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Commercial Real Estate: A Team Effort

I am a huge fan of the Arizona Cardinals. I’ve been a season ticket holder since they moved to Arizona in 1988 and have suffered through some dismal seasons. However, I believed going into the 2016 season this was our year to win the Super Bowl. On paper the team was great, but on the field they weren’t. It began with a game one loss to the New England Patriots, a team whose season started with challenges, including Tom Brady suspended for the first four games. This led me to wonder, what was the difference and were there aspects of both team’s seasons that translate to the commercial real estate business? The answer: absolutely. Many of the elements that go into making a great football team are the same things that make a great real estate team.

I believe that it all starts with bringing together the right people whose goals are aligned. For Coach Bill Belichick, “team first” is the philosophy he expects from every member of the New England Patriots. Great teams are built on common goals, where every team member has equal passion and commitment to perform their role at the highest level. No one is focused on individual goals or being the MVP. There are lots of teams with superstar players that don’t have winning seasons. This is because someone is more focused on their goals than the team goals. But great teams create a culture where every member is a vital part of the team and that each member’s role is integral to the overall success of the team.

At Cushman & Wakefield we have a lot of outstanding brokerage teams. Those who have achieved the greatest success start by bringing together individuals who possess complementary skills sets. One person is rarely able to be an expert at everything. Having a team where each individual focuses on their unique skills elevates the team’s ability to successfully provide the right solutions to meet the needs of their clients.

Every great team has a strong team leader. An individual that sets the vision and expectations and is able to delegate and trust that his or her team members are going to get the job done. No one wins with a team made up of only quarterbacks. You have to make sure that every team member’s unique abilities and talents fill a role and that everyone on the team is 100% committed to fulfilling that role. The most successful brokerage teams include a mixture of logical, analytical, creative and intuitive personalities.

Team chemistry is another element that you find with nearly every great team. Team members must like, respect, trust and support each other. All team members must recognize and value every individual’s contribution to the team, from the seasoned veteran to the rookie. It’s nearly impossible to be part of a team whose members don’t get along, and who don’t value everyone on the team equally. Great teams hold everyone on the team accountable but they don’t focus on the hierarchy. They support each other in the wins and the losses. They pick each other up, have each other’s back and they understand that they are better together than apart.

Great teams have a shared mindset. Coach Belichick has said he seeks out like-minded players for his teams. When you have a team whose members are moving in opposite directions you never end up in the same place. Successful real estate teams understand the client’s needs. They know what keeps their clients up at night and what they need to do to solve their problems. They create a team whose service model includes the resources aligned to their client’s needs, but understand that also means being flexible. To be ever evolving and changing to meet the competitive and constantly changing real estate industry. Sophisticated clients are demanding more with quicker turnarounds from their service providers. Not only are the clients looking for brokerage services, they may also be looking for help securing debt or an equity partner, Property Appraisal and Valuation, Corporate Services, Asset Management, Project Development Services, Property and Facility Management. It is the client that is driving the evolution of the team and teaming within the real estate services companies.

In my position as the Market Leader for the Phoenix Cushman & Wakefield operation, I have the opportunity to work with all of our teams. I have found that the most successful teams consistently communicate with each other and their clients. When teams have open and candid communication there is less chance for misunderstanding and more opportunities to build lasting relationships. Finally, successful teams know their strengths and their weaknesses. They know when they are the right team for the job, when they are not the right team for a job and when to bring on additional team resources.

I believe that every team, whether football or brokerage, has the potential to be great. The key is understanding what it takes to have a championship season or career and having everyone on the team committed to make it happen. And if you are wondering, I do believe that the Arizona Cardinals will be Super Bowl Champions next season.

Bryon Carney is Cushman & Wakefield’s Phoenix Market Leader and has over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. He is responsible for the company’s strategic planning and the day-to-day operations of the firm. In his management role Bryon successfully directed four corporate brand changes, Grubb & Ellis | BRE Commercial in 2003, Cassidy Turley in 2010, DTZ in 2015 and the most recent merger between DTZ and Cushman & Wakefield. Under his guidance the Arizona offices for each of the brands grew into one of the largest and most successful brokerage offices in the Southwest.

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