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How To Hold Steady in a Fast-Paced FM World
The roster of speakers for the 2018 National Facilities Management & Technology Conference and Exposition (NFMT), March 20-22 at the Baltimore Convention Center, includes more than 100 leading experts. Among them are Stormy Friday, MPA, Hon. FMA, IFMA Fellow, president of The Friday Group; Michael B. Cowley, CPMM, president of CE Maintenance Solutions; and John DeBenedictis, Canadian facilities director, enterprise real estate, TD Bank Group. Earlier this year, at NFMT 2017, Friday, Cowley, and DeBenedictis were part of a panel discussion entitled “Balancing Act: How to Hold Steady in a Fast-Paced FM World.” Following are some of the tips and insights from this NFMT educational session.
How to position yourself as a leader
A variety of tactics and strategies were advocated to help facilities managers position themselves as leaders and bring their departments to the forefront of their organizations. First of all, recognize that real estate is among the top three costs of an organization; the others are IT and HR. That means you and your department can have a significant impact on your organization’s bottom line when you see yourself as part of that real estate function. You become a leader when you are viewed as a real estate expert that is empowered to help your organization grow.
One of the more intriguing recommendations along this line came out in the NFMT opening session: Take “facilities manager” out of your job title. Most facility managers, DeBenedictis said, “are real estate managers and decision makers. Taking yourself out of the facilities sector and into the real estate sector empowers you with more diversity.”
“Categorizing ourselves as facilities creates a box for us,” he said. Putting yourself in the mindset that you are the real estate provider for your organization greatly expands the boundaries of the box. That change affords you more career opportunities and exposes you to more senior-level members of your organization.
A second recommendation was to make sure management knows what you do. Set up a program of executive summaries. Start by determining what your boss or board wants to know. What’s important to them? It could be energy and sustainability, safety, or occupant satisfaction. Then develop a 15-minute presentation that summarizes what you accomplished last year, what you plan to complete this year, and what you’ll accomplish the year after that.
Third, have HR job shadow you and your department for a morning. This gives them a sense of what you do and how you deliver your services.
How to achieve more balance at work
As an FM with multiple responsibilities you must juggle many things. To succeed you need to understand which balls are glass and which ones are rubber. The rubber ones, you’re going to miss occasionally and catch them on the second or third bounce. The glass ones, you have to maintain and keep moving forward.
Balancing ever-increasing workloads
Do not treat your reports all the same. Understand that everyone has unique talents and is good at specific tasks. Play to their strengths. Assign tasks to everyone by their ability to complete the task successfully and by giving them tasks that they enjoy more.
Secondly, do a better job engaging with your service providers. Many of them can do more for you than just provide the purchased service. It’s not a cost issue as they will not charge you higher prices to get more involved with your organization. Instead they view it as an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with you. This year consider having service providers deliver a task that has traditionally been handled internally.
NFMT 2018 is all about making you a better facility manager. Its classes, networking, and expo are all designed to make you more successful. You’ll learn first-hand from such leaders as Friday, Cowley, and De Benedictis.
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