A Very Modern Leader: An Insight Report For The Built Environment

Historically, property and construction has been rooted firmly in bricks and mortar, with real estate leaders measured by their investments, deal success and end of year results. Whilst this remains important today, the impact of technology requires real estate business leaders to develop something more complex, with long-term innovation strategies that increase their organisation’s strength, market and capacity to grow.

Strategies such as these require a most modern leader, one who is forward-thinking, less an investor in things, and more an investor in opportunity. These leaders need to be driven by discovery, an enthusiasm for learning and a desire to adapt to cultural shifts in the built environment. PwC’s recent research shows five mega-trends which are shaking today’s businesses. These include rapid urbanisation, climate change and resource uncertainty, a shift in global powers, radical social and demographic change, and of course, exponential developments in technology.

I recently read that analysts predict the world’s first trillionaire will have made their money from asteroid mining. Yes, actual asteroid mining! When the world isn’t enough for the global giants like Amazon, SpaceX and Google, the word moon-shot suddenly gets very real. This fourth industrial revolution as the World Economic Forum terms it, is indeed marked by exponential change of this magnitude, but leaves me wondering, where is real estate as the world undergoes such a dramatic shake-up?

Amid this volatility, predicting the future of the built environment with any degree of accuracy is risky. Rather than taking a “predict and conquer” approach to strategy, organisations need to be adaptable; they must have flexible and entrepreneurial leaders, and develop organisational elasticity, fostered by an attitude to growth that is both adaptive and resilient.

The disruption that technology brings to business models demands not just rapid innovation, but a diversity of talent to create and lead it, which is not born overnight. For businesses in the built environment this means visionary and strategic leadership from contemporary leaders. Unafraid of conflict or risk, they are not better or worse than the leaders who came before, they are simply very different.

We hope our perspectives in this report inform and inspire your own thinking, so that it shapes the way your organisation develops the leaders of tomorrow, as they and you build our common future.

Toby Turner
Founder & Managing Director, Holtby Turner

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