CRE teams have progressed faster than expected on the journey toward cross-functional integration, reveals Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Corporate Real Estate Survey 2013 (to be released next month).
Sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle last year, CoreNet Global’s CRE 2020 project revived the notion of collaboration between CRE, HR, IT and finance. Moving irreversibly over the next decade toward the formation of a super-nucleus, it appears that merged corporate functions would serve corporations’ new operational requirements in a seamless way. The report stated that “a new storm will blow through the CRE world, bringing an entirely new operational setting for the function”.
While the storm might not have materialized, a strong wind of change has definitively blown and begun to transform cross-functional collaboration from ad hoc intersections to permanent associations. This happened out of necessity. In many cases, the trigger has been productivity-driven workplace change projects, which requires operational enablement and synchronization to support the shift from premises to employees, from input to outcomes.
Tight collaboration takes many shapes, from standard shared-services structures to new organizational models such as hubs. In organizations where this has not taken place yet, a cultural shift is needed to move teams away from narrow transactional roles. In most cases, CRE’s existing track record of ad hoc teamwork will help reposition CRE teams as collaborative change agents across the entire business.
Using the workplace as the commonality for continuing collaboration with other functions offers a rare leadership opportunity. If not seized, it also represents a risk for the CRE function to lose its influence and standing.