Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

New Book The Coming Jobs War Holds Insight for Commercial Real Estate

By BOMA President Henry Chamberlain

There is an insightful new business book out by Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton. The Coming Jobs War is focused on job creation and building businesses. Clifton strongly believes that innovation is overrated, that innovation without entrepreneurs to connect ideas to customers is a waste of time. He strongly believes we all should be studying behavioral economics – how we can increase sales per person.

In terms of the current economy, Clifton thinks we should be concentrating on the six million small businesses that will be creating two thirds of the jobs going forward. Right now he likens them to turtles with their heads in their shells, not because there is a lack of available financing, but rather a lack of confidence in the future of regulations and their impact on them. Real job creation is not going to come from political decisions but rather from the “tribal leaders” in communities, those with the money and the passion for the cities to get involved by supporting businesses and creating viable communities. He likens government subsidies to feeding bears at national parks: if you do, the bears forget how to forage for themselves and become dependent on handouts.

Clifton sees colleges and universities as business watering holes where public-private partnerships come together. Statistically, Gallup research has found there are three entrepreneurs for every 1,000 workers and nurturing them should be our focus in driving competitiveness. Entrepreneurs take “no” as a challenge, it gets their heart rates going and they find a way to build customers, members and markets. Clifton does not believe you can train entrepreneurs; you mentor them when you find them.

He tells the story that 30 years ago when the world economy totaled $15 trillion, the thinking was that Japanese and German economies were going to surpass the U.S. and would be dominating today. They predicted Japan’s economy would grow to about $5 trillion, which it did, and Germany to $4.8 trillion, which it did, but they thought the United States would be at about $5 trillion as well –we grew to $15 trillion. It was done on the backs of Baby Boomers who originated products and services (i.e. Internet, technology, biotech) and shipped it out, creating huge business opportunities. Our battle over the next 30 years is capturing our share of the new $140 trillion in a projected $200 trillion economy.

There are some powerful insights and lessons for us to consider in positioning BOMA and commercial real estate companies for an even brighter future in this book. If you are looking for some holiday reading, I recommend it.