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Planning for your real estate future

The trials of the past few years in the real estate industry have caused many professionals to re-evaluate their goals. With commercial real estate starting to see signs of new growth, now is an excellent opportunity to determine where you want to next take your career.

CREW San Diego held a Leadership Breakfast presentation on Nov. 15 to help CREW members and guests look to the future. Titled “The 6 Steps to Blast Off Your Career and Your Life,” the program featured Allison Maslan, CEO of a global business mentoring company.

CREW, which focuses on the needs of women in the commercial real estate industry, has conducted studies in recent years that show that while women are making strides, the divide between men and women is still large within the industry. Maslan’s six steps might provide the catalyst for closing the gap.

Maslan advises individuals to think back and examine the early motivations that led to their current career path. She also encourages setting a strategic plan for one’s future course. Maslan notes, “You must know what your vision is and have a plan to back it up.”

Strategic planning may be a familiar concept for commercial real estate professionals in terms of business-related projects, but using similar planning techniques for one’s own career growth may not be so easy.

Maslan suggests taking time out during the week to brainstorm. Brainstorming allows us to tap into our creativity and imagination and to develop new ideas. In the real estate industry where new ways of doing business are needed to counter the effects of the past several years of downturn, talking with ourselves could prove to be the beginning of something big.

Another of Maslan’s steps encourages individuals to "think like an inventor." She challenged the presentation attendees to constantly be thinking, “How do I make this better? Different? Easier?” By keeping an open mind and looking for solutions, one can move forward with new ideas and focus.

Having a big-picture vision is important to career and personal growth. According to Maslan, one way to create this vision is to write down, in present tense, where you want to be in one year and in five years. Include what your future situation looks like and feels like. Then determine what steps you must take to make this happen.

Maslan admits that taking on this type of self-reflection can be daunting. She suggests breaking the steps down into mini-steps that only take 10 minutes or so of time to complete and completing these mini-steps on a regular basis. Maslan used the example of writing a book. When she first set out to write her book, she envisioned locking herself away in a cabin without interruption and writing until it was done. Maslan soon realized that a better approach was to write one page a day while continuing her regular routine. The result was a best-seller.

While commercial real estate professionals may not be looking to write the next best-selling book, they may want to set a path toward new career goals. Mentoring can also help one reach new heights. Maslan provides professional mentoring, while CREW San Diego provides informal mentoring.

CREW and other real estate organizations provide training and education programs throughout the year designed to help both men and women grow professionally. Taking advantage of these organizations’ programs and other benefits can be an important step in moving forward with one’s career.

Warren is president of TW2 Marketing, a San Diego-based company with clients throughout the United States, including CREW San Diego.

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