Q & A

Executive Insight with Rob Gosse

As Senior Vice President of Client Service in Canada, Rob Gosse has played a key role in developing and executing projects to drive revenue growth in the Canadian brokerage business.

In particular, he led the creation of Canada’s successful broker-managed account business. He now works closely with the senior leadership team in the Americas to conceptualize and implement initiatives focused on service excellence, relationship development and performance optimization within Canada’s brokerage business. When he is not out working with clients and Colliers professionals, you are more than likely to find him with his family or in a hockey rink, coaching boys and girls who are learning Canada’s game.

How did you get started in the industry?

I began my real estate career as an urban planner in Toronto. I loved the process of collaborating with a diverse range of people to imagine the future of the city and set development strategies to achieve that vision. What I didn’t like was the length of time it took to get things done. I left that field, completed an MBA and wanted to stay connected to real estate. At that time, David Bowden, Colliers’ Canadian CEO, was launching a corporate services platform, and the opportunity to help build a business with global potential in a faster-moving sector of the real estate industry drew me in.

What was your first job?

My first job was a paper route. As an 11-year-old, it provided an early sense of independence, responsibility and reward. Of course, it wasn’t until my son started his own route that I grew to appreciate how much my parents did to support my perceived independence. When your child has a paper route, you have one as well.

What inspires you?

I get fired up when I come across an innovative idea conveyed in a compelling way. That can happen through great writing, speeches, paintings or music. I suppose some of that comes from growing up the son of a minister, listening to sermons on Sundays and seeing or experiencing the impact of great oratory. Wherever it comes from, I know that seeing a painting by Lawren Harris, listening to Jimmy Page pull something out of the ether, or hearing a great speaker who is really connecting always seems to strike a chord.

Who are your role models?

My parents first and foremost. My father chose a profession that he pursued with passion and showed me that leadership can be given by understanding how to serve others in an effective and compassionate way. My mother demonstrated her own commitment to serving others as a nurse, and in her passion and energy in our family life. I see the same traits in my wife, who is a dedicated high school teacher and nurtures our children in their development.

What advice would you give to someone entering the business?

This is a dynamic business, and there are many paths to success. Some people have the good fortune of knowing what they want from day one, and they go for it. For most of us, however, I think it is an ongoing process to find your own strengths and design your own path to success. The great thing about Colliers is that the culture of collaboration, and the tools and coaching available to us through Colliers University, can drive you on that journey if you are open to it. So, be curious. Ask your colleagues, your clients and yourself plenty of questions, and be open to change and the growth that change can bring.

What are your favorite business books?

I read so many of them, I’m not sure I could declare a favourite, but Switch by Dan and Chip Heath is certainly top-of-mind at the moment. So much of what we try to do involves change management, and while no one has the definitive answer on how to foster change, the framework that the Heath brothers outline has been instrumental in helping us map out our Net Promoter Score (NPS) strategy in Canada.

Any words to live by?

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

These words remind me to avoid the paralysis that can come from overanalyzing and overdesigning solutions, and to make sure to move forward and take action.

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