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From Site Selection magazine, March 2023

Expanding Your Strategic Reach

Karen Shchuka


s real estate professionals, we typically share a common challenge. Namely, to do our jobs more productively and efficiently in the pursuit of improved corporate asset value. Yet, there’s another approach that might not be as common, and it all begins with seeking answers to questions you never asked before.

Redefining how we approach our value proposition as professionals takes a little soul searching. It requires stepping out of our comfort zones to explore the possibility that there might be other ways of tackling the issues we face and achieving or surpassing the goals we’ve set for ourselves. It requires a practical perspective on what’s truly feasible.

For me, this approach has been proven at Penske. By identifying new opportunities and crafting a business case, it is possible to gear up with the tools needed to deliver a new value proposition. And therein lies another benefit. If you can uncover those new paths to value enhancement, you’ll be sending a clear message to leadership that the company’s real estate department is made up of proactive, out-of-the box strategists.

Over the next few letters, we’ll be exploring the steps needed to achieve that next level of value enhancement. Here’s a preview: 

Step 1: Identify opportunities, those initiatives you’re not doing or could do better. To explore new opportunities, you need to open your frames of reference, get input from and share ideas with peers, service providers, economic developers. Seek out colleagues from inside your company, such as operations or finance, and disparate external firms as well to explore commonalities and their unique ways of solving issues.

And now I’d like to state the obvious: We’re talking about networking here, as there are few other places that offer the networking power of IAMC membership. 

Step 2: Determine applicability to your business. Not everything you hear from your corporate real estate peers and partners will apply to your situation. After all, every business is different, with different goals and challenges. But you’ll find a surprising number of solutions that are indeed applicable, solutions you never thought of before, and for purposes of this exercise, that’s exactly what you’re after.  

Step 3: Evaluate the total costs and benefits of each opportunity. This includes your bench strength and other necessities, such as additional software support, if those indeed are necessary. Not every solution requires a capital outlay. Obviously, this evaluation will be critical to a thorough cost/benefit analysis. And that brings us to the final step: 

Step 4: Allow critiques of the program, including costs and benefits, with all of the above-mentioned peers, especially your internal partners. This is essentially your proof of concept. Warning: Don’t be afraid of criticism. Park your pride of authorship at the door and allow your partners to poke holes in the plan and adjust accordingly. Also, don’t be over-eager to get the ear of the C-suite. Make all of the above stops along the way. Only then will you be prepared to present the findings of your business case to corporate leadership. 


In our next letter, we’ll do a deeper dive into Steps 1 and 2: Information Gathering. 


Karen Shchuka

Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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