Getting People To Pay Attention

By Edward Sullivan, Editor  

I sometimes think many experienced facility executives fail to give themselves enough credit for the wealth of knowledge they’ve accumulated. They know which spaces in a building will produce the most complaints when the temperatures climb. They can explain why it will take six weeks, not three, to complete a renovation project. And they can see clearly what it costs to fire up an old boiler on days when only a fraction of its output is needed.

These facility executives — and you may be one of them — also understand that no one wants to hear about any of that. Instead, the rest of the organization only seems interested in what you don’t know. Like what caused that funny smell on the second floor yesterday.

Turning the situation around means getting others in the organization to listen to you, instead of just peppering you with questions.

Here’s where giving yourself enough credit comes in. You realize how much difference quality carpet will make to the appearance of a space. You understand the benefits of upgrading the HVAC system — maybe you’ve been doing it surreptitiously by sneaking projects into the budget. And you know the organization really should care about those things.

Getting people to pay attention may not be easy, but it can be done. Suppose you have an ancient generator that could fail at any time. Ask managers of other departments what it would cost them if the generator failed to start when needed. Then present that information to your boss.

Eventually, you will probably wind up in a discussion about budgeting for a new generator. But be patient if you get nowhere at first. Remember, you already know what has to be done. You have to give the rest of the organization time to catch up.


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  posted on 1/1/2008   Article Use Policy

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