Seeing Facilities from a Different Point of View

Maintenance and engineering managers often hear that they are the in-house experts on their facilities.

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor  

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." — Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird” 

Maintenance and engineering managers often hear that they are the in-house experts on their facilities. How did they achieve that status? For the savviest managers, one proven strategy is first to acknowledge that they cannot see everything happening in their buildings and then to ask others for their points of view.  

This strategy came to mind during recent conversations about different aspects of operating and maintaining facilities.  

Kristen Panella, owner of 2SAFE Consulting, described his experiences helping facilities update their safety strategies during the pandemic. The answers often came from unexpected sources: 

“Safety professionals relied on other people. It wasn’t just the safety officer coming up with solutions for a problem with social distancing. It was facilities managers. It was HR directors. If you're a creative person and had common sense, whether you're in safety field or not, you rose to the top because people wanted answers.” 

Alison Flynn Gaffney, president of the healthcare division of JLL, also advises healthcare facilities managers seeking to enhance facility security to find different points of view: 

“I would propose looking closely at spaces that house a tremendous amount of people. Sometimes, because we're in (the healthcare) business, we perhaps don't see the view of a patient or visitor or community member or the team. It can help to look at those opportunities within the healthcare environment for where events could happen.” 

Harper Lee’s insight no doubt holds true for people seeking common ground with one another. But for managers willing to seek input from others, it also creates a free opportunity to improve the safety, reliability and performance of facilities. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 

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  posted on 3/31/2023   Article Use Policy

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