The growing recognition of FM’s importance is evidenced by the increased attention it gets both in strategic and financial terms. Elevation to the C-Suite through the formation of Chief Facility Management Officer (CFMO) or Chief Real Estate Officer (CREO) positions is a sign that leadership understands the opportunities and risks that FM represents. With this enhanced stature comes increased responsibility. FM’s must understand that business acumen is more highly valued than technical expertise at this level. In order to compete for these positions you must improve your business sophistication and demonstrate increased value.
Now that we know what the expectations are, how do we go about achieving them? The good news is that it is relatively simple. At heart this is a change management process, and the change process is something FM’s know about.
Set the Environment
Start with understanding the two elements you want to bring together. By that I mean you should analyze and understand at a deep level the existing corporate and FM strategies and goals. Know why senior management has selected the strategies and goals they have so you understand nuance and underlying motivations.
After gathering information on both sides of the equation, analyze to develop a picture of the current alignment between FM and corporate strategies, and to understand where gaps exist. Gaps may represent risk or opportunity, or both; closing them will surely be your first order of business. Understand what that means. Do you have the resources to do everything you are currently doing and restructure your strategies and goals? If not, what needs to go and why?
Next, have a serious talk with your executive sponsor. Explain the initiative including its risks, rewards and requirements. Without executive support you risk being isolated when resistance materializes, as it may. Be prepared for that. Have your plan in place, communicate often and choose team members carefully, then plan and execute. It is amazing how resistance evaporates in the face of solidarity and success.
Be A Good Partner
As you work through the change process realize that you are dependent upon others. You need their active support. For example, you should be included in executive management discussions about strategy and allowed to see their view of the future state of the business. Develop your relationships with them and make relationship management a part of your plan. Pay attention to communication preferences and communicate with each executive in ways that match their individual style preferences. In other words, be intentional about the relationship management process.
Part of this effort will require transparency and a willingness to be vulnerable in order to achieve maximum benefit. Share information openly and help create a culture in which candid talk is valued. Share goals, risks and rewards; and demonstrate your sincerity by adapting where possible to increase alignment without endangering key strategies and goals.
Most of all manage the FM business to maximize value - however your organization measures that. Adopt those measures and make them a part of your own processes and metrics.
Next week – The Strategic Alignment Process