Keys to Establishing Good Internal Partnerships for Corporate RE Execs

Speaking at the CoreNet Global North American Summit being held this week in Las Vegas, Mark Gorman of Ciena Corp. gave advice for corporate RE executives on establishing and maintaining relationships with other departments within a company.

“Allow people to save face,” and focus the interaction on getting the job done. These are components of positive internal company relationships, advised Mark Gorman, vice president corporate real estate and facilities at Ciena Corp.

Gorman was speaking at the CoreNet Global North American Summit being held this week in Las Vegas. In a seminar addressing internal partnerships, Gorman disseminated advice for corporate real estate executives regarding establishing and maintaining relationships with other departments within a company.

Partnerships are often established between corporate real estate and departments such as tax, procurement, human resources, IT, training, corporate communications, security and internal audit departments. Gorman explained that partnerships can take many forms, each with their own pros and cons, through committees, data systems and tools retrievals, processes review and restructuring, discrete projects and functional liaisons between departments.

Gorman said that allowing people to save face is a golden rule. He also suggested that team members are not necessarily required to “like” people they work with–they can simply concentrate on the accomplishing the tasks and goals at hand.

He advised the audience to listen and ask questions if they want to be part of a good partnership with other departments in the company. If officers talk too much, “you are not listening.” Team members should also know what is in the project at hand for them, he pointed out.

Build multi-layered connections so that the relationship is sustainable beyond any two or more individuals, when the original team members leave. Conflicts should be managed quickly—stay out of “rat holes.” The word “process check,” for example, is an effective phrase that is non-accusatory. “Make others feel valued,” said Gorman. Unanimous agreement is not required, but consensus. “If you win every time,” that is a sign the relationship may not be maintained over the long-term.

The presence of “empire builders,” too many delegates with no power to effect action, and unclear or misaligned objectives are some of the obstacles to good partnerships, he said.