Sorry, but I’m just not sorry

The US presidential race has had it all, claim, counter-claim, below-the-belt hits and the odd bit of spectacular bad taste.

The one thing you have not heard (and I suspect you never will) however is the phrase “I’m sorry”.

So why do we in FM feel the need to apologize so often?

The day-job of an FM focusses on enhancing performance, optimising resources and improving the workplace, inevitably this sometimes involves disruptions. We should be shouting from the rooftops: “Great News! The front door is getting fixed!” Instead we meekly start with “apologies for the obvious inconvenience but you won’t be able to use the front door, we need to fix it.” This sends out exactly the wrong message!

FM is a difficult juggling act at the best of times and wasting our time and energy on being sorry means we are always on the back foot and can never get anything done.

Here is my top tips for being effective as an FM:

  • Roll with the punches. Roll up your sleeves and get it fixed as fast as you can. FMs manage complicated contracts, processes and estates with loads of opportunities for things to go wrong. When they do, deal with it, being sorry doesn’t help.
  • Remember why you are fixing things, taking them out of use etc. Your ultimate aim is to provide a better, more effective and happier workplace, disruptions are an unavoidable by-product.
  • Focus on the outcomes, not the disruption. Positive energy is far more productive than being negative, you are also more likely to get buy-in from your non-FM colleagues if they can tell that you believe in what you are doing.
  • Communicate well. Tell people when, why and what disruptions you know are going to come. After you’ve told them twice, tell them again, us humans are fickle creatures that easily forget!
  • Believe! If you believe in it, you can ‘sell’ it. FM is interesting, extremely wide ranging and sometimes very, very tricky. Believe in yourself, your team (including your suppliers) and what you are doing, you’ll be a better FM for it!
  • Change things if you have to. Recognise if something does not quite work and change it, suppliers, processes and practices all evolve over time, test them regularly and make sure that they are still fit for your business.

Next time you need to tell the Board, CEO, MD, FD etc. that their office is going to be out of use for whatever reason, don’t be sorry…. without you doing your job, they cannot do theirs.

Here at LCMB we spend our working lives making your buildings work harder and more efficiently, if you would like any help or information please do get in touch with us.

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