Volume IV, Issue 4, July/August 2011
As the relaxing days of summer wind down, and you are forced to revert back to your non-summer schedule, you might need to awaken your brain and get the gears grinding again. Rather than spending the first few weeks in a semi-comatose state as you try to readjust to your old routines, start off on the right foot and generate some fresh ideas.
Easier said than done? That’s okay. If you’re still in summer mode and not quite ready to turn over the leaf, no need to worry; we have done it for you. From leadership pointers and inspirational expert insight to upcoming education opportunities, this issue of the Boost will provide you with suggestions and ideas to get you motivated and start thinking fresh for the new, quickly approaching fall season.
What you need to know about them and how they will help make you a more effective facility manager.
Have you ever thought of a brilliant idea at a random point in time, had nothing to write it down with/on, and thought to yourself, “I’ll remember that later.” Did you? Probably depends, but the reality is the most reliable approach to remembering an idea, objective, etc. and actually following through is to write it down. The process of writing your goals helps you remember them, for one; but more importantly, it forces you to think through the steps necessary to accomplish them.
Clear objectives lead to clear work/action plans. The correlation is significant since objectives state what must be done and action plans explain how it will be done, complete with specific details that must be identified, assigned, and accomplished. By breaking down large tasks into simple actions, the tasks are more manageable and even seem easier. If the objectives are precisely stated and quantified, they will provide clear direction to the people actually doing the work.
As a facility manager, you need to communicate precise expectations to staff if you expect to achieve optimal results, and this begins with defining the objectives. Whether it's specific tasks to accomplish on a certain day or the level of production the department or team should achieve for the year, being an effective planner starts with setting valuable objectives.
One format for writing clear, workable objectives is to answer the following:
- What's the action?
- What's the result?
- When's it due?
- Who will check?
- What's the purpose?
Once you have answered these questions, you can develop the objective. The more precise an objective is, the more likely it is to be accomplished. By quantifying how much will be done, when it will be finished, and who will do it using which resources, the plan leaves less possibility of misunderstanding or error. Objectives should:
- State a clear purpose ("to increase productivity by 10%. . .").
- Be measurable ("assemble 50 additional television sets . . .").
- Require a time frame within which they will be achieved ("every eight-hour shift . . .").
- Identify needed resources ("by operating an additional assembly line for subassemblies . . .").
- Specify the quality of the output ("without increasing the rate of rejects above 2% . . .").
- Be challenging but also attainable ("handle employee grievances within 24 hours").
- Be stated in writing to increase commitment and understanding ("improve customer service through better coordination of schedules between maintenance and production supervisors").
Writing Action Plans
The best way to write an action plan is to imagine doing the work, step-by-step, and then to write down the key details. The following checklist describes the order of the action planning process for a moderately complex project.
- Write down everything that must be done to accomplish the objective.
- List the tasks to be done in the order they should be accomplished.
- Identify by name who will be responsible for which tasks.
- List the resources that will be necessary for the completion of each task.
- Note the time needed for each task, including the estimated delivery time required for materials not already on hand.
- Consider the constraints that might upset the plan and note the steps that can be taken to avoid them.
- Write the plan on a chart that reflects the passage of time, such as an event calendar or a Gantt chart that shows the beginning and ending points of every activity.
- Identify the control points that will mark the progress of activity.
- Develop a backup plan just in case you cannot finish the action plan, or if you finish the plan early.
- Update the plan periodically to reflect feedback and the most current data.
- Refer to the plan frequently. Make it a dynamic part of your operations. It is actually easier to write a plan than to follow it!
Every successful plan specifies what or how much should be accomplished and when the work will be done. A plan is ready to be communicated to the people who will implement it only when clear, measurable objectives are supported by well-defined actions.
This article is adapted from BOMI International's Managing the Organization course.
Continuous improvement for business success and employee retention.
The success of any business is a true balancing act. Professionals in the property and facility industries are constantly balancing budgets and financials; evaluating building value, design and construction; and ensuring optimal efficiency in their properties and facilities. But maintaining the environment within your own business and valuing those who help make it happen is just as important, if not more so.
Maintaining a competitive edge is vital to ongoing success and can be simplified by making a few routine adjustments. One key factor to keep in mind is continuous improvement. Remaining stagnant and comfortable with your operational processes/standards in an era of innovation and sustainable initiatives will help find you trouble. Additionally, if you do not continuously reevaluate and improve your internal matters, your employees may venture elsewhere. Retaining workers for a greater period of time reduces employee turnover. A high turnover rate can lead to forfeited profit and increased expenses, determined by the length of an open position, the training associated with it, the skills of the new hire, and the slope of the learning curve involved.
Some suggestions for continuous improvement and employee retention are as follows:
- Modernize Standards. Identifying a set of standards that clarify core competencies, performance measurements, etc. is important to prevent utter chaos within any given work environment. However, these established standards should be revisited often to evaluate whether or not they are still relevant and effective. You may be astonished by what you find. Some of your set processes may be dated. By eliminating or tweaking them as necessary, you may be able to cut back on workflows by excluding unnecessary steps, thus freeing up time and money for other more profitable actions.
- Avoid Avoiding Change. Constantly update ideas. What you have been doing may have worked in the past, and may still be bringing in a reasonable profit. But not changing anything, ever, can lead to failure. It is easy to fall into a comfort zone, and it’s challenging to embark on alternative ideas, but these ideas can potentially lead down a much more successful path. The argument “this is how we’ve always done it” is a flawed reason to keep something the way it is.
- Listen Up. One of the best ways to get your mind moving in a different direction is by listening to others and being open. Be attentive to the ideas of company employees of all levels, titles, and departments. Everyone has an opinion, and tapping into the minds of others can help formulate a different perspective and uncover details you may have not thought of. Have faith in your staff; you hired them for a reason. If you don’t trust their ideas or opinions, get rid of them. You’re wasting their time, as well as your own resources.
- Keep Technology Current. The vitality of staying abreast of the latest technological advances and trends cannot be stressed enough. Holding back when it comes to upgrading technology can slow down the work environment as a whole. People should not have to spend time doing things that can be simplified with upgraded software or a new system. Ensuring they have the best software and tools to do their jobs will improve the overall level of operational efficiency—and alleviate frustration.
- Promote Collaboration. Group collaboration enhances communication and cooperation through a teamwork approach. Connecting with one another by bouncing around ideas can cultivate a more dynamic, less stressful, and more inventive environment. Develop workspaces that work for your business, but also allow coworkers to interact easily with one another. While you do not necessarily have to go to the extent of the Googleplex (sliding boards, bicycles, or scooters for travel between meetings; massage chairs; pool tables; volleyball courts; assorted video games; wine tasting; salsa dancing; etc.) sharing cubes and constructing huddle spaces—and having very few solo offices—allows for easy interaction. This open work environment can also cut down on energy usage, resulting in a more cost-effective office.
Expert insight from a sustainability guru.
David W. Hewett, CCIM, CPM®, RPA®, CFM, FMA®, CRE
Founder, iNPOINT ADVISORS, Center for Corporate Sustainability and ecoBuilderToday.com
Dave has spent the last 30 years helping leaders focus on their future and their strengths. His career has included time as a leader, manager, consultant, change agent, educator and mentor. Leading some of the largest outsourcing programs in the corporate real estate industry has allowed him a unique exposure to leadership and change management as well as the inner workings of corporate America. Clients have included institutional, corporate, municipal and private entities, such as Austin Energy, Microsoft, PMC-Sierra, Pitney Bowes, California Federal Savings, Pacific Gas & Electric, United States GSA, Comerica Bank and Southern California Edison.
Dave's experience also includes both service on Boards and consulting to various Boards, including both not-for-profit institutions (local and national) and for profit companies. He is a past Chairman of BOMA International, the world's largest office building professional association. Dave speaks frequently at regional and national events on finance, market trends, leadership, and sustainability issues. He has been a founder of two organizations, iNPOINT Advisors and the non-profit Center for Corporate Sustainability. Prior to founding these organizations Dave was an Alliance Director for CB Richard Ellis (fka) Trammell Crow Co., Global Services.
His insight comes from 30 plus years of experience in real estate, consulting, and training. As a consultant, he focuses on leadership development and organizational structure. Hewett has worked in all aspects of the real estate and facilities industry. He's managed operating and capital budgets in excess of $100 million annually and responsible for building operations, construction, corporate real estate, brokerage, development, and strategic planning services.
What motivated you to become a leader in sustainability?
A few years ago it was a growing trend for corporations to add someone with the title VP of Sustainability or Director of Corporate Sustainability. I noticed that while everyone was trying to add these positions to the corporate structure, most had no idea what they should be doing. Many others were there just to satisfy shareholders or activists. What I saw was a lot of talk and very little action. At the same time I thought back on my early days of property management, and things we were doing to save money and just keep a property well cared for. Then thinking back to the oil embargo of the 70’s and the resulting crisis of energy and the birth of earth day I realized that most Americans simply responded only to the crisis of the day, not what is best for the long-term. This got me digging into what was relevant and why should green and other sustainability issues be important to me and others, and why did we not follow through after the crisis. It dawned on me that what was missing is a change in culture, and a lack of a long-term strategy and planning. Knowing that the American public rarely responds to anything except “what is in it for me” I began to research how to find out what were the benefits and how can leadership, planning and process make it work.
Why should anyone be involved in Sustainable practices? What is in it for them? What is your advice for those leery about investing in sustainable practices because they think they may not realize the ROI they want?
This is the right question to focus on - why? For each individual and every corporation the answer may be different. Motivations vary by background culture, and outlook. For some it is about the life of the planet, others simply a culture they were brought up in, some a desire to please a Creator, and for many it is simply about economics. In reality it becomes a mix of all of the above with one emerging as a primary for each individual or organization. I have found that many practices that are considered sustainable are highly rewarding on an economic basis, most people simply do not know how to express it in the proper financial terms. I have also seen that best practices in building design and operations (as well as other areas of sustainability) are fairly simple and fail (or fail to be implemented) because they do not have a plan and an ongoing focus.
What do you foresee for the future of sustainability?
I believe there will continue to be concern and focus on sustainability as we move forward, though it will look different. The trend to show me the money (economic return on investment) will still dominate in most corporations, but we will continue to see traction on all reasons for sustainability. While the same amount of effort and more will be focused on sustainability I believe we will not see the “press” among the issues as much as we have in the past. It will become more of an expectation and common practice for most companies to act in a sustainable manner. This will force those players that have sustainability as their ONLY message, to better see how they fit and support the organization.
Can you elaborate on your new role as the course mentor for the Sustain Smart Seriessm? What will participants take away from this program?
I am excited to see how my role of the course mentor will develop. My goal is to help in the navigation of the material, the world the students are working in, and the intersection of those two points. I believe students will leave the course with an action plan. They will have real world tools to make actionable steps and create practices that support their building or corporate mission.
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Something for everyone; including Instructor-led Online courses beginning this September.
BOMI International provides options for individuals to study in a way that is most convenient for their learning style. Check out some of the options below.
Click here to view our comprehensive course schedule, which includes all of our course offerings via all delivery methods.
This method is highly recommended for business professionals needing the flexibility to learn conveniently when and where they want. Courses are accessible 24/7, including mobile connectivity. Online courses allow for daily interaction with expert instructors and the sharing of professional knowledge and experiences with peers on a national level.
There is still time to register for BOMI International’s Fall 2011 Instructor-led Online courses beginning September 6th. The following courses are being offered:
This learning method fits into any lifestyle, allowing students to study independently and at their own pace. You may register for any course as self-study at any time since it is a self-paced approach.
This quick 3-4 day approach is available at several sites around the country and allows face-to-face interaction with expert instructors and peers. Accelerated review is a great way to learn quickly and meet local industry peers to build your professional network.
Learn to successfully develop and properly implement a plan for sustainability.
Developed by BOMI International and Building Operating Management Magazine, the Sustain Smart Seriessm is a new two-part online education program designed for property and facilities management professionals who seek increased levels of knowledge in sustainability. Participants in the Series will learn to benchmark their facilities' current environmental footprint, develop a plan to reduce that impact, and articulate that plan to stakeholders. They will also gain tools to help them make informed decisions about sustainability while positively impacting bottom-line results. The program includes:
Series 1: Creating a Baseline and Plan for Sustainable Initiatives
Next offering begins February 20, 2012*
Series 2: Best Practices for Sustainable Implementation
Next offering begins October 17, 2011
*Each Series provides its own benefits, is independent of one another, and requires no prerequisites. Therefore, the Series' may be taken in any order. Interested parties who are not currently enrolled in Series 1 are still encouraged to join Series 2 this October, and take Series 1 during the next available offering.
Register for both Series at once and save $500!
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UPDATES & MORE
BOMI International is proud to recognize Sylvia Golisano as the recipient of the Joe F. Marchant Scholarship.
About Joe F. Marchant and the Scholarship
Joe Marchant retired at the end of June having served over 20 years as the executive vice president of Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) Dallas and president of the Dallas BOMA Education Institute. BOMA Dallas represents over 650 members from approximately 150 commercial real estate companies that manage more than 850 Dallas area office buildings. Joe also taught college-level writing, speech communications, and public speaking courses. Joe is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where his responsibilities included several managerial roles, such as directing the development of recruiting and retention programs. He also served as chief executive officer of an international support company in the commercial design industry where he produced training films and conducted international training programs. Joe is also a former member of the BOMI International Board of Trustees.
Joe received an A.S. from Murray State College; a B.S. in Education from the University of North Texas; an M.A. in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma; and completed additional course work at the University of Texas.
As a means of honoring Joe's commitment to furthering professional education in the commercial real estate industry, BOMI International established the Joe F. Marchant Scholarship; a one-time, one-person full designation scholarship. BOMA Dallas established the scholarship eligibility criteria for a professional employed within management, operations, and maintenance in the commercial real estate industry who was nominated for a Lone Star Award within the past five years and had not started their BOMI International designation education.
About the Joe F. Marchant Scholarship Recipient, Sylvia Golisano
Pictured, from left: Mark Wilshire, LEED® AP, RPA®, FMA®; Greg Grainger, RPA®, CPM®, CCIM;
Sylvia Golisano, LEED® Green Associate; Jeffrey Horn, CEO, BOMI International
Sylvia Golisano, LEED® Green Associate, is currently the Engineering & Sustainability Coordinator at Granite Properties in Dallas, Texas. She is also an active member of BOMA Dallas, where she is the chair for the Green Task Force. Sylvia earned her LEED® Green Associate accreditation and is working toward her LEED® Accredited Professional (AP) certification. She is also close to completing her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah, which she is scheduled to receive in the spring of 2012.
In addition to her admirable efforts to expand upon her knowledge and skills through education, Sylvia is making a name for herself in her professional career. Over the past four years, she has established a track record for achieving results and delivering on Granite’s business objectives. Aside from acting as a resource for marketing and social media creativity, she fosters sustainability within Granite and proudly leads green initiatives within the company.
Prior to her role at Granite, Sylvia gained experience by working within the hospitality industry, specifically Conference Services, for Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott.
Sylvia’s professional drive and motivation, in addition to her commitment to continuous learning and improvement, makes her an appropriate recipient of the Joe F. Marchant Scholarship.
Sylvia will be using her new scholarship in January 2012 to enroll in BOMI International’s Real Property Administrator (RPA®) designation program.
Congratulations and good luck, Sylvia!
BOMI International will be exhibiting at the following upcoming tradeshows.
PRSM Mid-Year Conference
When: September 14-15, 2011
Where: Renaissance Schaumberg Hotel, Illinois (BOMI International will be at table #128)
Professionals will discuss challenges and share best practices, including ideas on cost reduction strategies, the “re-fresh” approach to upgrades or capital projects, understanding your numbers, life-cycle cost management, and more!
Northern California Facilities Expo
When: September 21-22, 2011
Where: Santa Clara Convention Center, California (BOMI International will be at booth #848)
Northern California Facilities Expo is a broad-based facilities event with an emphasis on green buildings that features free educational sessions and an exhibit floor showcasing the latest products and services in the industry. Don't miss the opportunity to expand your knowledge of current trends in the industry, find products that will start saving you money immediately, and network with your peers.
Facility Decisions Conference & Expo
Get out of the past and focus on the future
When: October 11-12, 2011
Where: Mirage Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada (BOMI International will be at booth #120)
Attend Facility Decisions and return to the office with ideas, contacts, and products that can save you money. Facility Decisions is a free two-day conference and trade show for all facility professionals. It's vital that you invest a little time away from your office/facility to benefit from new ideas, innovative solutions, and powerful networking. If you're still doing business the way things were done 35 years ago, you need Facility Decisions. After all, you're not going to improve your building or save money if you're stuck in a rut.
IFMA’s World Workplace
Smarter facilities. Smarter facility management.
When: October 26-28, 2011
Where: Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona (BOMI International will be at booth #1239)
IFMA’s World Workplace Conference & Expo is the largest, most longstanding, and well-respected annual conference and exposition for facility management and related professions. Each year it offers a new experience, addressing challenges and strategies that are universal to every facility type, shape, and size.
As the event is a fully customizable experience, attendees can choose sessions under specific topic tracks and learning levels, spend time on the expo floor talking to vendors and attending exhibitor-presented sessions, and take advantage of the many networking and learning activities scheduled throughout the week.
If you weren’t born to be a leader, learn to be.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Some say the most efficacious leaders are natural born, instilled with a special knack to lead. But is there really such a thing as a born leader? Yes, some are blessed with an innate ability to shine a bit brighter than others, but they weren’t born with their knowledge and experience. While it is true that majority of our personality stems from natural characteristics, a portion is made up of learned attributes and behaviors based upon life experiences.
So, if you weren’t born to be a leader, learn to be. There are various avenues one may travel to learn how to be an effective leader. Clearly one tactic may be to enroll in a leadership seminar, course, or register for an educational program; these educational venues are typically helpful in providing the strategies and knowledge individuals need to lead their organizations and even catapult their own personal success.
On the other hand, sometimes learning to implement simple changes in your own attitude can help determine your prominence as a leader, or lack thereof. A person’s attitude can dictate various outcomes. For instance, since others tend to read into a person and make an initial judgment through a first impression, second encounter, and so forth, a property manager with a negative attitude, who is attempting to promote leasing space, will most likely be less successful than a property manager with a positive attitude. Albeit, this is a very simple and narrow example, because aside from an impression, your attitude can even determine your professional reputation, which can alter success, importance, and credibility. Successful professionals who take on leadership roles are reputable due to their many accomplishments or their knowledge, but it’s also because they have an optimistic outlook. Employees are less likely to engage in their roles when orders are given from a negative leader.
So if leading doesn’t come easy to you and you must truly work at it, so be it. The work will pay off—literally. People tend to be more willing to buy from confident leaders who have a more attractive attitude, because they trust these people. Those in the shadows tend to be, well, shadows. The one with the positive attitude/leader persona is the one who is out there delighting customers, closing deals, and reaping the benefits. While everyone is unique, some of the more common traits that tend to be apparent in leaders include the four below, which can all be easily learned behaviors:
It is easy to lead when you feel strongly about, or are devoted to your job or the products you create. Being enthusiastic can lead to proactivity, which can demonstrate a sense of loyalty—a commendable attribute that drives people to really take notice. Those who put in the effort tend to be steps ahead of others; they are the ones figuring out solutions to potential problems before the impending becomes a certainty. And in instances when the inevitable is just that, they move forward rather than dwelling on what is, and determine a resolution that will prevent similar occurrences in the future. Everyone likes a problem solver.
A professional who is deemed trustworthy has made great strides toward becoming a leader. Having a sense of integrity correlates closely with taking ownership/responsibility for one’s actions and is the perfect way to lead by example. Making mistakes is inescapable in the process of learning all that is associated with property and facility management. While it is easiest for some to place the blame on others, they are only digging a deeper hole for themselves. The ones who admit their flaws and right their wrongs are the ones who succeed and gain the respect of those around them.
Any apparent sign of incompetency will discourage others from following your lead. However, there is a fine line between claiming to know everything and collaborating with others as a means of sharing your knowledge. A few ways to do this are through:
- Communication: Having a clear understanding of ideas and the ability to effectively communicate them verbally and through writing is crucial, especially to those aspiring to lead others.
- Delegation: A difficult but necessary thing to do is communicate that sometimes you are too busy to help others at a specific moment. It is perfectly acceptable to say no, or ask someone to come back later when you have a minute. Or, in some instances when you are overwhelmed, seek help and delegate tasks accordingly. If we all did what everyone asked us to do, whenever they asked, we would never accomplish anything.
- Listening: One of the hardest things to do is to fully listen when another person is speaking. Being attentive is difficult because we constantly have ideas, thoughts, and reminiscences when others are talking. But we need to push those distractions aside in order to grasp and understand what is being said. So the next time someone is talking to you, seriously listen, process/digest, and then reply. This helps you remember more, and you’re less likely to miss something brilliant that another person has to say.
- Questioning: We have all heard the saying “the dumbest question is the one that isn’t asked,” but do we abide by it? Chances are the answer is no. Clear communication is not a one-way street in any instance, and therefore requires dialogue. Those who don’t understand something or think another strategy may be more effective, and speak up about it, are the ones who take on more of an authoritative role.
A leader is someone who others can comfortably confide in. People seek advice from leaders and feel motivated by them. Demonstrating flexibility and understanding that certain situations often arise that prevent others from operating at their best shows consideration and lets others know you are not selfish. Demonstrating the opposite behavior will make others view you as egocentric, and they may shy away from sharing certain things with you.
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