John Forrester, Cushman & Wakefield
The big launch event is over and we were just wondering if this week could get any better when we realised that we had a truly exciting inspiring individual to present this week: John Forrester the Cushman & Wakefield Global President (cue everyone tripping over themselves to hear what he had to say). Read on to find out about John's inspring journey from office clerk in Carlisle to the top of his company. Take it from us, he knows what he's talking about.
Hi John, we are very excited to be talking with you today, could you begin by briefly describing your career journey so far?
I didn't get the grades to make it on to my aspired veterinary science degree, and not even a real estate one. So, in order to show commitment and gain experience I took a job in Carlisle with a general practice firm of agents as the office clerk at 25 pounds a week! I loved everything about it, even though initially it was just putting up For Sale boards outside houses. I re-applied for an undergraduate degree and was eventually accepted on to a Higher National Diploma at Nottingham Trent. Due to the work experience I pretty quickly made it up onto the main degree. After a sandwich year in Nottingham I only came down to London on graduation to get my APC with a view to returning north.
But I never made it out. Because of my terrible A levels, even my degree didn't get me through the door and into work, not even a 'no thank you' from most firms but Cluttons took a chance on me. I worked around some amazing characters there. Post APC I was headhunted into what is now Cushman & Wakefield and progressed through the West End starting in Development, then Agency, then London as whole. I was never the youngest to be promoted, never got the highest bonus, but I knew what it took to get on - listen, never repeat your inevitable mistakes, confess when you get something wrong and always take the long view, especially with client relationships. Since leading market teams, I have been fortunate enough to be given higher responsibility and I have only ever tried to apply those behaviours from the start of my career to every stage, although my colleagues would smile at the 'listen'.
Fantastic! In such an interesting career you must have encountered the odd set back and mistake, are there any that stand out to you?
I am infamous internally for making some absolute howlers down the years. - and I mean big ones. However, this is an incredibly supportive industry and the fact that it is the last personality led sector means that everyone helps you back on your feet. One of the most important traits of a good leader is to be supportive of their team - yes, drive high standards -but also be loyal and above all be a good mentor so that everyone can rebound when they trip. So what did I learn from those howlers? To be supportive of colleagues if they slip.
I think everyone here would like to be a member of a team with a great leader and (hopefully) become one themselves. But at the beginning of their career, what advice would you give to a young person starting out?
Property it is a very small place - everyone you meet today you will meet again and again and competitors become clients. So, treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.
We can only thank John again for kindly being our inspiration for this week ahead and we hope that everyone has gained that little spark that they need to push themselves that much closer towards their goals!