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August 27, 2012 -
Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Facility managers should seek visibility within the organization, not try to remain invisible.
Many facility managers not only accept the idea that the facility management role is thankless and invisible, but even believe that a certain level of invisibility is a hallmark of a well-run facility. That perception, even as it is less and less accurate, breeds a comfort level with keeping communication a low priority, says Bert Gumeringer, director of facilities operations and security services at Texas Children's Hospital.
"I think that's what a lot of facility management leaders fail to grasp," Gumeringer says. "If we communicate, collaborate and market our departments well, instead of being viewed as that necessary evil in the organization, you can be viewed as an asset."
Facility managers are not the only professionals who aren’t good communicators. "Fear of public speaking is right up there with fear of taxes and fear of death," says John Finney, senior communication and change management consultant, Towers Watson. In fact, fear of public speaking is often listed as number one among the things Americans fear most.
To make things worse, many facility managers follow a career path that exacerbates the communication challenge.
But here’s the rub. Facility managers now have so many varied responsibilities and are so visible within their organizations that it is increasingly essential they should be able to communicate effectively, says Richard Christiano, assistant professor in the facilities planning and management program at Wentworth Institute of Technology. "There's an art to it. If you can't do that, you're never going to be successful because people are going to dismiss you as less qualified."
This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.