This article is part of a series focused on bringing you insights from experienced and successful professionals about what they’ve learned and how they are adapting to the current business climate.
Cedric D. Thurman
Senior Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle
V Porfano: What characteristics, skills or abilities have you developed that help make you successful as a leader?
CT: I think the most important skills I have developed are my communications skills, the ability to create a vision people want to follow, and having a passion for what I do. My father used to tell me you have two ears and one mouth; listen twice as much as you talk. I think this taught me the importance of listening, which allows me to understand everyone’s perspective before making decisions. When people know they’re being heard, they feel they have a vested interest in the decision, which leads to the next skill I have developed. I believe as a leader your role is to get teams to work collaboratively to accomplish a goal. Creating a vision people want to follow can also mean influencing those you’re not responsible for to support the goal. If the vision isn’t clear or people feel it doesn’t address their interest, they won’t give 100% of their support. Listening to their needs, articulating what needs to be accomplished and why, as well as how it impacts everyone and meets their need,s allows one to be an effective leader. The final characteristic is being passionate about what you do. If you’re not, it can make it a challenge to get others to follow. When a person is passionate about anything, it draws others to them as the passion is admirable and people respect it.
V Porfano: Given that many corporations are now recovering from the economic meltdown, what leadership challenges are taking center stage today?
CT: The economic meltdown is creating pressure to create value for companies when it is getting harder to do so. I think as a leader you cannot cut corners or take short-cuts to create value; once you do that, your integrity gets called into question. And once your integrity is called into question, people will begin to lose respect for you and your effectiveness as a leader has been compromised. Integrity, sound judgment, and doing the right thing are the most important things regardless of economic conditions.
V Porfano: What experiences in your career best positioned or prepared you for a global leadership role?
CT: I don’t know if any one or two experiences have best positioned me for a global leadership role. I think it has more to do with the breadth of experiences.I say this because the experiences I have had have exposed me to people from various backgrounds, with diverse perspectives and a multitude of approaches to problem solving. Having an appreciation and respect for these diverse backgrounds and perspectives allows me to interact with anyone, and partner with them to accomplish our goals.
V Porfano: Did you take risks in your career? If so, what type of risks and how did they prepare you for the unexpected?
CT: I have taken several risks in my career, primarily related to taking unconventional roles. I began my career in commercial banking and could have followed traditional career paths in lending, but opted for roles in international trade finance, community development lending, retail branch development, and community banking. Upon transitioning to commercial real estate, I could have followed peers into office brokerage, but opted instead to help build a retail tenant representation team focused on the financial services client. I became the first CDO at Jones Lang LaSalle and built a strategy that linked diversity and inclusion to business. I also joined a recently-acquired business unit focused on transaction management for multi-site retailers. All of these were considered risky, but I saw them as opportunities to work in environments filled with uncertainty while proving I could still succeed. In my opinion, it’s more rewarding when you succeed when there is uncertainty in each step toward your goal.
Articles in the Experiences And Insights Series
- Experiences And Insights From Sami Miettinen
- Experiences And Insights from Cynthia Young
- Experiences And Insights from Suri Surinder
- Experiences And Insights From Cedric Thurman
- Experiences And Insights From Clara Wong
- Experiences And Insights From Mariano Legaz
Update 2/10/2013: Cedric Thurman’s photo added.