Strategic alignment of facilities management with core enterprise strategies may seem an obviously desirable state but it often remains an elusive one as well. Recent surveys around the alignment issue indicate we still have a ways to go.
- 80% of senior managers (all support functions) believe that their function and the business is aligned, only 30% of corporate executive managers agree (CIO magazine survey)
- 65% said ineffective communication of business strategy and goals between business management and functional management is a significant or moderate challenge (Deloitte Consulting)
- 60% of organizations reported a misalignment between the workplace and business operations because there was no integration with overall business strategy (Business Week)
The “why” of our misaligned state is a bit perplexing, especially given the attention given to business integration over the last several years. I am willing to make a guess, however, that the following can be counted among the culprits.
- More attention has been paid to integrating functional silos than strategies
- Lack of leadership on the issue - allowing alignment initiatives to languish
- Tyranny of the Urgent syndrome – “survival” mentality during the economic downturn
- Lack of buy-in for alignment initiatives below the top levels of management
FM’s operational and support function nature often separates us from being considered a core part of the core business. FM work is largely transactional (projects, work orders, services) and not viewed as strategic. Our main measurements are usually expressed in ways that do not relate to the core business ($/sq. ft., BTUH/sq. ft., etc.). Further, our outlook is mainly short term, focused on asset development and management, cost reduction and capital minimization.
In short, we too often think about ourselves in terms we understand but which are largely irrelevant to our business partners. That is not helpful to alignment .
Shifting our focus from operational outputs to business outcomes changes our perspective. It reframes FM projects, services and processes as key business enablers; and encourages us to measure our performance impact upon business strategy and outcomes. Attention is redirected to alignment, adjustment and continuous improvement in support of core business goals.
Shift your focus, FM. That is the beginning of relevancy in today’s business world.