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Incendium’s White Paper Series – ‘Managed to death’ by Partner Steve Norris

Nov 16, 2017

Why, oh why?

It must be Groundhog Day. I seem to be experiencing recurring conversations – the voices and faces are different but the lament is the same:

Why aren’t we getting better performance from our vendors?’

We can all read the studies from the global consulting houses such as Deloitte and EY, whose surveys clearly show that the single largest source of client frustration with vendors is a lack of proactivity and innovation. But do we give them space to be creative?

Appointing a new vendor is a big thing for a client. Hopes are high that legacy problems will be addressed, performance will improve and, often, that life will become that little bit easier. Yet how often does that truly materialise? How often does the aspiration of ‘partnership’ fall back into the reality of ‘vendor’?

Have faith

The global vendor community is packed with smart people, great technology and enough experience and energy to build an Innovation Mountain. So why aren’t the clients all feeling the love?

There’s a popular argument that says regulation strangles innovation. In the CRE world, that regulation is often exchanged for the process manual, the monthly KPI dashboard, limits of authority and compliance standards.

A corporate real estate function is part of a larger machine and lifting the ton weight of process and regulation can’t be achieved in isolation. But as Mark Twain so aptly put it:

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect’.

So, who wants to start the revolution? Who feels able to put trust and faith in their vendors to help them grow into the long-term partners they desire? Which partners can step up and accept the challenge, and not be perceived as chasing the big transaction or the long-term FM deal?

Keep it simple

Breaking the mould is hugely challenging, and many will be very happy inside their mould. But if we are going to see CRE continue to evolve and truly act as an enabling function, we need to get a whole lot smarter at providing an environment for our partners and teams to succeed.

When you next stream a blockbuster from Netflix, consider their origins in the 1990s as a DVD mail order business. Their CEO, Reed Hastings, and his team recognised the impact of technology and broke the mould. In doing so, they also broke the rules on corporate governance; rather than create the ton weight, they built a trampoline.

If you haven’t seen it before, take some time to digest the common sense in the below:

Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility

My personal favourite is their ‘Expensing, Entertainment, Gifts and Travel’ policy. It simply reads:

Act in Netflix’s Best Interests’.

That’s it. Just five words, nothing else.

As for their holiday policy, there isn’t one. Smart people make informed decisions and do the right thing. As one employee put it, ‘there’s also no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one has come to work naked lately’.

Sounds refreshing, doesn’t it? So, are you ready to revolt?

Oct 30, 2017

Incendium’s White Paper Series – ‘The war for talent’ by Partner Jeremy Brattle

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