The path you walk today is not the path you will be on tomorrow.

Often times, our experience sets us off down a clearly marked and outlined path. On this path, we can clearly see what the next two or five or more years hold for us. By walking the path, you will get a certain set of new experiences, certain new responsibilities, and hopefully, master a new set of skills. This path seems easy.

The paths that we walk can diverge from the clear markings at any moment. A wide variety of variables influence what could happen:

  • Your current job changes unexpectedly due to changes at your company (M&A, financial difficulties, leadership changes, organizational changes, etc.).
  • A new offer comes your way that is too good to pass up.
  • You decide you want to do something different.
  • The economy changes.
  • Your industry changes.

At any moment, the change can happen. Sometimes you see it coming but often times you don’t.

Being aware of the shifting nature of your path is important to future-proofing your career. Even if you want to stay at the same company for the next twenty years of your career, you must walk the shifting path on that more narrow space. There’s no such thing as long-term certainty. All of life is about risk management.

If you operate with the knowledge that change is imminent and unexpected, you will be more prepared for it once it does arrive. The hardest part of dealing with change is the first days of it when the people impacted are in denial. Navigating these early days successfully is the single best way to quickly arrive on a newly cleared path.

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Conflict is a sign that something needs to be fixed. Don’t ignore the signs.

We are all familiar with conflict. It may be in the form of tense conversation, passive-aggressive behavior, yelling, or just general mistreatment. Conflict is something that is just part of what we all have to deal with.

The key words there are “deal with.” Conflict is not something that should just be allowed to continue. At some point, it is important for those in conflict to find a way of resolving it. Sometimes the conflict cannot be prevented, only mitigated.

Conflict can be brought about through a variety of means:

  • Personalities that are unable to work together.
  • An unbridgeable difference of opinion.
  • Lack of trust.
  • Misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities.

Each of the above reasons for the conflict would require a different type of resolution. You cannot bridge a lack of trust by simply discussing each opinion. Before you can move forward you need to get down to the root cause.

Anniversaries are a great opportunity to reflect, but random Tuesdays are better.

I’m coming up on 18 months in my new roles. It provides a nice round number to pause and reflect about the impact of the change. Interestingly, the thought that keeps coming back to me is how anniversaries are terrible times to really understand the impact of change.

Birthdays and anniversaries come with so many built-in perceptions. As you come up on a new big day, your general perception of anniversaries is the single biggest influencer in how you look at the next. If you love celebrating milestones, you are going to look forward longingly to the next one. If you don’t love milestones, you probably aren’t looking forward to it.

Having blogged for, what feels like, a very long time, I have discovered that random days throughout the year are actually better for reflection. Self-reflection should be an on-going process that is not constrained to specific milestones. Certainly, use those milestones as part of your own process if you want, but don’t limit yourself only to those.

The books we read influence the way we solve today’s problems.

I read a lot. At any given time I have at least 1 book in progress and sometimes I have more. Usually, it’s some sort of sci-fi/fantasy novel (currently making my way back through the Discworld). But I’ll also pick up history, biography, business, research, and any number of other types.

The books that we read influence how we approach today’s problems. When you read a book, it causes your mind to float along the lines of the story you are involved in. If the book you are reading solves problems through delegation, you are more likely to use delegation to solve the problems you face in life. If your book has a hero who fixes everything on their own, you are more likely to solve things yourself.

This isn’t an absolute rule by any means. But we like to test our theories and often new theories come from outside sources. Even a completely unrelated fiction book can provide a new way of thinking about a problem.

None of the above is to say that this is good or bad. It is simply to help make you a bit more self-reflective on where your direction comes from. My friends that read more business books tend to try and put those principles into practice in a very methodical way. My point above is that everyone does this from their new inputs, it’s just a matter of whether they realize it.

The clearest goals are usually the best ones.

It’s really hard to be successful if you can’t define what success looks like.

This may seem like a simple statement of fact, but all of us occasionally start new projects without knowing what the end state looks like. Often times, this is just the nature of what we all do. Not everything can be defined up front.

The problem arises when you never stop early in the project to define success before really getting underway. At some point, before the work really gets going, you have to understand what you are trying to achieve. Without a picture of the end, you can’t actually get to the end. Moving goalposts lead to lots of problems.

Simplicity is your friend in this. A simple, clear goal can be explained to others and compared to the final product. Success should be more than just throwing your arms up and declaring it. It should be something recognizable by others.

What is a smart building when you are just a tenant?

Smart buildings seem to come up over and over again when I look at the future of CRE. The experts love to talk about the benefits of AI-driven elevators, lights connected to room booking systems, GPS locators for employees, and advanced mobile-based wayfinding. All of this sounds fine but there is a resounding “so what” from the average tenant.

The inimitable Duke Long has opined a bit recently on the concept of the tenant as a value generator. The future is all about services-as-a-service (let’s be honest, that’s the true end state of it all). As a building owner or space provider, what incentive are you giving your tenants to stay beyond their lease term? Software companies lock companies in by offering a killer feature that can’t be copied by the competitors. Most landlords have decided to compete based on least common denominator: price.

There are some buildings that think differently but the real sign of a gap in the market is the rise of WeWork. If you think they are succeeding only because of the coworking angle, you’ve missed the boat on their value proposition. Their real value is in providing flexible space that just works. You get what you need to be successful and once you are in, it’s hard to give up the amenities and extras.

Smart buildings to tenant driven sites are about more than just cost savings, it’s about getting the lease renewal and then the next. It’s about earning additional revenue from additional value-added opportunities.

The path you take is more important than the decisions you make.

Every day is a step on the path that we take into the future. I’m not saying this philosophically, but practically. Every day, every decision, every choice adds to our individual experience. The people that we interact influence who we are.

The path that we walk is a better indicator of who we will each become than any given decision will be. The path is defined as the way we make decisions and generally choose to act. Any given decision may be influenced by any number of factors, but our path is the single biggest influence on most decisions.

Any given decision may be right, wrong, off base, off topic, ignored, irrelevant, and/or significant. However, each of those decisions influences the decisions that come after. If the path we walk is focused on “trust”, then most decisions will reflect that. If we walk a path of “caring for others”, then that should be reflected in our decisions.

Decisions are simply the precursor to action. It isn’t a simple expression of words, it the actions we actually take. When words and actions don’t align, trust actions.

All of this said another way, Actions make the Person.