During my recent travels to the USA, Canada, India and Bahrain, I had the opportunity to meet some of the world’s top real estate managers and I was very impressed with their professionalism, knowledge and experience. Despite each of these persons being from different countries, environments and educational institutes, they stand out as top professionals in the business. It begs the question, why do some professionals, regardless of their nationality or background become more successful and end up with a better career than others?
It is very evident that those who don’t stop at what they have achieved or rest on their laurels are visibly making a difference with their contributions and are leading the industry to newer dimensions every day.
Some may claim that those individuals had the benefit of a better education or graduated from the world’s top universities or they had mentors and friends that helped them get to where they are. While there is no doubt that quality education, additional coaching, mentoring and connections do help, I can assure you that I have met many with none of that and yet succeeded. So how did they achieve this and what can we do to achieve the same?
Continuous learning and development
The celebrated speaker and author Brian Tracy was right when he said that “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.”
I firmly believe that continuous learning and development is the key and is not acquired by chance – it must be attempted ardently and carefully. The world has changed since we have left our universities and it keeps changing daily. We need to change and adapt, learn and adopt. If we resist learning, we resist growing, we place ourselves in a situation where we and our capabilities can be underestimated.
Evolving from formal academic qualifications to building credentials requires one to place importance in incessant learning and professional development. We need to be competitive – we are designed to be competitive, that’s how we got where we currently are – that’s how we will create consistent and successive triumphs for ourselves.
Learning programs – offline and online
Today, thanks to the onslaught of digital technology, the ubiquitous smartphone and tablet, there are a plethora of online courses and programs around us in our specific field of work.
I am particularly fond of LinkedIn, as this platform has some great courses that one can enrol in and as a premium member it costs us nothing. There are other great online platforms like Edex, The Open University and Udemy where courses are either free or available at a very nominal charge. There are also a whole host of free videos on YouTube and if we want to go that extra mile and earn top credentials then almost every large institute and university including the Ivy League ones like Yale, Harvard and Stanford have distance learning programs for working professionals.
Plenty of schools, colleges, institutes and universities in our local area will offer executive education, evening classes, workshops and seminars. Simply said, we can learn almost anything we want to at the price we are most comfortable with and at the time of our choosing. The important thing is that we keep learning.
Networking with peers and gurus
Networking with peers and especially successful ones is one great way of learning about not only the business but its social aspects. Getting in touch with the gurus of our industry helps us get deeper insights into the profession and learn from the depths of their experience. We can meet such gurus and leaders at conferences, seminars, masterclasses and workshops. My association with the gurus of my industry in my formative years has been instrumental in others considering me a guru as well.
For those of us who are shy or may not know how to get started, there are many networking groups available online and offline. LinkedIn Groups, Meetup.com groups and other such platforms connect us with like-minded professionals, and it doesn’t take long to find professional groups in our locality or city. The Dubai Community Managers for example regularly meet on the Last Thursday of every month in a local pub or restaurant. I have been hosting these for several years and it has always been quite popular. There are groups available for every profession one can think. Sometimes a simple Google search will reveal them.
Joining an Institute or Chapter
Every profession out there has some kind of institute, club or platform to bring its professional industry together. For real estate management professionals specifically, there are international organisations like the Community Associations Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), CoreNET, FIABCI and many other international bodies that have large membership that cater to very specific aspects of the real estate management spectrum.
For CX professionals, the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) a global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and cultivation of the CX profession is quite popular. The Customer Service Institute of America is a body that serves the needs of American CX professionals while the Institute of Customer Service focusses on the UK market.
Similarly, there are institutes and chapters for every profession one can think of. Joining these can have a very dramatic effect on our professional future.
Volunteering and Service
Dieter F. Uchtdorf once said, “As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.”
I can truly say that there is no better feeling and sense of fulfilment than being of service to others whether professionally or personally. Not only does it do wonders to our personal wellbeing it also makes us better professionals as it teaches us humility, empathy and patience, not to mention the wisdom it naturally brings us. By teaching others from our expertise and experience, not only are we making the world a better place, but we are also teaching the next generation.
While we can volunteer in our professional sphere of influence, we can (and we should) volunteer in causes that we believe in or support. There are many charities and bodies of service out there who are calling for our help and they need our experience and expertise to enhance and promote their offerings.
My wife and I have been volunteering in the Marriage Encounter program for over a decade. Our work involves helping other couples in their marriages and parenting challenges. Not only has this helped scores of people, but the experience of volunteering has also taught me to be a better husband, father and subsequently a better human being.
In summary, it is clear that continuous learning, networking and volunteering if practised sincerely will take us to greater heights in our careers and personal lives.