Why Agility and Adaptability are Essential in CRE

Dan Harris Dan Harris December 10 4 min read

Businesses typically, and understandably, seek stability, process and predictability. But 2020 has proven to even the powerhouses across the business world that agility, adaptability and responsiveness are more important—not only to endure the challenges, but to prosper in a rapidly changing economy.

To some, these elements are just buzzwords. But in order to make any real impact, they must be integrated as part of the company culture. In commercial real estate (CRE), as companies grow and become industry giants, often continued growth becomes more important than company culture, teamwork and agility.

The three key elements of agility, adaptability and responsiveness have always guided Stream’s company culture. Great buzzwords, but what does that mean for our clients?

Serving Clients First

Our clients rightly deserve our full attention, counsel and real estate expertise. We understand that finding the best opportunities and minimizing client risk means staying ahead of the competition and being adaptable to the changes and challenges in the market.

We are responsive to changing markets, using research and statistical analysis to help our clients understand the macro economic trends driving the opportunities and risks in their markets.

But no matter what resources you have, when it comes to agility and adaptability, our primary strength is in the talent of our professionals. Stream places high value in providing great client solutions, so we trust and empower our professionals across all our service offerings to first serve our clients’ needs. We’ve found that once our teams are unencumbered by layers of decision-making protocols, our professionals can act quickly to pivot with changing or evolving client requirements—in short, our experienced professionals are enabled to do what is best for our clients. A great example of this was during our engagement to provide Tenant Representation services for Azzur.

Agility in Action
The Stream team worked with Azzur (a pharmaceuticals and biotechnology firm) who needed an expansion facility in southern California in line with their company image and attractive to their talent and client base. While their preference was for LaJolla/Sorrento Valley because of its biotech cluster, wet lab incubators and coworking spaces had driven up prices, and rents were drastically prohibitive.

The team flexed quickly to find more attractive and viable options in North County, still within the desired biotech bubble. By being flexible and pivoting geographically, Stream located a better alternative that surpassed the client’s expectations. 

The ability to exceed Azzur’s expectations is thanks to the agility, local market knowledge and speed of our team to adapt a plan to account for the surging rents. Azzur now benefits from a significant presence in North County that attracts clients from all over San Diego.

Maintaining Agility

Large companies often struggle to remain agile, becoming more centralized and inflexible as they grow. Growth does offer economies of scale for a firm—but additional processes, automation, and complicated hierarchies can be the cause frustration for their clients and dissatisfaction for employees. Stream has proven it doesn’t have to be that way…

Stream is taking note of the strategies used by some of the largest companies; Google, Apple, Salesforce and Netflix, who have all moved toward a more agile and decentralized business model. In fact, some of the biggest companies are emulating the startups in terms of focus on company culture, efficiency, empowerment and flat organizational structure. Netflix’s culture deck goes into great detail about freeing up your talent from bureaucracy so they can get on with doing great work for their consumers. This tells us that companies can be big and agile, but agility and flexibility in larger companies doesn’t just happen, it has to be intentional: it has to be part of the culture.

We strive to maintain processes that do not inhibit our team’s ability to pivot. Rigid hierarchies, siloed business units, and mind-numbing bureaucracy is purposefully kept away from our business model.

Stream’s platform is agile and innovative, structured to manage and adapt to change. We deliver the efficiencies of scale with speed, flexibility and resilience to give our clients and our professionals a competitive advantage over other businesses who are heavy and slow to take action.

We have thrived by remaining fluid, in a position of strength to adapt quickly and deal with any economic disruptions, market volatility and even through the current challenges of COVID-19.

While others in the CRE space have contracted, Stream has continued to grow our platform, especially in the tenant representation space. We continue to seek the best and brightest talent to serve our clients and have not strayed from this philosophy throughout the pandemic. Our tenant representation platform is a prime example, adding talent in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, and Los Angeles in the last 60 days alone.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

All businesses need to adapt to changes in the economy, changes in technology and changes in human behavior. While agility is becoming increasingly important in the industry, many CRE firms typically retain their traditional top down hierarchies which are slow or worse, unwilling to adapt to the changing needs of their clients and the changing demands of the marketplace. Those companies get left behind, just as Blockbuster made way for Netflix and Blackberry made way for the iPhone.

At Stream, we will always be adaptable in our approach and agile enough to take advantage of challenges and opportunities alike—that’s how we stay ahead of the competition.

About the Author

Dan Harris is the managing director of Stream Realty Partners’ Dallas office tenant representation team. His expertise includes advising clients on their office relocations, dispositions, lease restructures, and other commercial real estate needs to align with their vision and goals.

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