Think Like an Egyptian

By Sharon Scott Wilson, RRP

In his best-selling book, Making Ideas Happen, Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, Scott Belsky writes, “Ideas don’t happen because they are great – or by accident. The misconception that great ideas inevitably lead to success has prevailed for too long. Whether you have the perfect solution for an everyday problem or a bold new concept for a creative masterpiece, you must transform vision into reality. Far from being some stroke of creative genius, this capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone. [Emphasis added.] You just need to modify your organizational habits, engage a broader community, and develop your leadership capability.

Just think about that for a second. Anybody – you, your kid, your best friend – anyone can make ideas happen. Belsky says, “Everything in life should be approached as a project. Every project can be broken down into just three things: Action Steps, Backburner Items, and References.” This is how the Egyptians built the pyramids, one brick at a time. Surely Leonardo da Vinci had more ideas than one person could possibly handle; but by taking action, he produced some of the finest art the world has ever seen.

My friend and a loyal Resort Trades supporter, Kevin Mattoni, gets things done. I remember when he first came to us and spoke of his new business, C.A.R.S. I first met Kevin in 1992; I believe it was in Sarasota. He was a partner with Sharon and Richard Cunningham, founders of Cunningham Property Management. Today, he is managing partner of the company. At that time, Kevin was responsible for finding an answer for the financial needs of a number of timeshare resorts that had been impacted by the S&L fallout in the late ‘80s. The original developers of the resorts had defaulted on their acquisition construction loans, the banks were now the owner, and the banks were not willing to fund the resort’s operational expenses. The properties and all the deeded owners were in jeopardy. Kevin needed to immediately generate income to remain open.

ACTION STEPS: As Kevin tells it, “Everything started with organizing the inventory to implement rentals, then sales, then all the legal work to inevitably sell out the inventory. Because we had no funding, we needed to rely on our industry contacts for advice, advertising, marketing, everything.” The result is all the Cunningham managed resorts are operating today, continually receive the highest ratings, and are financially viable.

The next challenge Mattoni took on while managing The Cunningham Family of Companies and their asset recovery division was how to gain industry recognition and obtain executed agreements from resorts in several states to efficiently and economically resolve their delinquent intervals by using non-judicial foreclosure. The launch of Cunningham Asset Recovery Service (C.A.R.S.) was the result.

ACTION STEPS: When Kevin had the idea for C.A.R.S. his goal was to make the entire process easy for the client. He based his service on utilizing the software that resorts were already using, an accounts receivable program. Kevin developed an easy program to track the status of every existing and potential client. “I don’t have the best memory and didn’t want our success to depend on that. Working with management software already in place and then bringing in what was needed for tracking, sending emails, surveys, it allowed me to stay organized.” The result is that C.A.R.S. is one of the leaders in providing these services to associations, developers, and lenders. “This was all accomplished within 3 years”

It wasn’t a miracle that produced the Mona Lisa, raised the pyramids, or established C.A.R.S. As Mattoni says “To turn dreams into reality, we need to work and live with a focus on efficient action, getting something accomplished every day as if our livelihood depended on it.

Sharon Scott Wilson is publisher of Resort Trades and Golf Course Trades magazines.  Her firm, SharonINK – providing clients with B2B and B2C content – recently became a subsidiary of The Trades Publishing Company.

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