Jim KjolhedeWhen you’re a consultant, companies don’t usually bring you in because things are rosy. You’re typically brought on board because an issue has gotten to the point that it cannot be solved internally.

I’ve always been of the opinion that it never hurts to bring in outside blood, and that’s a lesson I learned on the hardwood.

As a graduate assistant, I was part of a new coaching staff for the Kent State basketball team. The Golden Flashes were coming off an abysmal 6-21 season and needed some serious help. Our new staff was able to resurrect things quickly, and we more than doubled our win total the first season, finishing 13-14.

That season planted the seed. I was enamored with the prospect of coming into a dire situation and fixing things quickly. Sometimes it’s a matter of making a slight tweak to operations. Other times an entire culture overhaul is needed. I wanted to be the one to diagnose the root of the problem and devise a plan.

Basketball continued to steer me in that path. Shortly after Kent State, I was hired as a head coach at SUNY Morrisville, a junior college in New York. The Mustangs were even farther in the hole, as they were coming off a near-rock-bottom 3-16 season. We improved to 15-9 the next season and 19-5 the next.

I’ve witnessed a lot of parallels in the multifamily industry that relate to those basketball teams. Heck, I’ve even developed metaphors for property management teams (the leasing team is your offense, etc.). But when I look at companies that might have steered down the wrong path or are dealing with a complicated situation, there’s always a solution. I’ve yet to encounter a problem that is unfixable.

The point is, just like those basketball teams that appeared down and out, things don’t have to remain futile for long. As many industry professionals can attest, it’s often difficult to look at things from a big-picture perspective when you’re mired in the day-to-operations of a company.

Sometimes it’s a matter of bringing in outside blood. And oftentimes, the changes you’re looking for happen sooner rather than later.