Are you a potential FM industry expert? Then WE NEED YOU.
FM magazine will be running a version of ‘Ask The Expert’ from the February/March 2019 issue and we’re looking for trusted and discerning voices to share their insights, of which three to four responses will be selected for publication in each issue of FM. To help launch this worthwhile initiative in Australia we will initially draw upon the wisdom and experience of those who organise and manage its inspiration – the version that appears in the bimonthly Facilities Management Journal (FMJ).
The FMJ is published by the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA), which exists to provide members with myriad offerings for learning, growth, community and professional success through publications, events, meetings, learning resources, accreditation and career resources. It is active across the globe, has in excess of 24,000 members and is therefore rich in facilities management knowledge and practice for practitioners, users and others in the industry.
IFMA has a number of internal councils that serve respective communities within the Association, one of which is the Facilities Management Consultants Council or FMCC. This body of globally active members numbers 240 and comprises independent as well as organisationally employed consultants. FMCC members are recognised as go-to resources for expertise and support in the FM industry. The FMCC seeks to enhance the FM profession by enabling facility managers to be successful in their FM endeavours through geographical and cross-discipline networking, best practices and small business management skills. Ultimately, the IFMA and its councils serve the business community.
One of the effective means by which FMCC members add value is via participation in a regular ‘Ask The Expert’ column published in the online version of IFMA’s bimonthly Facilities Management Journal (FMJ). The FMJ features articles across the full range of disciplines that influence and are influenced by FM, and is consistently seen as a vital source of FM guidance and knowledge for IFMA and its members.
An example of the types of questions and responses previously published in the FMJ is shown here…
ASK THE EXPERT FROM MAY/JUNE 2015 ISSUE OF FMJ
As managers of their company’s second largest asset, FMs have the opportunity to be leaders in their organisation. Yet all too often FMs get caught up in the minutiae of the day-to-day FM activities that cannot be ignored. What tips do you have for FMs to transcend from being competent taskmasters to becoming strategic leaders?
Facility managers often possess a common trait of significant ‘ownership’ of their remit. That is to say they are keen to be perpetually aware that the occupants’ needs are met and operations are reliably provided. While this attention to detail is a positive trait, it can lead to micro- management. Most members of the FM support team do not respond as well when they are given instruction to such detail. They may learn from repeated actions how the FM wants matters to be dealt with, but they are prevented from applying their knowledge or expanding their abilities to receive, analyse and respond to requests. Their growth becomes limited and there can be a loss of motivation.
This situation presents a key opportunity for the FM to delegate.
Regardless of your position in the career continuum, most managers will benefit from a refresher on how to effectively delegate. Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a very good resource for ideas on how to become more effective as a manager and includes superb ideas on coaching and how to delegate.
The simple tip on how to become more strategic is to pass on a measure of authority to your team. Ensure they have sufficient situational awareness to make good decisions and then provide them with the opportunity to apply the lessons learned. You will personally benefit from the time freed from the details and can turn back to the senior, strategic role where you can deliver more value to your organisation.
Moreover, your unit will benefit from the growth in skillsets and motivation/initiative that develops within the team.
– Facilities manager and consultancy founder
To me the inference behind the question is the facility manager is aware of their tactical focus to the detriment of being more strategic and ultimately therefore to the detriment of the overall business. Moreover, the inference extends to the need for change being recognised and accepted. Assuming the FM actively desires to become more strategic, there are a number of actions to take, namely for the FM to:
- test their understanding of the business goals, needs, objectives and targets; if necessary improve knowledge and understanding
- analyse what they have been doing to date that is and is not facilitating the achievement of these goals
- analyse the gaps between current and desired state in terms of FM team resourcing, skills, experience, structures, systems and procedures, all of which should be facilitating the achievement of these goals
- assess their own skill sets to lead and manage their team to facilitate the achievement of these goals
- identify what it will look like to become more strategic and develop an action plan with measures to get there; test with the organisation
- identify key stakeholders within the organisation and build strong relationships
- develop an action plan with measures, and
- implement the plan.
The FM should also identify the maturity level of the organisation to support a more strategic approach. For example, who within the organisation will support key strategies, champion their implementation and develop the FM team as a key function rather than as a ‘cost’ to the business. The organisation cannot remain at arm’s length from the facilities team and expect change and improvement to occur in isolation. The business relationships developed will allow the FM to become more influential. All of this, of course, is not the end; it is the start of the process to improvement.
– FM senior consultant and IFMA regional director
Early in my FM career, I began keeping ‘two sets of books’, both physically and mentally.
This philosophy established two corporate lives: competent professional practitioner and facility enterprise leader. For the former role, I ensured the ‘back room’ O&M, staff and processes were efficient and effective, and cultivated my expertise to support them. For the latter responsibility, I drove a ‘front room’ agenda of strategic planning and major projects, so my global labs fulfilled our corporate and SBU goals. My key was to have information with implications, and to place myself in the ‘crossroads of communications’ so they were realised and used. My ‘back room’ measures were of FM interest, but ‘front room’ metrics were critical to leadership. To accomplish these diverse agendas requires significant learning, rigorous time management, risk comfort, decision acumen and cultivated communications. When you have facility information and link it well to organisational objectives, you will never be left outside of the decision-making room.
Bottom line: Take care of the ‘back room’ on your own, but orchestrate the ‘front room’ in everyone’s eyes… that’s what they’ll remember and count on you for!
– FM consultant, IFMA fellow and former chair
THE NEW COLUMN
Our own Ask The Expert column will cover topics from property and workplace through sustainability and wellness to technology, learning, FM and asset management, and will have both a strategic and operational focus. It will definitely seek to advance FM as a business-focused profession and to help all readers of the FM magazine.
We are pleased that Graham Constable, IFMA FMCC’s regional director for Australasia and a regular contributor to the FMJ’s Ask The Expert and our own FM magazine will coordinate and administrate this new column for FM. He is taking time away from his regular Connections column to organise this new initiative for us.
So, what are our next steps?
WE NEED YOU!
We invite readers who would like to be considered as an industry expert (in any one of the proposed column topics), and to whom questions for future FM magazine editions will be sent, to provide me, the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) with their name, a short 100-word bio, mobile number and email address. We would like this information before 17 January 2019 please. All information will be kept confidential and will only be used for the purposes of issuing future Ask The Expert questions.
We look forward to hearing from you and to reading the collective wisdom of our FM industry experts in the FM magazine editions to come. ●
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