Building Operating Management

Making Headlines

By Ed Sullivan   Facilities Management

Headline news has a way of finding a place on the boardroom agenda. So it doesn’t take tea leaves to figure out that energy costs, terrorist threats and the risk of power outages on peak use days may well be topics of discussion with top executives.

One big question for facility executives is, “When?” After a blackout exposes weaknesses in the company’s back-up power plans? After rising energy bills catch the eye — and raise the ire — of the CFO?

The difficulty of getting the board to pay attention to facility issues before they reach a crisis stage highlights the importance of so-called soft skills like communication and leadership. It’s no wonder those skills characterize successful facility executives.

Ultimately, however, the CEO doesn’t really care about soft skills. What counts are good decisions. And decisions about technology present unique risks and opportunities for facility executives trying to keep up with — or ahead of — the headlines.

The risks of downright bad calls are plain enough. But the rewards for making a better-than-adequate decision are more subtle. Will a new CCTV algorithm improve security? Are lower wattage T-8 lamps a good choice? How about photoluminescent markings? A facility executive who can keep up with changing technology is in a position to add extra value to the organization by improving facility performance.

Will anyone notice? That’s up to the facility executive. The trick is to turn facility accomplishments into internal headlines. Add public relations to the list of soft skills a facility executive may want to master.

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  posted on 8/1/2005   Article Use Policy

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