ATLANTA—After 10 years in the industry, Franklin Street has learned plenty—and overcome its fair share of challenges. GlobeSt.com caught up with Andrew Wright, the firm’s CEO and managing partner, to discuss challenges and corporate culture in part two of this exclusive interview series. You can still read part one: Carving Out a Big Niche in a Down Market.
GlobeSt.com: What were some key hurdles you have had to overcome during the last 10 years to get to where you are now?
Wright: We’re in the business of people. Coordinating people is very difficult, so it’s been hard. We’ve had personal challenges, going through that great recession—something that impacted Florida and the real estate industry very deeply.
It brought a whole host of challenges, from financial pressures to a lot of talent leaving the business to longtime clients going out of business. Having to constantly reinvent yourself and adapt to that new environment was one of the biggest challenges that we dealt with.
You also experience new challenges as you grow. Managing a company culture is different when you’re 25 people than when you’re more than 250 people.
The messaging and coordination has been a challenge. When you’re growing, you’re always doing something that’s never been done in your company’s history. It’s hard to remain innovative while also balancing your company values and caring about people.
What I’ve learned in 10 years is that business is about overcoming challenges and solving problems. Your ability to raise your game to meet each challenge, each time, is something that we have done well, and hopefully will continue to do moving forward.
GlobeSt.com: How important is company culture in the commercial real estate industry?
Wright: Company culture is important to all people. Life is about more than earning a paycheck and all people realize that.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. People leave a company because they hate where they work, but then realize that while the issues may change, they have problems at their new job as well. That situation will always be exacerbated by how people feel about their coworkers, their supervisors, their opportunities and the leaders of the organization.
Aside from how they feel about their surroundings, people want to feel they are a part of something important. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, for myself included. It’s about having all your work matter.
It’s not just about doing a job and collecting a pay check. In the end, you’ll look back on your life and ask, “Where did I make a difference? What did I contribute?” I think that’s true for everybody, everywhere, not just at Franklin Street and not just in the real estate industry.