"I won't pat myself on the back for being smarter than other guys. We acted on what we saw," Moghadam said. "It's not just the ability to see trends, but the courage to do something about it. Many people, when faced with evidence that doesn't fit their thesis, stick their head in the sand."
Right place, right timeMoghadam also moved against conventional wisdom when he began buying distribution facilities near global trade hubs — seaports, international airports and large metropolitan areas — while other real estate companies were building warehouses in low-cost areas. Moghadam failed to see the wisdom in building storage facilities in low-cost areas far removed from major population centers. So, AMB focused on acquiring distribution facilities and cargo buildings in major cities close to global trade centers.
AMB also pursued an alternative strategy with rapid growth markets in Brazil, Mexico and China, where the company aggressively developed facilities to store and deliver consumer products to the rapidly expanding middle classes in those countries.
Culture of empowered accountabilityMoghadam realized, along with his management team, that he could not run a $45 billion real estate company from the top down. To create a more nimble enterprise, Prologis is building what Moghadam calls a "culture of empowered accountability." Big corporations have inherent advantages of scale and extensive resources, he says. But eventually, employees at large companies become like "house cats because they don't have to fend for themselves."To help local business leaders fend for themselves and win on the ground, Prologis gives them the leeway to make local investment decisions and then, once they are vetted, get them approved by corporate risk management teams. To make sure everyone operates from the same playbook, Moghadam has instilled a strong sense of corporate values. "You can't write a 400-page manual for people to consult whenever they want to take action," he says.