Article by Debbie Palmer, Managing Director of PPM Group & the Property Management Journal
Licensed Real Estate Agent, Author, Speaker, Trainer, Consultant, Coach, Owner & Editor of the Property Management Journal, System Designer, REIQ Gold Coast Property Manager of the Year 1996 & 1997, State Finalist in 1998 & Gold Coast Finalist in 1999.

It doesn’t matter what property management department you work in… the reality is that things are going to go wrong from time-to-time. Even if you have invested time and/or money into establishing quality systems and procedures, you can still encounter challenges with your internal processes or communications with landlords and tenants.

How often they go wrong will greatly be driven by the quality of your systems and procedures, as well as the commitment by the team to be proactive rather than reactive.

When things go wrong in your department what is your team’s mindset? How do they react? What action is taken? …If any.

Very early on in my property management career I learnt that when things go wrong it is a ‘positive sign’ calling you to action. A weakness within the organisation has just been identified that requires a solution to avoid it from happening again in the future.

To improve your internal operations requires a team effort. An important document within our PPMsystem® is the Proactive Fix It form. This form or one that you have created should be printed at the commencement of each week for each team member. During the week if anything goes wrong; or you receive a complaint; or you were unsure how to manage a situation better; or you thought you could manage a situation better take the time to make notes on the form to allow your team to come together and brainstorm solutions.

Often when I speak with property managers about their meeting agenda and structures they comment that they are a waste of time and non-productive. The top two meeting agenda points each week should be, how can we improve our internal operations and be more productive and how can we be more profitable as a team. Whatever your team focuses on – will become their reality! If improving your internal operations is on the top of your agenda, your team will start searching for answers and better ways of doing things.


  • Ensure that your team work in an environment where they feel comfortable to be honest and upfront to share when something does goes wrong
  • Determine if the team member failed to utilise your procedures or checklists or whether the procedures or checklists failed your team members
  • Implement a solution, system or procedure to avoid the situation from occurring again


How do you rate?

Yes No – Quality systems and procedures implemented and embraced
Yes No – Team attends regular training
Yes No – Team attends regular meetings to discuss productivity and profitability
Yes No – Team receives regular script and dialogue training
Yes No – Regular compliance checks are performed within the department
Yes No – Regular tenant and landlord service surveys undertaken

There is a great saying that if you want to achieve different results… you must do something different. It is not uncommon for a property management department to encounter challenges in their week and then ignore them. The department is diligent and focused on immediately fixing the problem or challenge, but they fail to implement a solution to avoid it from happening again. There is a basic rule when things go wrong. Spend 20% of your time and energy on fixing the problem and 80% on the solution.

If you require assistance with your property management department to become more productive and profitable contact the PPM Group 1300 734 616 or visit their website

Debbie’s background
Debbie Palmer offers a fresh youthful approach to property management. She has worked in the industry since 1989 both in London and Australia. She founded the PPM Group in 2000 which is a national company that encourages and supports business development opportunities within property management departments through the development of systems, consultancy and training. She is well respected in the industry and has dedicated her working career to improving property management procedures. Debbie guest speaks with thousands of property managers and principals each year on how to improve profitability and productivity through the implementation of systems.

The PPM Group offers, support, training and facilitatse EVERYTHING property management.