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  • Kristin Hahn

Working with a New Challenge

Often times in student housing, we come across new and challenging situations that we haven’t faced before. Sometimes we go straight into problem-solving mode, make a plan, and execute it. On occasion, we also panic and don’t know where to begin. Don’t you wish there was an easy step-by-step guide on how to solve all your issues? Same here! We can keep dreaming but in the meantime, why don’t we break down “challenges” a little bit. Maybe we can create our own generic guideline to problem-solving to help us stay focused.


Oxford dictionary defines a challenge as, “an objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof.” When we face a challenge, a lot of times our very first reaction is, “are you serious” or, “what is even happening”. We deny that change is happening instead of facing the truth: change is always coming. So step one of problem- solving should probably be: accept the reality of the situation. Look at the FACTS. Don’t get caught up worrying about what is changing because the only thing that is consistent in this life is, in fact, change. Identify the problem and accept it.

Alright, we’ve looked the challenge square in the face and said, “alright...what now”. Next, depending on the situation, you can look into why is this happening or how did we get to this point. Now, we don’t necessarily need to dwell on the past because what’s done is done. But, we can take this as an opportunity to see where mistakes were made and use it to avoid making the same mistakes again in the future. Overcoming a challenge, really only fully happens when you’ve learned something from it. Right? Time spent on this step should be brief but is definitely necessary for our journey.


Next, let’s brainstorm solutions. If you can’t do it on your own, ASK FOR HELP! You can do this a number of ways: get with your team and layout the facts as to what the problem is and find ways to fix it, ask your boss as sometimes they may have come across this situation in their experience before, or come up with a couple of simple solutions and then make lists for each solution to determine how effective it is and if there may be any roadblocks to using that solution. We don’t have all the answers, and when I say we, I mean everyone! It’s okay to ask peers or a supervisor for help if you want to run a solution past them. Sometimes they think of ways to fix a problem that you haven’t considered or they just have a more efficient method. People in the industry can even ask their peers on Student Housing Insight 😉! What a great tool!


Okay, we have looked at the facts of the situation, analyzed how we got there so we can move past the mistakes that were made, and we’ve brainstormed solutions and sought out help. You’d think that we’re on the final step which is execution, right? WRONG! After you execute your plan, what do you think we can do to really round off this whole challenge- solution process?


Review what you’ve done and make sure it actually solved the problem. You and I both know, especially when it comes to dealing with residents or prospects, that follow-up is absolutely key in keeping our clients happy! This applies to owners and teams too to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Did the problem get solved? Are the people involved better off and satisfied with the solution? Have any new challenges arisen during the execution phase? Make sure that you’ve solved the problem and if everyone’s happy, or you’ve at least done all you can do, then you can check the boxes and rest easy tonight, my friends!


Of course, this isn’t a 100% full-proof plan and it may not work exactly like this for every situation but sometimes having a guide can help simplify something that seems bigger than yourself. I always need a reminder to take a deep breath and start solving the issues rather than complaining about them. Fretting over the little things or over change that you can’t control can derail you from overcoming challenges. Stay on track and get it done, team! You’ve got this!!


-Chelsey Arnette

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chelsey-arnette-793863152/




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