Dylan Taylor: Visionary Leader Impacts Outsourcing and Real Estate

by | 21 February 2017

The following is an excerpt from an article in the IAOP’s PULSE Magazine, honoring Colliers International President and COO Dylan Taylor, who was recently inducted into the IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame.

Today, concepts like global account management and collaboration are commonplace in outsourcing engagements. But back in the 1990s, they were pioneering ideas that Dylan Taylor helped bring to the market in two different industries.

As he looks into the future, Taylor, the President and COO for Colliers International, sees the trends of coworking and freelance talent along with automation having a greater influence on how we work.

For this and his contributions to both outsourcing and society, Taylor will be honored by the industry at the IAOP Awards Luncheon at OWS17 when he is inducted into the IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame.

In his nomination, Dr. Michael Max Buehler, Head of Infrastructure & Urban Development at the World Economic Forum said Taylor was deserving of the honor for his “over 25 years of impact on the global outsourcing industry, his unique achievements in vanguard account management models that have proven both durable and transcending industries, his thought leadership and innovation that he has brought to the area of global commerce and global outsourcing, his impact on society through his efforts, and his commitment to IAOP and its goals and objectives.”

P: Tell me about some of your personal highlights related to outsourcing in your career.

Before my focus on real estate, I was in the electronics industry (at SAIA Burgess, Switzerland). In the early to mid 1990s, we wanted to come up with a way to service clients with respect to an outsourcing agreement that cut through the silos that existed. We helped pioneer the concept of global account management teams. Twenty years ago it was pretty revolutionary that you would take resources within a company and create an organization and P&L around a client, and manage them in a globally outsourced manner. I’m very proud of the fact that we were able to recognize the need and create a solution for the client that ended up applying to a lot of different industries, not only manufacturing, but also service businesses.

When I first entered the real estate industry, it was still the early days for outsourcing within the business. The challenge at that time was how do you create an integrated outsourcing relationship and provide an offering that delivered more value than just the sum of the parts with a focus on business needs and strategy. I was able to work with very talented professionals in the industry to tackle that problem.

P: What are some of the lessons you learned?

Most of my lessons, especially of late are about talent and talent management. At the end of the day, I believe that whoever has the best people has the best company. It’s really that simple. It’s all about the quality of your people and the extent you can train, and better yet, cross train your people. Having skill sets that can adapt to new roles is very important so you can create flexible, adaptable solutions for your clients.

P: Tell me how Colliers approaches outsourcing.

All organizations, in some way shape or form, use real estate. Colliers provides a whole suite of services from data administration (lease administration) to strategic planning to transaction management, project management and facility management. We take all those various services, customize them, integrate them and deliver that with a performance-based account model so the client has a single point of contact. Another thing we’re very proud of – Colliers is probably the most global real estate firm, operating in 67 countries. We are very capable of delivering services across international markets. I think this is a key competitive advantage and differentiator for us.

P: What were some of your predictions in Corporate Real Estate 2010: The Strategic Role of Place, originally published in 2003 that are true of the outsourcing landscape today?

Some things seem pretty obvious now but weren’t perhaps as obvious in 2003. We basically concluded there will be a huge trend toward offshoring. We said that if it’s a task orientated effort, it will be offshored and if it’s strategic it will be associated with a location that will house knowledge workers. In those days, it was actually a little bold to make those declarations. We also talked about how the workplace itself would evolve and offices would become more collaborative and more open plan because there would be a bigger need for cross functional collaboration to service clients.

P: What does the office of the future look like?

I think the coworking phenomenon is likely to continue to gain traction. I believe we will have more and more situations where we will have freelance talent co-located with full time talent.

I think it will be highly enabled by technology. Not too far out, you will have tools like virtual reality and augmented reality where you can better visualize what your office will look like. Hiring someone to do a particular task on a given day as opposed to having a full-time person to execute on that will be prevalent. I think where you locate will still matter because if it’s a game of talent, you’re going to want to attract and retain the best talent and therefore, you want to locate where top talent wants to be.

For more detail, read the full version of this article on Colliers.com.