In business, as in our personal lives, managing boundaries is critical to success. What are we willing to accept in relationships, business partnerships, and in obligations? It should be a simple thing: if something makes sense and fits into your plans, you go with it. If not, just say “no!”
Well, like so many seemingly simple things, it’s quite difficult.
Effectively managing professional boundaries and our overall goals requires us to understand who we are and what we stand for with greater clarity than we often do. If you’ve ever regretted committing to something it’s likely because you didn’t adequately consider the implications of the commitment beforehand. I know I’ve been there plenty of times.
At Archway, our success is highly dependent on relationships with many partners and the commitments we make to each other. So we have to be careful about the partners we choose and the promises we make.
Consider Robinson Place, our newest affordable housing project in Lakewood that will ultimately serve 67 older adults and formerly homeless veterans. It is not well understood how many partners are required to bring a project like this across the finish line. I count at least 13 relationships that are crucial to our success. If any of these goes sideways, the project will face consequences. These partners include our architect, the contractor/builder, the City of Lakewood, tax equity investor, a lender, Jefferson County, The Colorado Housing Finance Agency (CHFA), Metro West Housing Solutions, the Colorado Division of Housing (DOH), and the Veterans Administration (VA). Also involved are accountants, attorneys, and financial consultants.
Given the complexity and myriad challenges inherent in an affordable housing project, it’s not surprising that many projects have failed to meet expectations. Over the past 25 years, I have seen first-hand how hundreds of affordable housing projects have performed relative to the forecasts. The trends that have emerged over time for our industry and for Archway tell a story that is both clear and compelling: affordable housing projects often cost more than everyone thinks they should to build and to operate.
Which brings me back to the idea of boundaries. As we undertake new projects at Archway we are paying very close attention to the collaborative relationships that are so critical to our success. If we had success with a partner on one project, can we expect to repeat that success on another? How hard can we push our public funders to commit greater amounts? We know what we need is out there and we aren’t afraid to use our voice to argue for what Archway - and our residents - need.
It’s complicated, and there are no simple answers to these questions. This is why we come to work every day and are committed to advocating for the resources we need to best serve our communities. Leaving a legacy of well constructed and financed projects for Archway is worth fighting for. As always, we welcome your support, collaboration and ideas!