Raine & Horne echoes Edward De Bono to boost property management problem solving at inaugural Hunter Valley retreat

JULY 16, 2019

Held at the magnificent Crown Plaza Hunter Valley, the theme of the inaugural Raine & Horne Property Management Retreat was ‘One Percent Better’ according to Maria Milillo Business Support & Development Manager (Property Management) Raine & Horne Group.

Apart from Ms Milillo, the retreat included presentations from industry experts such as Kate Benjamin from property management consultancy firm Real Plus and Scott Shepherd, Real Estate Consultant and Proptech expert.

“The retreat was a major success as a way of building the culture within our extensive property management network with 12 offices from Sydney and regional centres such as Bathurst, Gosford, and Terrigal attending,” Ms Milillo said.

“In many real estate businesses, property management departments and staff are not as highly valued as they should be, but this is not the case at Raine & Horne. We wanted to highlight and put the focus squarely on our property managers with a standalone event.”

Quenching the thirst for networking and knowledge

Raine & Horne has a reputation for excellent training and network events, including its next international conference to be held in Bali, Indonesia in 2020. Ms Milillo, said, “We find our property managers are usually the first to register and participate in our events and training.

“We want to embrace this thirst for knowledge and networking by allowing our property managers to get together at a standalone event with other like-minded property managers.

“Such events like this certainly encourage our property managers to embrace the training and networking elements that are synonymous with Raine & Horne.

“Moreover, our PMs had a great time at post-conference events, and from the feedback I’ve received, the networking and culture-building was crucial in why retreat attendees had such a great time.”

It’s a matter of hats

While the retreat addressed traditional property management topics such as account management, customer experience, growth, and technology, other significant themes of the event were ‘problem-solving’ using critical thinking and continuous improvement.  

Ms Milillo explains, “We talked about Edward de Bono’s Six Hats[1], which is a critical thinking process that can help property managers problem-solve any issues that they may face in their roles.”




Scott Shepherd presented the opening session of the retreat about the theory of continuous improvement. “Scott talked about business methodology of continuous improvement in line with the theme of the event. He discussed the concepts of continuous improvement and how to apply them.”

 “Then, Kate talked about ways of applying the theory of continuous improvement theory within property management businesses.”

Doing the one-percenters

Ms Milillo led discussions about the value of making one percent changes to business operations, which dovetails into the theme of continuous improvement using critical thinking. “The goal of the retreat is to show PMs that instead of trying to make significant or dramatic changes quickly, aiming for small, daily improvements can gradually lead to the more substantial change.”

For example, over time, many of the standard letters and emails property managers send to clients become outdated, inconsistent, or even redundant.

“We all know how many letters most property managers have in their databases and rely upon and a job that size would take far too long to address in one go,” she said. 

“However, reviewing a letter each day should only take 5 -10 mins to complete, and in few short months, a task a property manager might initially think was far too big to tackle can be completed with without any major business interruptions.

“It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding and gradually property managers will start to notice the improvements.”

Ms Milillo concluded, “The reaction from our principals and property managers from around the country to the retreat has also been positive, and we have plans for a similar event in Queensland soon.”


[1] http://www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm