Blog: Occupational Real Estate Is A Key Contributor To Successful Strategy

Published: 24th January 2018
Authors: Rob Shorrick, CEO at The Leadership Gallery, Jerry Williams and Caroline Pearce-Browne, both Directors at Reps Ltd

Successful strategy implementation will only occur when it is carefully constructed, communicated and enabled throughout an organisation. The real estate situation of a company is an integral component of this – ensuring your company’s facilities are set up to allow it to deliver on its goals is key to the success of the wider corporate strategy.

Embarking on a significant property project – a wholesale review, consolidation, expansion or upgrade – can be a challenge. To employees, the environment you create for them can be seen as the physical embodiment of the strategy in practice, and a working environment that is fit for purpose has a positive effect on how well structures, capabilities, processes and systems are understood or utilised throughout the business.

So, what are typical scenarios we see in success or failure when it comes to real estate strategy?

1. The purpose of the business is inadequately conveyed or understood throughout the company
Without clarity over the purpose of the business, employees may not to be fully engaged with the ‘new future’ that is represented by a real estate move or expansion. A new real estate project is unlikely to achieve the maximum positive effect unless it is consistent with the company’s purpose, but more importantly, will be easily undermined if employees do not understand the connection between the environment you are trying to create and the behaviours that need to be in place.

2. The vision is not aligned and carefully cascaded throughout the business
Often certain functions will continue to pursue different goals, sometimes using different or inconsistent behaviours. It is common even in new, updated environments, that some people will continue to do as they’ve always done rather than embrace the brave new world. This undermines the delivery of the strategic ambition and makes the real estate plan and expenditure an unnecessary cost.

3. The capabilities required to deliver the strategy are not present
If successful strategy implementation is dependent on integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) such as Cyber-Physical systems or Future Factories, or in office environments with the integrated design of advanced facilities management structures, then employees may become frustrated if the workspace does not effectively facilitate this, hindering execution of strategy. This may be equally true of the leaders responsible for the delivery of the new strategy, i.e. they may not have the ability or inclination to work differently and embrace new thinking.

4. The structure of the organisation is not conducive to the new strategy
The environment created must allow the structure of the organisation to operate efficiently. The environment must also be completely consistent with the overall culture that is required to properly deliver the vision of the business as well as to present a strong reflection of the company’s purpose. An organisation which understands that it will only be truly successful if all its employees operate seamlessly in an environment of collaboration and inclusion is much more likely to succeed if the real estate plan encourages this to happen.

5. The processes in the organisation are not consistent with the strategy
In real estate terms this may be something as commonplace as the utilisation of a paperless process. If teams have not adapted to embrace the paperless process, then this part of the strategy will fail.

Real estate projects

In summary, all employees need to understand, believe in and have the capabilities to deliver the strategy throughout their day-to-day work. A real estate plan that accounts for these factors will help to ensure that the right environment is created to encourage compliance and ownership, and ultimately, the success of the organisation’s processes. Real estate is a significant overhead, and a crucial enabler to an organisation – it is far too important to get wrong.

It is essential to align your leadership teams and employees to your strategy. To do this effectively, you must also align your real estate plan to your organisation strategy.