Show, Don’t Tell

facility management, communications, strategic planning, budgeting   February 18, 2008

I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today’s topic is persuading top executives of the need to invest in facilities.

Many facility executives struggle to get funding for projects that are essential but not at all glamorous. Whether it’s repairing leaky windows or replacing an unreliable chiller, facility upgrades are sometimes viewed by top management as projects that can safely be deferred. The problem is that senior executives simply don’t understand the risks involved.

One way to change that point of view is to show top management the state of the facility instead of just talking about it. Start by picking someone who seems at least a bit sympathetic to the idea of investing in the facility infrastructure. Then show that person some of the worst spots in the building or on the campus. For example, show them just how hard it is to get the old generator started.

That tour could prompt some hard questions from the top executives involved. But it can pay off. One facility executive showed his organization’s president the worst building on campus, then warned that, unless more money were invested in facilities, the entire campus could look that way within a decade. The result: The president became a champion for facility renewal.


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