‘Do you want fries with that?’ This is the most frequently asked question of any fast food aficionado. Why this is asked should be obvious, its sells extra product to existing customers.
The more interesting question is how do you get a bunch of teenage kids to ask this routinely? Parents have failed for generations to get their children to do what they want them to do but hamburger chains seem to be able to do it within the first shift.
The answer is that somebody at the restaurant understands what it means to develop a particular culture within the organization, in this case the culture of ‘up selling’. The restaurateur has a commitment to an idea – sell more products to existing customers. This has been followed by implementation of a system to make it happen – the cash register prompts the kid to ask the question. Someone is monitoring and measuring the results of the program to reward the best and retrain the slackers. And lastly, someone is responsible for driving continual improvement – for example developing a system that provides a different prompt if fries are already part of the order, ‘Would you like to upsize that meal for an extra dollar?’ Everyone on the team knows what to do, they have a system to help them do it and although it’s a bit creepy, they know they are being watched to make sure the job is done and that’s ok because it’s all for the common good.
The responsibility of an owners corporation, we have learnt, is to care for and maintain the common property of the block. The owners must do this within the context of a set of laws about the management of strata property and a broader set of laws and standards imposed by government and society on groups functioning in our world. Adhering to the requirements of law and accepted social and ethical standards about the common property of our apartment building is not nearly as exciting or as profitable as selling more fries and is about as interesting to apartment owners as selling food is to teenagers who would much prefer to be eating it. Understanding then the requirements of an owners corporation, how do we get people to do what’s required? As the restaurateur developed a culture of up selling, so we must create within our strata communities and organisations a culture of compliance.