Day Two of the Corenet Global Summit

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I am sitting in the front row of the General Session – speaker having trouble with her teleprompter – now she is on a roll, describing CRE2020, the major research initiative. Panel discussion being led by Mark Gorman.

Also being streamed live via Corenet Summit Connect. I will update as the program unfolds.

Mark: This is a Big Picture session – many big ideas

Update: 8 work streams

(missed the first few – will correct later)

  1. Partnering with Key Support Functions
  2. Portfolo Optimization
  3. Service Delivery
  4. Sustainabililty
  5. Workplace

Panelists: Sarah Abrams; Pay Wu; Sanjiv Awasthi; Tony Wong

Update: Discussion: where will CRE report in 2020? Will it exist?

Panel: it will be linked more closely to operations; will be about attracting and retaining talent, and about enabling people to work wherever they want to

Update: now the debate is the “bring your own device” – will knowledge workers be like carpenters and plumbers who have their own tools and just want to plug in to the network. We need to enable workforce to get their jobs done wherever and whenever they want to.

Update: factors driving location strategy havent changed in 50 years (Tony Wong): need for talent, market opportunities and presence, government policies, local communities

Update: Sarah Abrams worries about RE strategy driving the business instead of the business (and workforce needs) driving the business – we have to support business needs. Sanjiv: we need to be part of the real-time conversation with business leaders about how to thrive.

Update: Sarah Abrams: have to do scenario planning – can’t get it “right” perfectly – explore options, look at alternatives. And focus on the costs of making a mistake. Worry about the downside; the upside will take care of itself.

Question: Does this perspective inherently make CRE conservative and a laggard, not a leader?

Update: Good service providers can be good partners; majority of people in room stand up to vote they have a good partnership with their service provider, or their client. But that requires each player to understand their role, strengths, weaknesses.

Sarah: whatever you say about service providers you can say about in-house CRE. Where do young professionals learn their trade? People will move back and forth across that “line” over their careers.

Update: Mark can we think of it as all one RE organization, no matter where you get your paycheck.

Pay Wu: today it’s about Big Data – same developments we saw in the IT and HR areas; we need software developers who think in terms of business intelligence – help the client generate insight. That’s what adds value and creates the true partnership.

Update: Why is change so slow (Michael Joroff, MIT). Response: (Pay Wu) Change is hard, have to fight entrenched interests.

Personal Note: I am beginning to think “change is hard” has become an excuse for not being aggressive enough to lead change. Every organization I have worked with includes people who want change, but don’t know how to lead change from the “side” – without formal authority.

Update: table talk about how to help CRE/FM be seen as a more strategic resource. Challenge is telling the CRE story more effectively; if we don’t tell it right they won’t understand our expertise and value. CEO’s are so focused on short-term stock prices, so they look for immediate low prices, don’t think about the long term.

Update (10 AM). We have to insist that CRE leaders are trained professionals. CEO wouldn’t put a generalist in charge of HR or IT – we need to ensure that CRE leaders are viewed as equals – they do need leadership skills, not just CRE experiences.

Update: Q: do CRE leaders need to be better educated about business leadership – not just your industry, but as an executive who is alert to not just company issues but broader economic issues and events. Be able to speak about broad issues, in the language of business. Relate to, and talk to, execs in other functional areas. Learn to use stories – using authenticity, facts, and do it in a compelling way.

Update: Ellen Keable: changing nature of work means we’ll be working with multiple generations, with people we don’t know well. We all “get” the idea of mobility and office hoteling, but in our hearts we still want that space to call our own.

Pay Wu: the reality is that we ARE mobile, and often our teams are distributed globally, so we have to learn to collaborate virtually, develop better ways of linking with people in other locations. Our firm has a once-a-month virtual town hall.

All this leads to rethinking what the office is for – and how we use it. We create events to bring people in for f2f meetings. Use the office for a variety of kinds of work – meetings, heads down, etc – lots of variety in space, so people can move around to different spaces as the work they are doing changes.

Update: Air New Zealand wants to be “greener in everything we do.” Is that possible? Can a business meet a goal of having a sustainable side to every initiative. Where does sustainability fit? It’s becoming ingrained in all of our lives – it’s accepted as a necessity. Important for employee attraction, it’s a given in conversations with landlords, brokers, etc. Magnitude has to grow, but the idea is there.

Question: does sustainability save the company money? Are we doing it because clients/customers want it? Because employees/recruits want it? Or because of government mandate? Government’s role is to regulate for society’s interests (because no one will do it on their own when others aren’t)

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