Considering the NRTA's Expanding Knowledge Conference?
How to Get Management Approval
You’re not alone if there are times you feel as though you’re operating in a vacuum while wrestling with a landlord/tenant dilemma. Do you follow your instincts…and investigate the issue further? Are you prepared to question status quo procedures? More importantly, are you prepared to offer a better procedure or solution? Or, under pressure to move on to other pressing matters, you find yourself frustrated and wishing for a better way.
If any portion of this scenario sounds familiar, then you need to get yourself to the NRTA's Expanding Knowledge conference. You need to spend three days networking and exchanging information with other lease specialists who are dealing with the same issues. And, with a little planning, you can help your department supervisor understand and agree that it’s a great idea for you to attend!
NRTA's Expanding Knowledge Conference: an industry standard
Start your conference review by understanding that over the last 22 years, the Expanding Knowledge conference has become an industry standard. It is this “quest for information and exchange of best practices” that was at the very heart of NRTA’s creation by founders Moe Laliberte and Paul Kinney. Reflecting back upon their decision to host a small gathering of their retail lease administration peers in Boston, Moe recalls how they spent hours encouraging retailers to send their lease administrators to the meeting. “We thought we might attract about 50 other lease administrators. Incredibly, over 200 lease administrators joined us. We spent hours exchanging best practices. We could have spent an entire week.”
A proven Return on Investment
People attending that first conference returned to their companies energized with tried and true solutions. It was an investment that paid back measurably in dollars recovered to the bottom line. The same holds true today. Understanding this return on investment is important as you prepare to explain to your supervisor why you should attend.
Today, as Executive Director of the NRTA, Paul is still encouraging retailers to send their lease administration specialists to the Expanding Knowledge conference. He insists, “Keeping ahead of today’s complicated lease options is vital. The consequences, if handled badly, can be devastating. There is no other place for a lease administration professional to find the newest trends, innovations, and technologies.”
Your attendance is essential
Lease administration professionals who are better prepared are an asset to their company. Regardless of the size of their organization, conference attendees consistently attain improvements and savings. You need to help your supervisor better understand how the investment of your time and resources translates into a common goal of improved performance and results that will be repaid many times over.
Your first step
Take a few minutes to consider Why You Should Attend. As a lease administrator you need to maximize your ability to manage leases effectively and control occupancy costs to build company profits.
Having the ability to benchmark your lease administration methods against the best in the industry is critical. Networking with your peers in face-to-face interactive discussions is an invaluable experience. Exploring industry products and services available to your team, while learning from industry experts how to incorporate these lessons, can literally change the way you do business.
Review the agenda–and your plan–with your supervisor
The full Expanding Knowledge conference brochure is available online once published each year (typically in May). Identify educational sessions and networking events that relate to your position and responsibilities, then review the course descriptions with your supervisor–who ultimately needs to support the decision for you to attend the conference.
Some attendees recommend making a list of benefits and a plan of action prior to the conference. Then, review them with your supervisor. This not only demonstrates your commitment, but also allows the supervisor to effectively appreciate the actual pluses of your attending the conference. One attendee called it “a great exercise that helped both my supervisor and myself to ‘get on the same page’.” In fact, a few days after their discussion the supervisor decided to join her at the conference so she could better prepare herself for the introduction of planned CAM desktop auditing applications.
Create a winning Request for Approval
As a former director of real estate for a restaurant chain, Paul agreed that a formal request to a supervisor is a useful practice. He acknowledged, “It demonstrates your commitment to department goals and company success. It provides management with a chance to review, and buy in to the investment and payback rationale.”
He added that many attendees report that upon returning to their respective companies, they not only submit a report to their supervisor; they also establish internal discussion groups in which they share lesson plans and best practices obtained at the conference. This collective experience helps reinforce team building benefits.
Your check list:
- Prepare your intended schedule for review with your supervisor
- Be prepared to explain how these education sessions will be valuable to your responsibilities
- Review your department challenges, and discuss the specific NRTA sessions that will help you to better meet them
- Provide a list of resource companies that will be exhibiting at the NRTA's Expanding Knowledge trade show, and indicate whether discussions with them might be helpful to your function
- Include the cost of registration, airfare, ground transportation, meals and lodging
- Plan an information-sharing step to be implemented upon your return
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