Team Player: More than Just Coach-Speak
For years, institutional and commercial facilities have asked maintenance and engineering managers to be team players during budget discussions.
Facility executives for decades have viewed these departments as cost centers, and they tend to look there first when making cuts. In this scenario, managers unfortunately understand too well what it means to take one for the team.
With that fact in mind while reporting on this month's Roundtable on building a budget I expected managers to unload some funding-related frustration. Instead, I heard responses that would make the coach of any team proud.
"There's no sense in butting heads with them because it's not going to get you anywhere," one manager said of his relationship with those having final say over his budget. "So you have to work with them, and it's just a matter of everyone being on the same page and being a team player."
Said another manager, "I've never had a year where I looked at it and said, 'Wow, we had a great year, let's try to get a lot of money.' It's always trying to do more for less, even in the good years."
Nobody understands the impact of uncontrollable costs more than maintenance and engineering managers, who deal with unexpected events every day. So if they are conscientious in managing costs they can control — acting as team players — unpredictable events that result in major costs might not elicit the flak they would if managers resist and refute proposed cuts when compiling budgets every year.
Constantly hearing about being a team player can get old, but as the managers above can attest, the best time to fall in line might be during budget season.
Chris Matt offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.
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