A sunrise lights the clouds above a line of trees, symbolic of peace and looking forward.What does Property Management have to do with fighting?

In the movie The Seven Samurai, director Akira Kurosawa tells the story of a village that is under siege by a murderous gang. For the villagers, it’s humiliation now and death soon to come. Two villagers venture down to the big town to hire a samurai, a professional soldier, to defend their village. After considerable searching, they find one who is willing. But, he says, he will need some more men. All the villagers have to offer as payment is a handful of rice. These are hard times. Unemployed samurai are everywhere. The willing samurai sees their desperation. He understands it is his moral duty as a professional warrior to serve someone. With no one else to serve even these most humble masters qualify. He accepts their offer.

He sets about recruiting the right candidates for his small force. The odds are against him. His men need to be good. How can he test them?

He has a plan. He sits inside a storefront where he will be visible from the busy street. He stations his young attendant just inside the doorway where the young attendant can attack anyone crossing the threshold from the street into the storefront. The head samurai sits in the center of the room and gestures to a young tough-looking samurai, just then walking down the street outside, to come in. The young man comes in. As he enters the hidden attendant hits him with a wooden sword. The guy hits him back, curses them, and departs. The leader sits back down. When he sees another likely candidate he calls out to him. This one is slightly better dressed than the first, and stronger looking, too. The second fellow crosses the threshold, but he reacts instantly. Before the blow from the attendant can land the second fellow parries the attack. He stomps off, angrily. The leader shakes his head and waits. He sees another samurai coming along. This one has a dignified bearing, intelligence in his posture. The leader gestures to him to come in. This samurai takes a few steps toward the doorway and stops, before even reaching the threshold. A smile crosses his face, and he gestures toward the guy hiding – unseen by him but detected nevertheless – as if to say hey, what’s the story? Smiling, the leader calls the hiding guy out in the open and invites this razor-sharp samurai to join their force, without ever seeing him so much as unsheathe his sword.

Where do you place your focus moving forward? If you anticipate or hesitate you may miss your mark. You need to be able to respond to the situation as it changes. To do this you need training. You need to work with people who have lived this way for years and can show you how to be ready. How you can adapt your whole company to be responsive to a changing world.

Find out how at PM Grow 2022!

Come join us. Work hard, have fun.

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(Note: Description of the scene from The Seven Samurai provided by my friend and teacher, Jeff Brooks, in his book The Rhinoceros Tale.)

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