March Madness is quickly rolling up on the basketball loving populous, who are fervently watching the early games and still filling out their brackets with pencils.  Now, outside of college football, I’m not the world’s most “sports oriented” person, but I’ll admit that March Madness gets to me every year…right until the K-State Wildcats leave the court.  Then I’m done for the year.

What makes me scream the occasional expletive from the couch when I watch the games, more than anything, is the number of times someone is fouled, they step up to the top of the key, take the free throw shot …AND MISS.

It annoys me to no end.  They literally have nothing else going on in that moment, no obstacle except for one that can be fully anticipated (the space to the basket), and no one is allowed to block them, touch them, mess with them, steal the ball, etc… and then they miss?  Are you kidding me!?

I won’t pretend to have been awesome at sports in high school, but I did spend a couple years as team manager, and what I remember, besides the haunting smell of sweaty towels, are the words of Coach Holly Brown:  “You have no excuse for missing a free throw.”  When her players missed them with anything less than 95% accuracy, they ran laps.  A lot of laps.

Harsh?  Maybe, but I think there’s merit to the attitude.

Free throws are the one thing you can practice.  The one thing you can do over and over and over again until muscle memory kicks in and your body can just naturally do it with over 90% accuracy.  Sure, it takes time, and I’m sure that the esteemed and wickedly talented (in both basketball and property management)Mike Brewer would agree with me that practicing free throws isn’t one of the more enjoyable parts of playing basketball, but it’s something you have to do, because it’s part of being proficient in playing the game.

In that vein of thought, consider this list of behaviors:

  • Asking for the deposit on every tour

  • Making sure the office and tour route are clean and neat and ready for company every morning

  • Calling a resident to check and see if a work order has been completed correctly

  • Following up with a prospective resident after a tour

  • Recognizing when a team member has gone above and beyond, and rewarding them.

  • Calling back a resident who has left a message with the office

  • Wearing shoe covers into a resident’s apartment when completing a work order

  • Smiling at residents and prospective residents. EVERY TIME.

If these things seem simple and common sense to you, it might be because they ARE simple and common sense.  These are things that you should be doing day to day without having to think about how to do them. These are things you must master to be proficient in your job. These, ladies and gentlemen, are your free throws.

I don’t care how bad of a day you’re having.

I don’t care if you don’t like this resident because they’re crazy.

I don’t care if you’re hung-over from last night.

Take this moment right here and swear to yourself that, this season, you WILL make your free throws.  The only way to be sure is to practice these moves until they become something that you automatically do, every time.

Because, let’s face it… Coach Brown was right.  You really have no excuse to miss them.

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