Dynamic Critical Issues Are Ever-Changing … or Are They?

Sept. 1, 2005

As another fourth quarter approaches and our attention turns to planning for 2006, the creative staff of editors and designers at Buildings revisits the information and content we developed for you - the Buildings reader - throughout the year (in-print, online, and in person). In doing so, we compare and contrast our perceptions with actual reader research to ensure we fulfill our mission to you: “to being your No. 1 industry information resource by focusing on quality, unbiased content.”

One of the most revealing aspects of that critique is determining how well we have addressed the industry’s critical issues, a list we published in the January 2005 issue - but one that has existed internally for years (never static, but continually adapted via necessary tweaks, continual readjustment, and feedback as the business of buildings dictates). Not surprisingly, there are many similarities over the years, as noted in the content that has accompanied our previous “Who’s Who in the Buildings Market” reports. Here’s a reflective look back. Compare the specifics within the major subject area of personnel, as it has been defined this year vs. the concerns in 1994:

  • 2005 (Personnel as a critical issue). “Partnering and alliances are on the rise, and it begins - and can end, if ineffective - within your own company. Quality people, those that embrace a need-to-know-more mentality, are driving the industry and your company’s successes. What does it take to attract and retain savvy professionals? Autonomy, creativity, and individuality; clear-cut communications and goals; measurement and benchmarking; process improvement through best-practice philosophies and implementation; professional development that includes mentoring and training; etc. It’s inescapable: Shrinking resources (less staff/money/tools) and higher expectations are burdening your solid players. You must do more to get them - and more importantly - keep them.”
  • 1994 (Personnel as a critical issue). “The ownership [and] control of commercial properties remains elusive, out of focus. As we’ve gotten more segmented and specialized in our approach, instead of one or two or three people - the owner, the leasing person, and the manager - sitting next to each other, which is the traditional way, now there may be three or four different organizations miles apart, cities apart, who are all sharing in the ‘control,’ or the ownership of the building. Across the country, facility owners are relying on an increasingly specialized and diverse pool of talent to manage, market, and plan their portfolios. This “unbundling” of ownership functions may enhance buildings since efficiency can be built upon a wide array of contracted specialty talent. But when disciplines are working at cross-purposes or when the overall objectives are not well-communicated, centralized control looks much more attractive.

What does this mean? In 1994, we defined the role of professional ownership in successfully (and strategically) growing the industry. In 2005, we clarified executive management’s need-to-retain philosophy accorded today’s empowered individuals within the organization, who are challenged with ever-increasing expectations. While we’ve come a long way over the past 10 years, business as usual seems to be increasingly more unusual.

Can we meet these concerns? Many top players featured in this issue’s Who’s Who in the Buildings Market are crediting their organization’s success to exceptional talent. Are you?

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