Clout Can Give Facility Managers A Stronger Voice and More Security

  April 20, 2012

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Clout can give facility managers a stronger voice and more security.

Facility managers gain clout when they are recognized as valuable to top managers because of what they can offer. For facility managers in that position, some of the biggest facility management headaches go away, or at least come up less often.

For one thing, facility managers don't have to deal with so many surprises because they're aware of the plans other departments are making that will affect the facility. They are also in a position to champion facility needs. That makes it easier to get a hearing for major facility investments like replacing an aging generator.

Having clout makes the facility manager's job more stimulating and more secure. Without clout, says Stormy Friday, president of The Friday Group, "you're much more vulnerable to somebody coming in and saying, 'You know, these people don't add a great deal of value. Have you ever considered outsourcing your facility department?'"

Not everyone in facility management is comfortable with the term clout. These facility managers and consultants prefer "influence," "credibility" or "respect." It's true those terms don't come with the baggage that "clout" brings. But none implies so clearly the ability to get things done.

There's nothing magic about clout. It's not as if facility managers who have it always get their way, and it certainly isn't a license for facility managers to throw their weight around. But clout does give facility managers a chance to be heard when it counts — when decisions are being made that have important ramifications for a specific facility or for the entire real estate portfolio.

"If you have clout, you can explain to senior executives why sustainability is important, why contingency planning is important," says Friday. "You can then influence decisions about resource deployment."

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.


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