Five Things We Learned from Chris Browne


In the fifth installment of our Shaping What’s Next podcast series, we chatted with Chris Browne, Managing Director, Head of Global Occupier Services (GOS) for Asia Pacific at Cushman & Wakefield. During our discussion, Chris talked about workplace strategies, collaboration in the workplace, how the Asian market is changing in terms of workplace transformation, and what’s next for the GOS team at Cushman & Wakefield Asia Pacific.

Check out some of the highlights from the discussion below:

Workplace transformation in Asia Pacific is accelerating
“If you look at Asia now, you see places like India rapidly accelerating on concepts that are great in workplace. China – coming out of nowhere in the last few years – becomes exceptionally creative in how to engage talent when only a few years ago it would have been cubicle farms with very strict rules. So that acceleration to engage in employees – employees with a lot of choice who can go anywhere – the workplace becomes increasingly important. So even though you may find markets that are not quite as advanced in the art of what’s possible in the workplace, you see them every day accelerating right towards it.”

Workplace strategy varies in different markets
“It’s not as simple as putting in the global standards. If you’re a Western company, your global standard doesn’t work in a lot of markets. The strategy may say, ‘We want to create as much flexible space and create as much collaboration and we want to limit the number of offices. We want to have concepts like desk sharing.’ The fundamentals around creating a more flexible environment can be the strategy but you don’t apply the same standard in the US as you would in Taiwan, or as you would in India. It’s because sometimes the space requirements are larger in one market. In other markets, people have to work in the office because they don’t have the ability to work at home. The space at home isn’t large enough to accommodate working at home. So I think a lot of companies have gotten smart in terms of the strategic intent rather than trying to define a very specific standard. It’s that ideal blend between achieving an objective and making it relevant locally.”

Leveraging data and analytics for real estate provides a competitive advantage to occupiers
“The Center of Analytics strategy is really a key ingredient to how we are going to drive a much higher level of value for our clients. If you think of the power of data and the ability to apply analytics to it – now that data is becoming so much more ubiquitous and you can get it from so many sources – companies that can really harvest that and use it to provide new ideas, better decision making, and create insights that otherwise you could not have seen, that creates competitive advantage.

Our approach to analytics through the Center of Analytics has been to look beyond the traditional real estate, data and analytics and look at the other data sets that are directly relevant. We believe that we’ll continue to add more data elements to be able to provide more comprehensive analytics which ultimately gives much better recommendations to clients.”

As a leader, practicing what you preach encourages collaboration throughout the team
“You walk the talk. That’s how I engage personally. That’s how I leverage my team around me. When I came to Asia I knew virtually nothing about the region because I never have worked here. So I immediately started collaborating with my own direct reports on how best to solve issues in a culturally nuanced way. By showing that, they then in turn knew how to collaborate with their teams and started creating the cultural mindset of solving so much more when we work together. So I think fundamentally you’re leading from the top by walking the talk. I think it’s that simple. I think we then strengthen the whole thing and you look at how we’re trying to build the culture and to grow strong.”

For occupier services it’s all about being local, regional, and global
“We’re really good locally and we’re pretty good regionally, we need to get a lot better globally. It’s how fast can we get to being great globally so that we provide the full stack in whatever way a client buys. So everything we’re working on now is about getting all three layers operating at a great level.”

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