Staying ahead of the curve in multifamily
Patrick Antrim is coming to Shadow Summit this fall to speak on innovation in multifamily. He’s the CEO of Multifamily Leadership, a thought leadership platform providing streaming content around technology, innovation and leadership. We spoke with him about the talent gap in multifamily, and what it really takes for organizations to stay ahead of the curve.
What trends are you most excited about in multifamily right now?
A lot of the focus has been on trends that impact the customer journey or improve operational efficiencies, whether that’s tools to improve the leasing journey or to maintain assets better.
The leader of today is expecting to have a seamless process at work, just like in the real world. If you think about how tech is changing the way we work, we’re training people on processes that technology will eliminate. That creates a challenge for apartment owners to retain and attract talent. And so, there’s a shift to have people in the industry have more emotional intelligence over the business unit, to adopt and build out new technologies as they move forward.
What is the role of emotional intelligence in innovation?
What creates culture is what the leader brings to the table. Leaders have to understand the feelings, the emotions that people are having while seeing what they’re familiar with be evolved into something new — how that impacts confidence, and their ability to create value. Understanding the perspective of what another is going through, especially if that’s a customer, impacts our ability to create results.
Innovation is often confused with technology. With us, innovation is always about people.
How can we address the growing talent crisis in multifamily?
The reason kids grow up wanting to be firefighters, teachers, and police officers, is because they see that on TV. They watch and learn. Stories are powerful; they can impact communities, impact careers, and impact results. When we’re introducing a new culture or technology, we’ve got to find a great way to tell that story and engage that audience.
What practical tips do you have for leaders seeking to stay on the edge of the innovation curve?
I start looking at what my kids are doing. They’re in high school so I’m looking at how they’re interacting and how they’re behaving. That’s gonna be the customer journey of tomorrow.
Competition comes down to the attention span of the ideal client that you have. We’re focused on video in our streaming platform because we believe that video is a great way to transfer knowledge. The changes are coming so fast, we find that’s the only way to reach people where they are. For example, there are 12.3 M jobs that support the infrastructure around the [multifamily] industry. Our largest event has 11,000 people. Between that annual conference every year, a lot of things happen. How do we get out information to make the decisions we need to make for our business and ourselves?
It’s time to think bigger and differently about how buildings are built.
Who are the thought leaders you turn to to keep an eye on the future of multifamily?
The automotive industry inspires me, because there are a lot of parallels with multifamily. The people in the business have been there a long time; there are legacy companies and associations who are invested in keeping a certain status quo in place.
An innovator like Elon Musk is focused on the customer, the product, and changing the world — and that led to building electric vehicles that people are actually interested in buying. If you look at the apartment industry, tech is going to impact it one way or another. The world is gonna change and probably more quickly than people expect. It’s time to think bigger and differently about how buildings are built, how communities come together, and the world of innovation around us.
What do people get wrong about innovation in multifamily?
Their focus is not long term. Typically, current investors have structured deals under certain parameters, which means they have short-term challenges to overcome: vacant apartments, or a capital event that has to occur. So they rush the process. Anytime you rush a process, nothing good happens. Another thing is, innovation is often confused with technology. With us, innovation is always about people. What it comes down to is, who’s on your team, can they identify innovation, and bring it into the organization?