Water Works of Texas Blog
How to Demonstrate Respect without Opening Your Mouth
According to anthropologist Edward T. Hall, up to 60 percent of all human communication is non-verbal. Understanding this fact will help you learn how you can demonstrate respect to others without ever opening your mouth. This is a great skill to learn because the more you listen and the less you speak, the more people respect you and perceive you as intelligent, helpful and creative.
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is really tricky. You want to make eye contact but you don’t want to stare crazily at people and make them feel uncomfortable. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and it is true that you can tell a lot about a person by looking them in the eye.
In a group situation, always make eye contact with the person speaking, and then generously spread around the eye contact as people respond to the speaker. When listening, it’s good to break eye contact every four to six seconds so that the person doesn’t feel creeped out by your gaze.
In a one-on-one situation, if someone is talking a long time you can look at their mouth part of the time and they’ll feel more comfortable. Try looking at their mouth, each eye, their hair, and moving your gaze around but focus mostly on listening to what they are saying.
Learn to Shake Hands Properly
When you first meet someone, usually people shake hands. Some people get really carried away and shake too hard. Some people, often women, tend to shake hands too lightly with a very limp wrist. This can feel kind of like shaking hands with a wet noodle and is very unappealing.
Both ways of hand shaking can make the person look less than confident. One is over-compensating and one is downplaying their importance. Both have bad reactions from others and neither should be continued. Both men and women should shake hands in essentially the same way.
To shake hands properly, look the person in the eye, put out your right hand, grasp the offered hand firmly but don’t squeeze hard. Pump your hand up and down three or four times and that’s it. Mind whose hand you’re shaking, too. If it’s an elderly person or a small person, don’t squeeze as hard. When appropriate it’s okay to do the double handshake where you enclose their hand in yours with both hands.
Keep Your Body Posture Open
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do when you’re standing there without a podium or anything to protect you. Your arms feel heavy and you do the worst thing ever - you put your hands in your pockets or you cross your arms, thus hiding your hands. Try to stand with an open posture with your hands to your side so that you can use them freely for gesturing.
Do What You Say You’ll Do
No talking needed to follow up and do what people expect you to do. Doing what you told people you’ll do is one of the most important things you can do to show your respect for people. What’s great about this is that it really doesn’t require anything extra out of you, just sticking to your promises. Remember to always under promise and over deliver and you’ll always manage to accomplish this.
Lean in to Show Interest
When someone is talking, instead of leaning away and doing something else like checking a text message, get rid of the technology, lean in and truly listen to what the person is saying. Listen with your ears, your eyes and your body language by leaning toward the speaker a little.
Always smile at people when you greet them and when they are talking as you’re listening - unless, of course, they’re talking about something sad or horrible. Be sensible in your smiling so you don’t look crazy. You don’t have to smile in a huge way; just turn the corners of your lips up a bit and put a smile in your eyes as you listen.
Face People Who Are Speaking to You
When someone is speaking, it’s important that you face them as they speak. Turning your back, looking around, looking at electronics, and doing something other than facing the speaker will look disrespectful.
Acknowledge “Comfort Zones”
People have different comfort zones for personal space, but in general it’s about 30 inches. Keep that in mind when you’re standing in a group, leaning in, or you're conversing with people. Staying in their space too long will make the person uncomfortable and feel disrespected.
Keep in mind that these suggestions assume American, Canadian or Western ideas of respect. If you are dealing with other cultures, be sure to look into what different gestures mean by simply typing in the name of the country, and “gestures” to a search engine. Don’t underestimate the power that these suggestions will have on your interactions with others.
Respect and Integrity Go Hand in Hand
At Water Works of Texas, our primary aim is to create a highly-regarded and respectful atmosphere which includes a team of people that are full of integrity.
Reach out to us today for your multifamily water billing needs and experience a business that stands by our core values of integrity and excellence.
Master the Art of Delegation and Increase Your Productivity
As a busy manager, it can seem impossible to get everything done. Do you look around at others and wonder how they get so much done and make it look so easy? There are some tried and true methods for getting more done each day that you may not have considered.
Begin Delegating Today
Is there something you procrastinate doing? Find someone else to do it. It might be dealing with customer service or even clearing your inbox. It's up to you what you choose to delegate.
If you learn to delegate well, you’ll have more time to devote your energy to more important tasks that only YOU can do, provide employment for another person, and (since it’s likely someone else can do the tasks better than you) make yourself look even more amazing due to the good choices you make.
Streamline Your Processes
Go through the processes you use to do tasks now, and write them down so that you can figure out how to streamline the workflow. However, do keep in mind that contractors are mostly concerned with output, so this process is more for your benefit to find out what types of things you can delegate. An example would be repetitive tasks like data entry, billing, collections, and marketing.
Choose the Right Professional for the Task
When you know what tasks you want to outsource, it’s important to find the right people for the job. To get the most for your money, choose someone who likes doing it, wants to do it, and considers it their expertise. In other words, don’t expect to hire one person who can do everything perfectly. Hire multiple service providers to do one or two things very well.
Set Clear Expectations from the Beginning
Provide the service provider with your requirements, deadlines, scope of authority, purpose, goals and objectives, and tools available to them. Then sit back, and let them do their job. They are the experts! In many cases, contractors want you to focus more on deadlines and desired outcomes than too many details. How they get something done should not be as important as the results of their work.
Feedback is Essential
Open up the communication by asking the service provider if they have any questions based on your instructions. You need to get back to them quickly with your answers. This will improve your relationship and create a fruitful partnership.
As often as is practicable give constructive feedback. This is especially true if you would like something done differently than what they turned in but you still want to keep working with the person. First, give compliments on what is good, then what could be improved upon, and finally something positive to help build up the confidence of the contractor.
Let It Go and Reap the Rewards
Always stay mindful of the consequences of being disorganized and unproductive. As a manager, everything rides on your ability to be able to plan, organize and implement all the tasks and projects you need to do on any given day, week, month, quarter and year. As you create processes, implement them, and delegate some, you'll be amazed at how productive you are.
The best way to become a master delegator is to let go and just do it. Start with something small such as outsourcing your email, data entry, billing, social media marketing, or graphic design. Write a list of everything that needs to be done to successfully manage your office and try to outsource as much as you can to see how it comes together. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Water Works of Texas knows the value of delegation and strives to help Texas property managers increase their productivity by utilizing the service and technology we provide with our water billing services. Our services free up their time to be as productive as they desire to be.
Reach out to us today at http://www.waterworksoftx.com/contact-us and let us help you increase your productivity.
Stay in Control and Use These Water Saving Tips
Water utility rates are increasing in 2016! NOW is the time to start implementing best practices in your home to reduce water usage in order to offset the rising costs!
There is no doubt you will noticeably feel the effects of this increase and you are going to need to know ways you can keep your water bill under control.
Implement some or ALL of these tips to reduce your monthly water usage:
Ø Reduce showers from 10 minutes down to 5 minutes
Ø Turn off water while brushing teeth
Ø Plug sink instead of running water to rinse your razor while shaving
Ø Report leaking faucet immediately to maintenance supervisor
Ø Only use dishwasher when full of dishes
Ø Only wash laundry when full of clothes
Ø Check toilets for leaks and report immediately to management
Ø Use short wash cycles on dishwasher and clothes washer
Ø Use one drinking glass per person each day for less dishes to wash
Ø Wash fruits and vegetables in pan of water instead of running water
When running a bath, plug bathtub before turning on water. Adjust temperature as tub fills
Ø Turn off water while washing hair
Ø Turn water off while soaping hands
Ø Re-use towels to reduce laundry
Ø Cook food in as little water as possible
Teach your children these tips!!!
Rise In Class Action Lawsuits - Targets Property Owners
What you need to know to reduce your risk.
Recently, we were informed of at least seven class-action lawsuits filed against apartment community operators and owners in Texas. These lawsuits arising out of alleged improper water billing practices can be financially devastating to communities across Texas. According to John Sepehri, TAA General Council, “This may be the leading edge of a growing spate of lawsuits.”
According to a recent TAA article, “Recent class action lawsuits take aim at apartment community operators over water and drainage charges” By John Sepehri, TAA General Counsel, states there are three categories of alleged water code/regulation violations:
· In one set of claims, the class-action representatives assert violations of the Texas Water Code based on an allegedly illegal one-time “Water Connection Fee” or “Account Activation Fee” imposed at move-in
· In a second set of related claims, the class plaintiffs allege that owners/operators charged them excessive fees for late payment of water bills, in violation of the Water Code and their lease agreements
· The third set of claims involve allegations that owners/operators have improperly charged monthly “Drainage Fees” intended to recoup costs of storm water or drainage charges
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to your local apartment association right away because this is money you can control!
Meanwhile, at Water Works we understand hiring, training, managing and successfully maintaining a staff that is proficient in utility billing can be a hindrance to your day-to-day operations. Ensuring your on-site staff is proficient in ever-changing utility regulations requires time, money and resources- and as noted above, arbitration can be catastrophic! That’s why having us manage your critical utility-billing processes, including revenue cycle management, helps put your property on stable ground with less risk.
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13 Lessons in 13 Years in Business
1. Water Works of Texas Began on a Big Chief Notebook and a Number 2 Pencil
Starting out doesn't have to be fancy- Eventually, those notes will transform into a business plan. Don’t worry about filling in blanks for some banker; rather invest your time on creating your Success Plan! Once you’ve clearly marked out YOUR plan for success, then and only then, begin a formal business plan. Regard your business plan as a document that holds you accountable to pursuing your dream of success! Read through it regularly. It’s worthless if you aren’t going to use it every single day. If you don’t plan your success, it’s not going to fall in your lap.
2. Release the Dream Killers
You know who or what they are. Dream killers can be negative naysayers in your life that do not believe in your vision and goals for your company. Dream killers can also be your own self-talk. What thoughts run through your mind? Are they positive thoughts or negative thoughts? Evaluate your self-talk and envision yourself and your business succeeding and take action on your dreams. Be sure to keep negative influences at arms-length so as not to bring you down and hold you back from accomplishing your dreams.
3. A Balanced Mind-Set is Important
Keeping a healthy mind-set is essential because you're going to need it! As business owners, we are inundated with tasks, decisions, and problems that crop up all day long. It is important to list our priorities and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Having a healthy ratio of work and rest will help us be more balanced and successful long-term. Too much work or not enough work are both counter-productive. We will either experience burnout really quick and give up and get discouraged, or not get anything done if we don’t keep ourselves in check with a healthy balance of both.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Outsource
If you can hire and delegate tasks to other people, you can give them the work that is repetitive and spend more time developing your vision and growth of your company. When you start outsourcing, you will work less, grow your business faster, free up your time, and multiply your income. If you try to do it all yourself, your business growth will be much slower because you can only do so much in a 24 hour day.
5. Perpetual Learning is Key to Your Success
Stay on top of the trends and current events in your industry and profession. Learn new ways of marketing and more efficient ways of running your business. A great tool to find answers to your business questions is online at Thrive15. They’ve got a huge library of 15 minute online courses taught by millionaires, mentors and everyday entrepreneurial success stories. Even the busiest people can find 15 minutes that will help transform their business. If you’re an avid-reader there are literally 100’s of great business books out there to choose from. You should never stop learning new things as the world is constantly changing and developing around you and you don’t want your business to grow stagnant and outdated. Be on the cutting edge!
6. Admit You Don't Know It All
Never think that you know everything there is to know about your business. Study your competitors and see what processes and procedures work for them. You may be able to apply the same ideas to your own business and surpass the competition. Have a learning mindset and listen to the people you work with. You can learn a great deal from coworkers, employees, and customers if you take the time to listen and pay attention. Gaining a new perspective may unexpectedly catapult your business to a new level of success if you are open-minded.
7. Hire Well
Hire employees that will compensate for your weaknesses. If you struggle with certain tasks, don’t waste time floundering around when you can hire someone that can do it much better than yourself. Hiring professionals for tasks such as accounting, marketing, and graphic design is smart if you aren’t gifted in those areas. Focus on growing your business while hiring the right people that will make it happen.
8. Let Go of the Problem Clients
We have all been told the “customer is always right”. Sometimes, we have customers that literally suck the life out of our business and us as well. If you find yourself spending way too much time trying to please one or two clients that do not make a significant portion of your revenue, then it may be time to let them go. Clients that don’t align with your principals and business ethics will also create more headaches in the long-term.
9. Be Yourself
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be honest with yourself. Your customers will be able to discern if you are authentic. Let your true personality shine and build relationships with your employees, business associates, and clients in an honest and straightforward way. It will pay off in the future if you are transparent in all your relationships from the start.
10. Discipline is Key
Develop clear and precise systems and procedures to be more efficient. Make sure your business can run on autopilot as much as possible without you being present. You have achieved true success if you can go away on vacation and your business still makes you money while you are gone. Plus, your business will be worth more when you have proven systems and a process manual in place. Working hard and putting the time in upfront in developing systems for your business is well worth the time and effort.
11. Live By the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle, or “80/20 Rule”, is an incredible tool for growing your business. For example, if you know which 20% of your time produces 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Your business growth can be exponential if you apply this principle correctly.
12. Be a Legacy Leader
Jim Rohn said it best about what it looks like to be a true leader:
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
13. Customer Service is Key
To the customer, whoever answers the phone, responds to a text, chat, email or social media post IS THE COMPANY. The voice. The brand! Your client’s are the life-blood of your business. Without a paying client, there is no business. Building a relationship with your client should be one of the most important tasks on your to do list. To date, I have yet to find a book that even comes close to the insights, Lee Cockerell delivers in his book “Creating Magic” 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. Clearly Disney is one of the world’s most recognizable names. Get to know the man who inspired Disney’s culture of excellence, experience, brand loyalty and more! Begin setting the tone for excellence in your organization, because you will have a customer for life if you offer exceptional service.