Back to School for PHAs

The first day of school usually dawned foggy. The weather was cooling off significantly by then, and the onset of chilly mornings brought with it a blanket of fog that was comforting in a way… even at the beginning of September.  

The sight and smell of bright yellow busses, fresh notebooks, and newly sharpened pencils partner in a memorable dance of the senses that swirls around the mind every year around this time.  

These memories seem to hold a power all their own as Instantly transporting us back to the thoughts, feelings, and smells of going back to school.  Even though it may have been many years since nervously picking out that first day outfit, today we’re all going back together. 

PHAs can go “back-to-school” as well, and today we’re going to take a look at some strategies PHAs can implement to make the most of this national “reset button”. This can be a pivotal time of the year for public housing agencies. 

I hear the bell ringing…let’s get to class!   

 

I Like Your Outfit

There’s a popular saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” We all remember the importance of having the right clothes to start off the school year. The struggle of deciding who we wanted to be for the rest of the year rested on what we wore on that first day. Not to mention the confidence we all felt in feeling like we got it right. 

As you’re getting ready to head back to school, think about the clothes you’re going to wear. Ask yourself “How we can outfit ourselves for success?” It’s a great time to do some personal inventory, or even take a behavioral assessment or personality assessment with your team. Assessments like these can help you better understand how you respond to certain situations, what’s the best environment for your style, and how your staff can best be arranged for success.  

Think about it. Have you ever seen someone forced to wear something that is not their style? The person is uncomfortable, and it shows. When we aren’t in tune with our likes, dislikes, triggers, preferences, operational tendencies, etc. we are just like this person… uncomfortable. Not only that, but we can also become less confident. People who are forced to wear a style not their own tend to smile less, fidget more, and can’t wait to change. 

Utilizing behavioral and personality analysis programs can make sure we are dressed for success and ready for this new season of life. When used correctly, these analyses enhance our performance and the overall efficiency of our PHAs.  

 

Don’t Forget to Set Your Alarm 

With more families moving, more reexaminations, and more employee vacations to work around, summer has been a busy and chaotic time for our agencies. Now that school is starting back up around the country, we can all start looking forward to things slowing down a little. This is a great opportunity to revisit schedules, policies, and procedures that might not be serving us well. Remember, the first quarter of the school year is mostly refresher on things we have forgotten during our busy summer. We had to remember the school rules, find our class schedules and prep ourselves to get back in motion. PHAs can do the same. 

It’s a great chance for a reboot. 

Take stock of our goals for the next quarter and create an action plan for how to achieve them 

What goals have been set aside in favor of managing the chaos of a busy summer? Now is the time to revisit those goals and map out what it will take to cross them off our list.  

Perform a Quality Control review 

Now is the perfect time for this. PHAs still have the ability to correct any residual issues from the summer season. It’s important for us to do this prior to the end of the year so we can start fresh in January.  

Be intentional about reconnecting with our teams

When you step back into the halls of the school for the first time in a new school year, you spend a lot of those first few days reassociating with your friends and classmates. PHAs can mimic this with their internal teams.  Plan an all-staff meeting or event. It’s a great way to reconnect and reset expectations moving forward. You will also discover needs the team might have moving into the last quarter of the year. 

 

Newly Sharpened Pencils 

Remember that one kid who always had to ask for pencils or paper. There was always one who tended to be unprepared. Well, you don’t want your PHA to be that kid. It’s important to make sure we have supplies we need so we can stimulate high performance.  

It is our responsibility to make sure our agencies have everything they need to complete the tasks at hand. Take inventory and determine what, if any, tools your PHA might be missing.  

  • Is there training that needs to take place to ensure the staff is up to date?  
  • Are all our systems working properly and performing at expected levels?  
  • Where can we benefit from some extra organization?  

We must know what we are doing is working and be intentional about providing the tools that contribute to the success of our agency. Having the right supplies matters and can make a big difference in how prepared, confident, and efficient we are going forward.  

 

Make New Friends 

This one is exactly what it sounds like! 

PHAs have a tendency to isolate themselves and be more introverted in their industry. However, we need to put ourselves out there and make some new friends in our community. Join forces with other like-minded organizations, host an event to get to know the landlords in your community, be a part of what is happening in your jurisdiction.  

We all want the same thing… to meet the needs of our communities. What better way to do that than to partner with others committed to doing the same? 

 

It’s Going to be a Great Year 

Making the most of every opportunity we are given helps us to shine as a public housing agency. We won’t make a difference by shrinking into the shadows to simply exist alongside everyone else. If we want to make an impact, we have to put ourselves in the position to rise up when the chance presents itself. Back to School season is a perfect time for us to push past the past, and reset for our future! 

Let’s make it a great year! 

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