are guiding them to maintain productivity and encouraging skill growth for their next level in the organization. For mid-level performers, we are helping them grow their level of productivity to achieve expert skill level. For under performers, we as managers are helping introduce them to and gain understanding of the tasks for the position so that they can grow into competent team members. The word consistently used among all three types is “grow.” In this sense, growing is learning, improving, and mastering one’s skills, and the important step to all of these processes is feedback.

Negative feedback is important, by all means. It serves as an informative process, which helps the receiver of the feedback to understand where they need to spend their efforts and offers insights into how they could improve performance, efficiency, or accuracy. Negative feedback, like most things however, has its own time and place… and audience. As a managing supervisor, it is our job to delicately balance the equation to apply this tool where appropriate. For example, a high performer or an expert will respond much better to negative feedback as a tool for honing their craft and performance. A novice, however, will find they are demotivated and disengaged following only negative feedback in their realm of uncertainty and they are less likely to handle the challenges of new and unfamiliar projects or skill-building.

In contrast, positive feedback will serve as a motivator across all skill levels in your organization. Again, this kind of response to your team members has it’s time and place and audience for maximum effectiveness, but even when used in combination with negative feedback, the positive component will increase the impact. It shows your team that you “have their back,” and that you are rooting for their success. Learning this skill as a supervisor helps your team increase engagement in the organization and their department, thus reducing your turnover for reasons related to emotional connection. Furthermore, a healthy dose of polished positive feedback encourages replication and even openness and willingness to accept a side of negative feedback or criticism.

comicfeedback048Offering positive feedback is crucial in the eyes of your team, but I can attest that many of us are not confident on delivery or even sure how to provide it sincerely. The following are a few approaches that you can being practicing with your team.

  1. If you see something, say something.
    Numerous studies indicate that the most effective kind of feedback is quickly timed rather than delayed. It may not always be possible to say it right in the moment, but giving yourself a shorter timeline to provide it benefits its sincerity and adoption.
  2. Be specific if you want it repeated.
    Just saying “good job” to your team member won’t work anymore. Use their name in the feedback and identify the specific behavior that you want replicated. Avoid lingering on the results because it is the behavior you want repeated, not always the specific result.
  3. Spread the love.
    Avoid singling out a favorite—or even the impression that there is one. Share positive feedback for behaviors with each of your team members individually instead of only focusing on a high performer.

Note that we usually rate ourselves higher on the scale of being effective at giving feedback, whether negative, positive, or mixed. HBR’s survey presented results that highlight that phenomenon, but also pointed to their team’s opinion that more effective managers give both positive and negative feedback. Managers that avoid positive feedback are seen as less effective among their peers, subordinates, and supervisors. If you aren’t committed to praising your team for their behaviors or actions, you aren’t seen as effectual or successful.