Always inspect the toilets
Adam Geha of EG writes:
When I inspect office buildings and shopping centres prior to purchase, I always make sure to inspect the toilets. It’s not the most glamorous part of the tour, but often the most telling.
I look at how well the toilets are maintained. Are they clean? Are they well ventilated? Is the soap and toilet paper well stocked?
Why do I bother? Because how the toilets are maintained is often a reliable gauge of the owner’s mindset and the modus operandi of the managing agent.
If the toilets are poorly maintained it tells me a couple of things. First, the owner may be skimping on essential opex and capex in other areas, such as plant rooms, end of trip facilities, fire compliance etc – and thus to be on high alert.
Second, the owner has a short term focus and doesn’t place a high value on tenant comfort and satisfaction – and thus there may be an opportunity to improve tenant retention on relatively minor spend.
So when you’re next offered a guided tour, make sure you take a few detours. The truth is often hiding in plain sight and everything in life is speaking to you in spite of its apparent silence. Even the toilets.
Applying this to you…
Though you seldom buy shopping centres yourself, the lesson is one you can implement in decisions that matter more.
Asking people directly what their strengths and weaknesses are in a job interview is too direct, too obvious.
If you want to measure or assess something, you must look for the toilets; those areas they are not expecting to be measured, where they don’t have guards up.
I ask people what they’d perform for an Audience-of-None, what they’d do for no attention or pay, because I want to see what deeply resonates with them. When asked this, it’s impossible to lie.
You can’t fake toilet maintenance. If you’ve maintained the toilets, it means you’ve maintained the toilets. If you’re always kind, it means you’re always kind. If you always show up, it means you always show up.