Focus on quality of people first
Everything begins here. It doesn’t matter how much technology you have if the people on your team are not capable of using it. It doesn’t matter how good they are technically if you can’t trust them. It doesn’t matter how energetic they are if they can’t make good decisions. Get my point? The quality of the people you select is the very foundation of everything that follows. Choosing wisely will make your life easier, choosing poorly will burden you and limit what you are able to accomplish. My cardinal rule when selecting people is “never settle.” I will, and have, left critical positions open for long periods of time until the right candidate came along. I am not suggesting you set the bar at perfection, I am stating that a bad hire is worse than no hire, every time. I would much rather hire an excellent person even if they are not an exact fit for the position than hire someone of lesser quality. I would much rather morph the organization based on the talent I have been able to acquire than force round pegs into square holes.
Be a learning organization
Once I have the best talent I can find I challenge them to continue learning, increasing their value to the organization and themselves. My number one job as a leader is to remove obstacles to success for my team. One of the ways I do that is by making sure their self development plan (a requirement, by the way) is well thought out and routinely monitored. I challenge my staff to think about where they are going, to plan the path, and to execute the plan. Because I understand the importance of balance I also ask that they do the same in personal areas of their lives, although I obviously do not monitor those areas. I know from experience, however, that the personal side of life has a tremendous influence on the work side. A healthy balance in all areas is good for them, good for me, and good for the organization. Where I work now we are very intentional about maintaining the learning culture we have established. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you have no doubt read previously how we taught basic statistics to all FM staff and statistical analysis to all of our management staff. The dividends to our Metrics and Continuous Improvement programs is stunning.
Use technology aggressively
FM technology now surrounds us and its complexity continues to grow every day. CAFM, CMMS, BMS, BIM, CRM and a host of other alphabet combinations are now part and parcel of every day, not to mention legacy systems and other corporate databases that we must work with seamlessly. These technologies are expensive to acquire and operationalize, making it important that you get the most you can out of them. Being on the technology curve today means you are treading water. Being behind it means you are losing the game. Being ahead of it means you have a distinct competitive advantage in your ability to execute quicker and with higher quality, allowing you to contribute directly to the bottom line. Technology is a force multiplier – use it that way.
Demand and deliver excellence
Your customers demand service excellence from you, and you should do the same of those who provide products and services to you. Supply Chain Management we call it these days. Sounds like good old “do the job right the first time” to me. Oh, I know there are new tools and techniques, new alliances and levers, and new relationships. But when you cut to the heart of the matter it is really about being unwilling to deliver, or accept, anything but the best. This is all the more relevant today when our industry is consolidating and many are under pressure to reduce costs and overhead. Those are certainly good things to do and I work hard at doing them myself - but not at the cost of quality. Quality is all that really matters.
Okay, there you have it, my list of core FM values. Hire the best people you can possibly find, expect them to continue growing, use technology as a force multiplier, and demand excellence. Can it really be that simple?
Yes, it can.