- Jun 01, 2008
The progression toward globalization marches steadily onward—and today’s steps include not just expansion into new markets but also improvement of the overall strategy involved. For corporations, that means evaluating how best to organize business oversight to ensure effective coordination of departments and decisionmaking.There are a variety of approaches and more than one could be right for any company, but one overreaching improvement is in cohesiveness of strategy across the company. Of course, diversity of markets can make this tough to achieve, but the progress is helping real estate departments better control, track and measure performance across the portfolio while also serving the business lines that form their clientele.U.S. investors in global real estate likewise continue to fine-tune their approaches to seeking opportunities worldwide, increasing their sophistication and confidence and at the same time better diversifying against the risks of poor economic performance back home.Among the most powerful U.S. brokerage providers, many of the largest have long had some type of global reach, yet they continue to add offices, affiliates or partnerships not only in emerging markets but also in those where they may already have a presence but see opportunity for expansion.Of course, progression has occurred over years not only because business opportunities continue to develop around the world and because a number of previously disadvantaged countries are improving but also because companies keep learning how to do things better. An area that brokerage providers will need to figure out—one that will grow only more complicated as they expand into more markets—is compensation. The approach may differ among countries and even companies, so merging or opening new offices may require dovetailing contradictory compensation approaches in order to minimize resentments or misunderstandings and ensure that the offices can work together smoothly.You’ll find more on these topics in a variety of stories in this issue, including our cover story, “Brokers Without Borders,” which starts on page 34 and accompanies our annual rankings of the Most Powerful Brokerage Firms and Most Powerful Brokerage Networks. In addition, “A Word with Jeff Cushman,” on page 39, is a discussion about the evolution of multinationals’ real estate strategies worldwide. You’ll also find a growing amount of international coverage on our Web site at www.cpnonline.com. You may be interested in Cityscape USA, Cityscape’s New York City-based gathering of investors from around the world. CPN is collaborating on some of the content and speakers for the conference, which is taking place Sept. 9-11. Visit www.cityscape-usa.com for more information.But globalization is hardly the only big issue that companies, both real estate and non-real estate, are exploring. Another focus is the search for talent, which has been increasingly challenging as companies seek new types of expertise and which promises to become even harder as Baby Boomers retire and newer generations do not replace them in equal numbers. Corporate real estate departments are now seeking expertise from within the greater realm of the company rather than from the real estate world, tending to prefer understanding of the company’s particular industry over real estate knowledge. Real estate companies are likewise looking for talent in different places, as we’ll discuss more in our annual focus on education in the July issue. But on page 24 of this issue you’ll find a discussion among both corporate and service executives that was part of a CoreNet Global-CPN roundtable that took place at the CoreNet Global Summit in San Diego. The conversation also focused on challenges in the current tough economy, as well as sustainability. If you’d like to hear more of that discussion, be sure to visit www.cpnonline.com to access audiocasts from the roundtable.