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The essential imperative of teamwork

Expertise can come from anywhere on our team, and we at DLC are designed to thrive in this way.
Ifshin: "I believe people miss the connectivity they have in the office."

Prospective DLC employees are often taken aback when they open the careers page on our website. The first thing they see is not a job title with a list of desired professional attributes. The first list they see asks them who they are before bothering to scroll down to the job description.

Are you self-confident, but devoid of an overbearing ego?

Are you unafraid to tell us what you don’t know and eager to learn new things?

When your teammates are knocked down, are you there to help them get back on track?

Do you refuse to back down when a situation appears bleak or unsolvable?

Do you value team wins over personal victories?

We find ourselves in a very unusual time in the real estate business. The perception of the business among investors is not good. Deals are harder to do and take longer to close than they were just a few years ago. Cohesive teamwork and personal interaction is critical in helping us focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative. It’s the only way that ensures we will have our key players in the game in a given situation, and that the rest of the team will support them.

We recently were presented with an opportunity to recapitalize an asset and introduce a multifamily component. It was the first time we would be dealing with non-retail development, and that meant our leasing and asset management teams had to have open minds and learn about that other discipline. The best knowledge we had on the subject within our team was a 23-year-old analyst. We paired him with a senior person who taught him how to obtain the entitlements to go ahead with the construction.

Expertise can come from anywhere on our team, and we are designed to thrive in this way. The ability to leverage experience with specialized knowledge is part of how we can consistently get the job done – in whatever facet of real estate it might be. A successful center anchored by At Home and Hobby Lobby is now more valuable with residential in the mix, and we were able to increase the ratables for the municipality.

Dedicated teamwork proves extremely valuable in emergency situations. After Hurricane Ian hit Southwestern Florida last November, one of our centers was hit hard. We had a Sprouts, a Starbucks, and a bank that needed to be rebuilt. Our construction team couldn’t reach anyone in the town’s building department to obtain the permits we needed.

Our locally based property manager knew the town’s building department was out looking at houses damaged from the storm and would not be committing time to being in the office taking on commercial issues. But she knew where he got coffee every morning and she was able to connect with him and we had permits in 5 days. It’s that kind of resourcefulness that is a driver of teamwork.

There are thousands of people qualified for the careers we list on our website, but there are few that have the personal makeup and team dedication that we are searching for in that first list of questions at the top. We often do six or seven interviews with candidates to make sure that they’re the team members that we want. I may bring them into my office and have them tell me about their life stories. I want to know about their childhoods. Did you play any team sports? Volunteer in any charitable organizations? Did you have brothers and sisters and how did you interact with them? And maybe more important, were you and are you always there to help them if they need it?

By focusing on fit and personal attributes we have a more engaged team that works well together. This leads to our ongoing ability to remain successful through any cycle and hold a retention rate consistently better than the industry average.

 We are invested in the training and development of our teammates and want them to build a successful career here. We encourage teammates get exposure to different areas of the business and many of our teammates have risen through organization in nonlinear ways.

On a recent Saturday morning, 13 of our employees got together for a charity bike ride. It was a cold, disgusting day, but all stayed and participated and helped in raising $40,000. Afterward, I offered to take them out for lunch and just about all of them came.

I believe people miss the connectivity they have in the office. They miss the all-important personal interaction. We want to give them as much interaction as we can.

At DLC we believe life is too short to just have a job and, for DLC to thrive, we make sure our people thrive.

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