Published March/April 2013
There’s an episode of the classic 1990s sitcom “Seinfeld” in which the irascible George Costanza finds himself wanting out of his front-office job with the New York Yankees for a new position with the Bronx Bombers’ crosstown rivals, the Mets. League rules, however, prevent the Mets from negotiating with him while he’s still on the Yankees’ payroll. So, the rest of the episode chronicles Costanza’s unsuccessful attempts to get the ax—dragging the World Series trophy around behind his car in the parking lot, streaking across Yankee Stadium, ruining Babe Ruth’s uniform.
Costanza’s problem: Eccentric Yankees owner George Steinbrenner erroneously reads his insubordination as an ingenious campaign to shake the world champions from their complacency.
“Big Stein” might have been wrong about Costanza, but he wasn’t wrong about the corrosive effects of success. Business history is filled with stories of companies that have fallen by the wayside after resting on their laurels.
In their 50-plus years in existence in the United States, REITs have had a great run. The world around them today is changing, though, a notable example being the growing diversity of the workforce.
More and more women are not only filling up the cubicles of REITs’ offices, they’re pulling up chairs in boardrooms, too.
REITs may have thrived in the past with a workplace environment heavy on male executives, but that was then. Evolving at the top will help ensure they’re just as successful in the future.