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Commercial brokerage executive leans on resilience

Mike Griffin says seeing clients, associates adapt to changes is inspiring.

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 12:30 p.m. May 28, 2020
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Courtesy. MIke Griffin was a Business Observer 40 under recipnet in 2018.
Courtesy. MIke Griffin was a Business Observer 40 under recipnet in 2018.
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Executive: Mike Griffin, senior vice president, market leader 

Company: Savills, Tampa 

Focus: Griffin handles occupier/tenant services, and has completed commercial real estate transactions totaling more than 6.3 million square feet

Community involvement: Chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in 2017; appointed to the Tampa Port Authority Board in 2017 by then-Gov. Rick Scott. 

Working situation: I have been working from home since March 16. The Savills Tampa office started to reopen the week of May 18 for team members desiring to return to the office on a limited basis. I plan to continue working from home and will slowly increase my presence in the office over the coming weeks.

Biggest WFH challenge: Missing the comforts of and friendships at the office. The first week, I worked from my back porch. While working outside during one of Florida’s best months of the year was beautiful, the gravity of the pandemic sunk in. Realizing remote work throughout 2020 might be needed to maintain social distancing recommendations motivated me to transform my home office that was previously more of a storage facility into a sanctuary that inspires me. While the camaraderie of leading an amazing team in-person is sorely missed, my (almost) daily lunch dates with my 2-year-old son can’t be beat.

Most important lesson you've learned in the shutdown: Focus on what you can change. COVID-19 is a black swan for which no business could have truly been prepared. That said, it’s been amazing watching the businesses — especially my clients — that accepted the challenge, pivoted their strategy and leaned on their resilience to forge a new path. Similar to how businesses must adapt to technology, automation and other disruptions in their industries, these businesses are great examples of how to make necessary changes, provide even better goods or services and rise above what is trying to bring you down.

Books, articles, TV shows, podcasts and/or audiobooks you’ve focused on: Books: I am currently finishing “The Quartet” and just started “The Coddling of the American Mind.” TV shows: I am watching (again) "The Wire" (the best television show ever created) and "Cheers" after finishing "Narcos" and "Ozark" on Netflix. Outside of Netflix, "The Last Dance" and "Billions" are the latest must watches in addition to, of course, "Seinfeld" and "The Office." I am (also) absorbing as much as I can to understand how others are approaching the reopening of their businesses and economies around the world.

How far out into the future are you looking? Right now, I am laser focused on supporting my clients and ensuring the success of my team in 2020. An eternal optimist, from a longer three-year standpoint, I am excited to continue adding new talent to the Savills Tampa Team.

How do you maintain your spirit/morale? How do you keep the team motivated? A silver lining of the past several weeks is the amount of time I have spent with my family. From neighborhood walks with our golden lab to helping my son chase lizards and learn new songs, this time, along with my strong faith and daily prayers, has grounded me and kept me focused on the positive. Turning to my team and clients, meeting their needs and ensuring their success, is my focus every single day. Although in-person interaction is missed, leadership and support have been provided through one-on-one mentorships, Team Zoom Happy Hours (including with clients), and socially distanced support of each other’s families.

Exercise or stress relief have you’ve turned to during the crisis: I try to average between 10,000 to 13,000 steps a day via run/walk (OK, mostly walking). I started this prior to COVID-19 but am now much more consistent. I am also using my grill — including occasionally for lunches even on the weekdays — and Big Green Egg more than ever. Cooking more from home and family meals are big stress relievers that bring joy to my day.

Last trip to out of the house: This week was my son’s first cleaning at the dentist. It was a great experience, even for my son! I have also conducted a few essential in-person meetings with my clients and community members.  Plenty of social distancing, hand sanitizers and masks for all!

What are you most looking forward to post-lockdown/pandemic? This list is long, but for those who know me well, it will come as no surprise I am ready to cheer on the USF football team in-person at Raymond James Stadium (Go Bulls!). I am also excited to physically interact with my team, clients and in the community. 


Click the links below to hear how more regional executives are handling the shutdowns.


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