If I Only Had a Personality

by Ken Robertson
KBS Regional President, Central U.S.

The “Wizard of Oz” may have been on to something — the allure of someone or something struggling with a piece of them that is missing. The Tin Man minus a heart, the Lion who lacks courage or the Scarecrow without a brain — it all feels so apropos. If I only had a personality, if I only had a personality — click, click — Dorothy, take me home.

So this is what comes to mind when I walk the yellow brick road of real estate, when I look at so many neglected, sometimes ignored office buildings. I imagine some of them, the uniquely good, special and underappreciated ones, whispering out to me, “If I only had a personality.”  So an interesting question emerges: Can an inanimate object conjure up something resembling a personality, a signature style or magnetism that makes you say, “Wow, this is somebody (or someplace) I really enjoy being around!” Can this type of building exhibit the virtues and attractiveness we find in our favorite people?  If something as lifeless as the clothes we wear or the car we drive can be transformed by Giorgio Armani and Enzo Ferrari into something to excite the senses, so can a place that we spend more time in, more waking hours of our lives within, than with our closest friends and family – our place of work.

What personality traits would you want conjuring your emotions in a place where you go every day to take part in the great American machine of capitalism?  Would you want to be inspired?  Yes — inspired for greatness!  Would you want to be energized and given all the tools necessary to marshal resources in an effective, dare I say, world-class way?  Heck, yes!  Would you want to be uplifted and supported so that your best thoughts and ideas flow like a river on a daily basis?  Sure — who wouldn’t! So answering this call is an idea which is as big and powerful as harnessing the best in all of us!  Where we buy, what we buy, what capital we invest to create this ideal environment — together, all conspire to create a building’s unique personality. It’s a personality designed to inspire people to be their best and attract the very best. The heart and soul of the environment promotes the type of caring and dedication that comes from moving people emotionally on some level by showing that you believe in them, that their work makes a difference, and that the world is a better place because of them and their place in it.

A building can have a personality, in fact, creating a building’s unique personality is powerful, important work I’m so excited to participate in each day.


Ken Robertson is the KBS Regional President for the Central U.S.
Ken is an outspoken advocate of lifestyle-centric buildings.  His ideas have had a major impact on the KBS portfolio.

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