The Work Letter: Managing the Unmanageable, Part 2

In Part 1 we discussed what work letters are and how they get screwed up, as well as how to build a good work letter template. In Part 2 we’ll look at putting all the prep work into action.

The Workflow

Now that you have an awesome template, don’t screw it up with poor implementation. Everyone needs to follow the workflow to make sure money isn’t lost on the deal. Here’s how:

  1. 🔍 Discovery: The real estate team identifies a new deal and provides cursory information about it to the design team — at least enough information that the design team can evaluate it against the terms of the work letter template. This means that the design team may need to provide some guidance to the real estate team on the bare minimum amount of information needed to craft work letters.
  2. 🤔 Preparation: The design team reviews the deal information and prepares a deal-specific work letter using the latest version of the template. A big part of this is using the highlighted/coded verbiage in the template that we discussed in Part 1 to quickly make those deal-specific edits, though more than that kind of editing may be needed.
  3. Verification: The construction team reviews the work letter with the design team to make sure both team are in agreement on the content and terms. Then the work letter is issued to the real estate team.
  4. Change Management: As changes to the work letter are negotiated, the real estate team brings the proposed changes to the design team for review or further editing. This step repeats until there’s agreement between the landlord and tenant on a final version of the work letter.
  5. 👍🏻 Final Check: At a minimum, the final draft of the lease agreement is provided by the real estate team to the design and construction teams for review and comment. This step repeats if changes are made.
  6. 🕺🏻 Party Time: The lease is executed. We’re high-fiving and popping bottles! 🙌🏻🍾

Perfect, right? Well, as I’ve mentioned, this is an attempt at managing the unmanageable, which is better than doing nothing. So try your best to be organized and linear in your approach, and practice some frequent deep breathing as you go through the process of getting a lease executed with your project team because someone on the team who will go unnamed will probably go off script somewhere along the way, but you still love them, right?

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