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QLD Article

Delivering Value in Strata

Economists describe value as being a measure of the benefit provided by a good or service to an economic agent. It is generally measured through units of currency, and the interpretation is therefore "what is the maximum amount of money a specific actor is willing and able to pay for the good or service.”

Human beings do not assess value rationally. Coal and diamonds are both made up of carbon. One is useful and helps generate electricity, the other mostly ornamental, and outside of mining has no discernible function. Coal retails at $196.00 a tonne at the time of writing, whilst diamonds can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, what does this have to do with strata? A whole lot. One of the key things to remember about human beings is we are social, emotional creatures who value quality relationships above all else.

How an experience makes you feel is highly subjective. If I handed you a sweaty sock, you couldn’t care less and would probably be a little disgusted to be frank. If David Beckham handed you one, you’d either take it home and frame it or chuck it on eBay as soon as possible.

The same thing goes for customer service. A barista with the right attitude, a warm smile and engaging demeanour will keep you going to your local even if it is twice the price of servo coffee.

What does this mean for strata professionals, particularly as more and more consumers are exposed to you? You have to go beyond the bare minimum of rigid, basic workflow and pro forma meeting minutes and documents and help ensure the experience of lot owners in your schemes is enhanced.

What does this look like in real terms. Minor dispute between owners? Can you use your legislative knowledge and people skills to mediate? Can you keep contractors honest when it comes to delivering quality scheme maintenance? Can you provide warm, well communicated guidance to your committees when they seek advice?

This is the value proposition of the strata manager. Technical, black letter knowledge has never been so freely available. More and more people are trying to disrupt traditional industries by augmenting tech and the skills of lay people. It’s already here in strata and a very real threat to our business model as strata managers- if we don’t adapt to deliver real value.

Strata management, is increasingly, probably not the right word for what our members do. It is more like strata advising or consulting; providing guidance, insight, and clear communication to lot owners, who are often emotional. This is where the value in strata managers really is. Emotionally intelligent individuals combining their soft skills with legislative knowledge and going that extra mile to ensure that a scheme is well run, and its’ residents are happy. This is how we envision strata managers delivering value into the future.

Strata managers delivering value is about how you interact with people and their most important financial and personal asset - their home. I could labour any of the multitude of metaphors about homes we have in our culture, but I will just say, they are important to human beings.

Where our managers deliver value in people’s homes is by using their insight, intellect and unique skills to help make peoples homes more liveable.

Strata professionals need to carry themselves in a way which helps deliver better homes, better communities and above all, value to their clients. Delivering minutes, agendas and little else will see you go the way of the dodo.

I am confident our push towards higher standards of education and professionalism in strata will help enhance our value proposition. Legislative rigour, strategic decision making and skilful negotiation and management of not just assets, but people will be the hallmarks of this industry.

Strata started its life as a cottage industry 60 years ago or so in New South Wales. Few would have predicted the enormous complex buildings and schemes we now see as workaday. These schemes are monuments to human engineering, intellect, and ability to organise. But to deliver value to the inhabitants, our approach must change. We don’t want our strata managers to be engaging in transactional low skill work, we want them using the full breadth of their skills to help build and maintain harmonious, homely communities.



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