New Voices - Developing Leaders Focused on Building Connections and Knowledge in 2012

Spring 2012

Since 2005, the NAIOP Developing Leaders (DL) program has engaged the fast-thinking, multi-tasking generation of commercial real estate professionals age 35 and under. In January, NAIOP polled the DLs on where they find valuable career resources, what technology keeps them in the loop, and where they see their careers heading as the industry somewhat stabilizes.

Below is the candid feedback shared by nearly 400 DLs in the industry today. The results indicate where DLs are headed and reflect what knowledge and experiences they crave as they climb the corporate ladder and move into leadership positions within the industry.

recovering economic situation

Overwhelmingly, DLs say they’ll focus their efforts in 2012 on rapidly increasing their knowledge of the industry and taking full advantage of opportunities to grow their careers, with 96 percent of respondents noting that their primary means of doing so is participating in face-to-face networking events. Reading industry publications and participating in seminars, classes and online education followed at 81 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

Local NAIOP chapter programs and events are the key to DLs networking, said 91 percent who identified these no-travel, low-cost meetings as the most valuable. Social outings among colleagues, including golf events and happy hours, ranked second, followed by regional meeting opportunities. Social media connections via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn received only 11 percent of votes.

For their sources of knowledge, DLs look to more experienced professionals from within their own companies, with 39 percent responding they are currently involved in a professional mentoring relationship. Industry-related websites are popular resources (39 percent), followed by peer-to-peer sharing across the DL network (31 percent). Nearly 50 percent of DLs replied that they aren’t engaged in a mentoring program, but would find it beneficial.

DLs want to build their knowledge and understanding of real estate development (63 percent), general business trends (60 percent) and finance (54 percent). They say that negotiating and relationship building is a professional skill that would help boost their careers.

business skills cre professional

Extending their business skill sets by establishing deeper networking connections and raising their understanding of the business markets were cited as important goals for 2012. DLs know they need strong business relationships and a proven track-record of industry experience and expertise to move forward.

With career growth planned, but the realities of the still unpredictable markets in mind, the strong majority (86 percent) say they plan to stay in their current positions. Only a handful (10 percent) responded that they plan to move to a different job in the industry, and a small percentage say they’ll return to school (2 percent) or start their own business (1 percent). None of the respondents indicated that they plan to leave the industry due to recent downturns and uncertainties, signifying a collective faith that the industry is strengthening.

Whether it be iPhone, Blackberry or other PDA, DLs can’t live without their smart phones. It was cited as the most useful technology tool inside and outside the office, followed by iPads and, surprisingly, old-fashioned e-mail.

Visit the dedicated DL website to learn more about the Developing Leaders program.