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“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Spend less time focusing on outcomes and more time focusing on the habits that precede the results.”

– James Clear

The book Atomic Habits by James Clear resonates with me deeply. Those who know me personally probably know why- I’m very much a creature of habit (perhaps to an extreme). This book, however, helped me shape both my personal life as well as to build a company that manages Houston homeowners associations and condominium associations.

Habits for Effective HOA/COA Management

I come from a family with a history of heart conditions. Some time ago I determined I wanted to be healthy enough and live long enough to make an impact on my kids’ and grandkids’ lives (as of this writing the count is still 0). Healthy habits I could control, like eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and drinking enough water, seemed like a logical place to start. I began carrying around a gallon water jug with tick marks for each hour of the workday. I filled it at the start of each day and wouldn’t leave the office until it was empty. Soon this became easier, and I started to notice benefits like healthier skin and increased energy. I had enough reinforcement to keep it going.

Habits, it seems, are like rabbits- they multiply. They provide a drum beat to build on. I added more consistent exercise to my morning routine. In the association management industry, Board Meetings are typically in the evenings making evening workouts a little unreliable. However, I’d never had a Board Meeting at 5 am. So, I began going to the gym early, before work. That started at two days a week. Those days I got to the office feeling like I had just climbed a mountain! I wondered, “Why wouldn’t I do this the other days too?” Soon enough, I adopted early workouts five days a week.

Of course, early mornings required early nights. On to the next habit – a consistent bedtime. This came with more benefits than simply feeling well-rested. I got more clear-headed, a better memory, and generally developed a better disposition, which is a benefit those around us certainly don’t mind.

Wouldn’t you know, when I ate certain foods before bed, it really impacted my sleep quality. I also started to notice certain foods really zapped my energy and fogged my head. I experimented with a variety of foods, quantities, and eating times that were both healthy and promoted high energy. I landed on a mix of mostly healthy greens, lean proteins, and low carbs (the thing that was making me so tired in the middle of the day!) I made those meals a part of my day, every day.

This might sound like a form of punishment. And what does this even have to do with managing homeowners associations? Admittedly, this is a conversation I have routinely. People ask me why I would choose to “take all the fun” out of daily life by choosing to eat the same meals every day. My response is usually the same: I never enjoyed deciding what to eat. I find having the extra time to be thoughtful, creative, and productive to be incredibly liberating. I have both more free time and more peace of mind knowing I’ve established a healthy habit. Going to the gym every morning is second nature and gives me both physical health and energy. Getting sleep and drinking plenty of water allows me to show up a version of myself that I seldom would have had access to without these habits.

The habits I developed form my wellness system. This repeating system is how I am able to maintain my health goals. However, I don’t just have health goals and likely neither do you. You have business goals, financial goals, social goals, and the like.

HOAs and Condo Board Habits to Thrive

At RISE Association Management Group, we work with homeowner associations and condominium associations to help them make their community thrive, however they may define it. HOA boards commonly look for a new management company because they feel like things are not getting done. Often, they like the people they’re working with, but important tasks happen too slowly, too inconsistently, too late, or not at all. When I hear these stories, my first question to the Board is, “What is your operating system to record and track your goals?” The usual response is, “That’s the management company’s responsibility, isn’t it?” YES! And yet- so few Houston HOA management companies would agree. This is where my daily salad becomes relevant.

In property management, it is very common for great community managers to work themselves to the burnout point, then either lose their motivation (and joy) for the job or leave the industry. We knew this when we started RISE and saw how it plagued HOA and Condo Management companies everywhere. How long would someone stay in a job where everything is reactive, there’s no framework for success, and the workload is 24/7? The answer is, not very long. We knew we had to solve this problem to build RISE into an extraordinary organization. My business partner, John Elmore, a United States Marine combat veteran and father of two, knew the power of routine both for running a team and keeping order in a household. To be great meant we had to create a system that produced greatness.

The RISE Operating System for Community Association Management

Every business runs on an operating system. Ours is no different- but what about your HOA/COA? Do they have an operating system? They need one just as any business does. RISE uses the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to run our business and the communities we manage. In this post we’re going to talk about one aspect of that system: Power Hour. In many ways this is the cornerstone of our operating system, which we have dubbed Execute.

A Habit to Give Rise to Systems

At RISE, Power Hour is the first hour of each day starting at 8:00 and going to 9:00. It consists of three key activities: Elevate, Plan, and Deploy. This hour is our force multiplier. When conducted consistently and with purpose, in conjunction with the right team, this hour can catapult your community to a new level of operational excellence.

Daily Elevate, How RISE Maintains Safety and Quality

Rise AMG Team
Rise AMG Team Power Hour

As a property manager, it is fundamental to know what’s going on around the property. Yet so many managers and teams start every day buried in emails or at meetings. Daily Elevate is how we empower our property managers and their teams to keep our communities looking and feeling like luxury resorts.

When you are responsible for managing a property it helps to know what is going on around the property. Yet, so many managers and teams first thing in the morning get buried in emails or meetings. Daily Elevate is how we help empower our property managers and their teams to keep our communities looking and feeling like luxury resorts. It’s how RISE achieves the highest standards in the industry. It’s simple: the first our of each day is sacred. No meetings, no conflicts, and we start on time. Each property is separated into zones. Each zone has an assigned team member and a QR code somewhere in that zone. Each morning the team member assigned to the zone goes into that zone and helps to “elevate” it by inspecting for issues that need attention and then scanning the QR code to upload their findings. Some zones may require work orders, supply refills, or tidying up while others may require nothing at all. Once the QR code is scanned the zone gets a score which, over time, contributes to a property’s overall Execution score (hence the name of our operating system: Execute). After a week each team member rotates zones to create cross-team accountability. Periodically each zone is audited by a member of our corporate quality assurance team. Seems simple enough, right? Clearly every property should do this, right? Well, they don’t and it is not because they don’t know that they should. There is a reason I’m comfortable posting this online where anyone can read it. The difference between knowing how to be great and running the system that produced great results is as vast as the difference between knowing the path of a marathon and actually running it. Or, as our marketing manager Ruben once told me, since everyone knows how to get into great shape, why isn’t everyone in great shape? The answer is because “you do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

This hour defines the RISE Daily Elevate program. It also exemplifies our belief in systems and habits. This practice provides a foundation for a successful on-site team and a community that can see an appreciable difference in the quality of the community. This proprietary quality assurance program is one way RISE is different than other HOA and condo management companies. We employ hundreds of processes that are measurable and trackable; results are shared transparently with clients. Everyone has a real-time view of what’s happening in the community. However, importantly, it is not the process itself that creates success or failure. It is OUR PEOPLE who share in the belief that pressure and time are our greatest allies and that healthy practices produce healthy results more often than not.

A home, be it a condo or single-family, is the biggest investment most people ever make. RISE understands residents expect protection for the value of their investment. Our Daily Elevate program is one way we enable HOAs and condo management boards to deliver this peace of mind. With just one hour a day!

RISE provides full-time staff and attention to meet the expectations of your community.

You get more effective and accountable HOA management with RISE by your side.

What systems is your association management company using? Contact us at [email protected] for a conversation to talk about the RISE way to help your board and community thrive.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado has nearly 20 years in association management, including risk, insurance, and financial management. Delgado has a BBA from The University of the Incarnate Word and an MBA from The University of Texas San Antonio. He was named one of Houston Business Journals' Most Admired CEOs in 2022 as well as is a Houston Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree.