Edward Wagoner is the CIO for Digital at JLL Technologies, one of the world\u2019s leading real estate and investment management firms with annual revenue of $16.5 billion, operations in over 80 countries, and a global workforce of more than 90,000 people. \n\nA 25-year technology veteran at JLL, Wagoner previously served as the company\u2019s Global CIO for Corporate Solutions, and before that as CIO for its Americas Region. \n\nCIO.com\u2019s Maryfran Johnson sat down with Wagoner on a recent episode of CIO Leadership Live to discuss creating workplaces that draw people in, how he engineered the pivot into his new role, and how he creates space for change.\n\nFollowing are edited excerpts of that conversation. For more of Wagoner\u2019s insights, watch the full interview embedded below.\n\nOn the return to office:\n\nReal estate has been a slow adopter of technology, but there were trends that were starting pre-pandemic, they\u2019ve just accelerated because of the pandemic. \n\nThe office is one place where many people feel like they\u2019ve been forced, or they\u2019ve not had a great experience. When we create that good experience that draws people in, then when people choose to come in or when they need to come to collaborate, to socialize, for training, or maybe to just get out of the house, that great experience will draw [them] in.\n\nBut when you drill into it about how people work, about different situations and opportunities, what you find out is people really want the flexibility and the choice. They will come back for the right reasons. \n\nOn the CIO as change agent: \n\nI think I have a unique perspective, because I went through a personal and professional transformation right before the pandemic. And I think a lot of us may say, \u201cI like change\u201d or \u201cI embrace change.\u201d But I think most people that say that, they like controlled change, they like change that they\u2019re initiating. \n\n[JLL has] never been better positioned like we are today to meet the challenges and the opportunities for technology in our industry. But I have to say if it had been left up just to me, we would not be transformed the way we are now.\n\nI was inspired by a speech by H. James Dallas, who\u2019s the retired CIO for Georgia-Pacific, who talked about the different ways that you can manage change in your company. He said CIOs need to be agents of change. And he said, the single best way to lead change is to break glass on yourself. I went back and said, \u201cI\u2019ve got to change. I\u2019m not sure what that is. The team needs to change. We\u2019ve been very successful over 25 years, but we would probably build it a little differently.\u201d \n\nOn playing to your strengths:\n\nNow, for me personally, the strength feedback [from my executive coaching] was across the board that I had this ability to take technical concepts and explain it to businesspeople and real estate people in a non-threatening way. \n\nSo [my new] role initially was to go out and talk to our clients about the acquisitions we had made, the new technology capabilities. I was on my way to my first keynote with a client to talk about this when the world shut down. And so pretty quickly [the role became even more externally focused]. It was Could you talk to this media? Could you talk to this group? Can you talk to this big company that wants to understand what we\u2019re thinking? \n\nAnd so, I think my message to a lot of people is to be right time, right place. You\u2019ve got to engage with some of those changes and coaching and play to your strengths. I think as CIOs, quite often we get pulled into operations, we get pulled into the task of the day. And being able to be freed up from some of that, with the right people that are towering strengths in that area where I\u2019m not allows me to play better to my strength.\n\nOn embracing the outsider\u2019s view:\n\nIt\u2019s always challenging when you\u2019ve been with a company for so long and been so successful to have a new person come in and say, \u201cWhy are you doing it this way?\u201d And as they start asking questions, you realize they\u2019re about to tell you there\u2019s a better way, because of their background and experience. \n\nWe\u2019ve brought in a lot [of] Silicon Valley people [who] don\u2019t know anything about real estate. Well, that\u2019s okay. I do. They know a lot about different ways of thinking, different technologies. \n\nAnd so having this external talent to come in, that is going to think differently, and engaging that and welcoming that is so critical to that transformative thinking. \n\nOn adopting a future-focused mindset:\n\nIn IT, I think so often we get the \u201cIt works, I don\u2019t want any problems.\u201d Think about the classic help desk. Make the problem go away, keep the data center up. And all of those are important. But we also need to challenge ourselves to think out of the box. \n\nWe need to challenge ourselves that what worked really, really well a year ago, two years ago, is not going to work really, really well in the future, especially in the real estate industry, which had been slow to adopt technologies. And now the trend has accelerated and the impacts.