A second generation estate manager
Before sharing a day in my life of Principal service, I need to preface several items. I am a second generation estate manager carrying 50 years of wisdom from my Grandfather, and 25 years of my own experiences in Principal service. I operate in a different rhythm than any individual I have met, and have developed my own opportunities independent of traditional agencies serving the domestic staff industry.
Having the depth of industry knowledge and ability to engage the UHNW community has allowed me to seek out opportunities where I can make a difference in many capacities. I have served one Principal since 2011, and have taken on hundreds of projects throughout my career in a consultative basis outside of my day to day responsibilities. This afternoon I was asked to attend a conference call and to consider taking a trip into the Southern Florida market where my unique value would be able to fill a gap working with a group of estate attorneys and other professionals serving in a similar regard as I do in Estate Management.
I would quantify my approach as being far more business oriented than anyone I have ever met in the domestic service industry. I operate from a set of quarterly top priorities and seek to grow alignment in any responsibility I take on. I have been given very arduous special assignments such as repurposing a $2.8M luxury estate property removing it off of the family books, and have designed the technology infrastructure of a yacht inspired penthouse.
My approach to managing staff is far more delegated than actively nurturing as I expect domestic staffing subject matter experts to represent themselves appropriately. The business management platform that I customized for estate alignment provides the ability at a quick glance to understand every task a staff member is working on throughout the day and whether it is recurring or not. The beauty in this approach is that it provides a Principal with the capabilities of quickly assessing performance and how well the Principal is receiving a return on staff investments.
Tracking Employee Engagement:
While attending The Jack Welch Management Institute, Mr. Welch taught me how to evaluate talent through a differentiation process. The technology management system that I use assigns an automated color code to tasks executed on time (GREEN), completed slightly over their delegated timeline (YELLOW), or behind and/or not executed (RED). The benefit of this color-coded system is that it increases performance and subconsciously reminds staff to be cognizant of their top priorities executed well which builds a culture of self-governed excellence. In the case of the deployment of the estate alignment platform, it truly is a merging of the last 20 years coming together in my life.
Much in the way that a good NFL quarterback comes out of a huddle achieving important gains, I am a proponent of morning huddles with the team I lead to track their level of employee engagement on a daily basis. Far more than task comprehension, I am looking for key indicators of complacency and disengagement. The Gallup Organization interviewed 150,000 US workers in 2013, and found that only 30% would describe themselves as being engaged at work, while 52% say they are disengaged, and the final 18% call themselves actively disengaged.
I have come to understand that employee morale and employee engagement are interwoven. The state of an employee’s mindset directly relates to how they will perform on the job. If an employee feels underappreciated, overworked, and devalued, what is their motivation and incentive to excel? There is likely none. Low employee morale breeds employee disengagement which is the beginning of a potential downward spiral in the care of an estate.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon
I firmly believe in approaching life from the perspective of a blank canvas and creating artistic experiences. While writing this article, a Principal whom I serve in a consulting basis messaged me to ask for help in preparation of a group of special guests visiting his estate. I am characterized by rapid responses in service and this case is no different.
The initial request for service came in at 19:09. My confirmation of willingness to receive the delegated assignment and asking if he was available to meet tomorrow was sent back at 19:10. He replied back with his availability at 19:12 and I immediately confirmed. Within the span of 180 seconds I provided certainty that this Principal’s top priority for an important event was cared for.
If we look at the Jeff Bezos quote about making the customer experience a little bit better every day, where would we start? I would recommend starting and ending from the perspective of the one whom matters; the Principal. The following seven items are what I consider to be essential personal growth benchmarks as an employee:
- Setting and achieving goals
- Consistently following through
- Creating an environment of humility
- Working effectively with little direction
- Making the most out of collaboration
- Understanding the benefits of clarity
- Adapting in a meaningful way to grow trust
Staying Ahead Of The Curve:
Much in the same regard as I am able to finish my wife’s sentences understanding what she is thinking, I am able to forecast the needs of the Principal I serve. It took some time for me to grow comfortable in understanding the need to exercise freedom without being afraid of ridicule or being chastised. I have come to the place of seeing myself as a Maestro in an orchestra never allowing anything to get ahead of where I am in conducting the day to day business of an estate. From my perspective, there is nothing more prevalent in the day than demonstrating a fervent use of effective time management.
Time Management should be treated with the highest regard for its ability to create a punctual and disciplined individual. I am a proponent of operating exclusively from top priorities. This guarantees that I am serving the urgent needs in specific time slots assigned to each activity. This process provides a sense of direction and a flow of how the workday should be approached to maximize my production capabilities. Another benefit is becoming far more organized keeping responsibilities in their proper place minimizing an inefficient use of time or wasteful searches. I am characterized by being highly confident and able to accomplish a large amount of tasks in a very short period of time. I enjoy standing apart with my ability to execute well. If I operated in a cluttered capacity, I would not have the sense of clarity to accomplish all that I do.
At the end of the day, only you have the capability to determine what course of action you will take and how to best critically think through your responsibilities to produce the highest return on your own time. For myself, an indicator of a successful service record, is in the ability for personal branding to provide additional income opportunities which do not conflict with my ability to serve in my primary capacity. Whichever item you decide to consider improving in, please “go all in” and create a WOW factor caring for the smallest details with a fervent passion. If I can be of service to your career please message me via Linked in. Wishing you the courage to step into another level of engagement and realize your returns.
Written by concierge estate management professional, Lucien E. Boivin. You can connect with Lucien on LinkedIn