There is a scene in the movie Field of Dreams that resonated with me. The voice that originally convinces Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to turn his cornfield into a baseball field, now instructs him to “Go the distance.” Ray was feeling somewhat pleased with himself at this point in the movie. He’d just built the field and located the (fictional) author Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones). But there was still work to be done to realize Ray’s ultimate vision, and he needed just a little more prodding to get there. So how does this relate to risk management strategies in real estate?

Well I thought the same principle applied as I read through the life safety, security, and risk management components of the BOMA 360 performance program. And the recommendations in the National Preparedness Month notice on how property professionals can maximize preparedness.

Both the programs and recommendations are excellent. They help guide property professionals as to what they need in place in terms of:

  • Emergency and risk management guidelines
  • Processes
  • Manuals
  • Training

But property teams need to understand that creating and documenting alone does not mean you’ve fully met the objectives of risk management and preparedness.

Going the Distance With Risk Management Strategies in Real Estate Requires:

  • Effectively sharing and making the information available throughout your organization. This means it cannot exist in manuals on someone’s shelf, or in documents sitting buried on a network drive.
  • The information needs to be in front of both building staff and tenants so it’s quickly accessible in an emergency. This means you should have physical copies in staff offices, information in your building portal, and ideally, also in your building mobile app if you have one.
  • Make the information actionable. Don’t leave people to infer what to do. Spell it out. E.g. ‘If X happens, then you must do Y within Z minutes, and double check A, B, and C once you’re done.’
  • Educate employees, tenants, and vendors/service providers on how to implement and execute on all the procedures in place. You don’t want to be practicing this stuff during an actual event or emergency. Proactively rehearse at least once a year.

This is an extensive process that requires commitment, and often a partner, to help guide you and support your teams. There is no question effective and well thought-out risk management strategies are essential components of today’s property management reality. Just make sure you go the distance so your efforts deliver the Field of Dreams you’re hoping for.

In an accident or emergency, you have two priorities, and people’s safety is top priority. The other priority is ensuring your financial risk is covered. Most CRE firms have a compliance rating under 50%, needlessly exposing them to avoidable risk. To avoid million dollar costs, watch the Building Engines webinar—Risky Business: Keeping Your Insurance House in Order.