The Official Publication of the Corporate Facilities Council
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the IFMA Pipeline
A discussion with Wayne Whitzell and Christian Pellecchia
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From Your President
News & Events
Denise Johnston has been actively involved in IFMA on a variety of levels in the Greater Triangle Chapter as well as the Corporate Facilities Council. She served as president of the Greater Triangle Chapter (2008-2009), Programs chair of the CFC (2010-12) and also as Secretary of the CFC (2012-14).
Mike Petrusky interviews Mayra Portalatin of Facility Engineering Associates
From Your President
Surfing Chaos with David Allen’s Getting Things Done
On FACILITY management
When Good Design
As I write this last president’s message it is hard to believe that two years have passed already. As spring unfolds, the Corporate Facilities Council is gearing up to welcome a new board.
We’ve had some significant accomplishments, not the least of which is a complete redesign of our quarterly newsletter—now a beautiful online magazine readable on any device on any platform. All previous editions of the newsletter have been archived as PDFs for easy search and viewing. We’ve had a great contingent of authors and articles, many of them council members, and we always welcome content that avoids marketing or promotion of any products or companies. This educational magazine is clearly our most valuable resource. We are also gratified to have Mike Petrusky’s permission to post his visionary podcast, FM innovators, in our quarterly magazine issues.
The CFC website has also been redone in what is known as responsive design, meaning it can be viewed and read easily on any device. The website has a full program of the council’s First Wednesday webinars so you can take a look ahead and plan your participation.
The council is now delighted to welcome sponsorships! The ability to offer programs and resources of quality can now be greatly enhanced by the addition of generous sponsors who will receive prominent placement on the website, webinars and in the magazine. We are excited to welcome the CFC’s first sponsor at the platinum level—Mohawk Group!
It has been an honor to serve as president of the Corporate Facilities Council. I offer my thanks to the board, committee chairs, members, and everyone who has helped make my presidency a wonderful experience. I am thrilled about the exciting things the council has in store for the next year, a robust educational programs calendar, and the next “Real Conversations” panel at World Workplace 2018 in Charlotte, NC.
Enjoy spring, and congratulations to the new board and officers!
Facility, the official publication of the Corporate Facilities Council of IFMA, is published quarterly.
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved.
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Executive Board 2016-18
Denise Johnston, CFM
Beth Osgood, CFM
Koch Business Solutions
Joe Selby, CFM
Wells Fargo Bank
Immediate Past President
Steven R. Pons, CMP, AssocRICS
Sarah Wortman, CPSM
Koch Business Solutions
Sue Thompson, CMP
AAA Club Alliance
Wayne Whitzell, LEED AP, BEP, GBO
Buck Fisher, CFM, IFMA Fellow
Facilities Management & Operations Assessment
Alice Houguisson, CFM, SMP Edelman
Jeff Martin, CMP
Wells Fargo Bank
Melodee Wagen, MCR
Workspace Strategies, Inc.
Corporate real estate and facilities management (RE&FM) organizations commonly employ a balance of insourcing and strategic outsourcing solutions. This is driven by the need to minimize costs while avoiding negative impacts on the employee experience or the quality of services provided. There is no “one size fits all” solution. With the broader business strategy driving the outsourcing decision, the RE&FM organization can become a major contributor to the corporation’s success.
While the broader business strategy should be the primary driver in outsourcing decision making, there are certain functions/service lines that organizations commonly retain internally and others that are commonly outsourced. For the purposes of this discussion we will break down these service lines into three major buckets:
1. Portfolio Management
Portfolio Strategy: these services are commonly driven and delivered internally by senior leadership with direct connections to the business units. External support is typically derived on a consulting basis, as needed, by their provider or via an external consultant.
Transaction Management: ~80% of organizations are outsourcing transaction management services using a commission based fee structure.
Lease Administration: ~60% of organizations outsource some or all lease administration using a unit cost/activity basis pricing structure.
Occupancy Planning/Space Management: space management is a critical component of effective portfolio management however only ~50% of organizations are currently outsourcing this work.
2. Project Services
Project Management: ~50% of organizations have fully outsourced their PMO and project execution services largely dependent upon volume of activity. In organizations with consistent project volumes, it is most common to see pricing as a direct cost pass through of staff, while organizations with variable project volumes are most commonly pricing project work using a $/SF or %/project cost basis.
Moves, Adds and Changes (MAC) Management: outsourcing of MAC management is largely dependent upon volumes and the focus is on minimizing churn through better technology (less equipment and furniture to move).
A/V Management: most organizations don’t have the volumes to require a dedicated team however this work is almost always outsourced to A/V specialist.
3. Facilities Management
~50% of organizations are outsourcing FM services in an integrated way while the other half are still managing the services in a hybrid model of internal staff and local subcontractors.
Table 1 shows the various options for managing FM services from internal management to a fully integrated facilities management model.
Our firm has found that outsourcing strategies tend to be incremental, or “generational,” referring to a typical outsourcing contract term of three to five years.
First Generation Outsourcing is often viewed as an experiment. The client outsources a small selection of services and relies minimally on service provider expertise. To move ahead trust needs to be established. Second Generation Outsourcing typically occurs when the first generation or trial period is successful. There is increased trust, further refinement of the model, and better leveraging the service provider’s expertise and best practices. This will usually result in are organization of the internal RE&FM team as they find new ways to contribute to the organization in a more strategic, broader way. Third Generation Outsourcing is transformational and requires a high level of trust and dependency on the service provider. Typically, the model is structured to include an on-site account management team, and a contract structure that reflects a strategic partnership: fees and success are tied to performance and, as the client sees wins, the service provider is rewarded. Goals of both client and service provider are aligned.
As the RE&FM organization moves through the outsourcing continuum, the contract structure becomes increasingly more critical. As referenced below, there are seven different sourcing models that are most commonly used in the industry. Organizations typically go through generational stages in the outsourcing process, starting with transactional based models; however, as the relationship matures and the need for innovation becomes more critical the relational and investment models align closer with business objectives.
Basic Provider Model: This is a transaction-based model. It usually has a set price for individual products and services for which there are a wide range of standard market options. Typically, these products or services are readily available, with little differentiation in what is offered.
Approved Provider Model: This model also uses a transaction-based approach: goods and services are purchased from prequalified suppliers that meet certain performance or other selection criteria. Frequently an organization has a limited number of preapproved suppliers for various spend categories from which buyers or business units can choose. Multiple suppliers mean costs are competitive, and one firm can easily be replaced with another if the supplier fails to meet performance standards.
Preferred Provider Model: Like the aforementioned models, a preferred provider model uses a transaction-based economic model. But a key difference between a preferred provider and the other transaction-based models is that the buyer has made the choice to move to a supplier relationship where there is an opportunity for the supplier to add differentiated incremental value to the buyer’s business to meet strategic objectives. This insertion of the supplier’s contribution into the buyer’s business processes creates the need for a relational model. Thus, contracts with specifically chosen supplier(s) assume a more collaborative relationship. Repeat business and longer-term and/or renewable contracts are the norm.
Performance Based/Managed Services Model: This model (or managed services model) is generally a formal, longer-term supplier agreement that combines a relational contracting model with an output/outcome-based economic model. Under this structure, the service provider is held responsible and compensated based on agreed to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and objectives across the buyer portfolio. A performance-based agreement typically creates incentives for hitting performance targets (service provider controllable Service Level Agreements or Key Performance Indicators) and puts a portion of the service provider’s management fee at risk if the supplier does not meet the agreed service levels.
Vested Business Model: This model is a hybrid relationship that combines an outcome-based economic model with a relational contracting model incorporating the Nobel Prize–winning concept of behavioral economics and the principle of shared value. Using these concepts, companies enter into highly collaborative arrangements designed to create and share value for buyers and suppliers above and beyond conventional buy-sell economics of a transaction-based agreement. In short, the parties are equally committed (Vested) to each other’s success.
Shared Services Model: Organizations that struggle to meet complex business requirements with a supplier can always invest to develop capabilities themselves (or insource). One approach is to develop an internal shared service organization (SSO) with the goal of centralizing and standardizing operations that improve operational efficiencies. A shared services model is an internal organization based on an arm’s-length outsourcing arrangement. Using this approach, processes are often centralized into an SSO that charges business units or users for the services they use. In some instances, SSOs are formed externally to the company (such as a subsidiary).
Equity Partnership (e.g. joint ventures): An equity partnership creates a legally binding entity. They take different legal forms, from buying a supplier (an acquisition), to creating a subsidiary, to equity-sharing joint ventures or entering into cooperative (co-op) arrangements. Equity partnerships are best used when an organization does not have adequate internal capabilities and does not want to outsource.
Once RE&FM decisions are aligned with the overall business strategy, facility management executives need to consider pricing. Some important considerations include:
Risk: How is it allocated between the service provider and the client, who is responsible for contracting, who is legally liable, and who covers downstream subcontracting risk?
Financial: Who makes the decisions on cost, who is paying the invoices, who is approving the payments, who is actually making the payments, and lastly, whose money is at risk?
Operations: Who is deciding “what” gets done and “how” the “what” is to be achieved? And, how much administration is the client willing to take on in the maintenance of the contract?
Transparency: What level of visibility is required into cost, profit margin, volumes, etc.?
Sorting out the above considerations is a complex process that could benefit from outside advisors to tap expertise not available within the RE&FM organization. The resulting decisions will help in determining what services should be outsources, as well as which pricing/contract model is most appropriate. There are four prevailing models in the industry:
Fixed Price: Client pays a set price at an aggregate level for a defined scope of work. Price is inclusive of labor, materials, profit, and overhead. Price changes occur solely when scope changes or negotiated variables are modified (e.g., indexing).
Time and Material: Client pays for the amount of time providers spend delivering the service, typically priced on a set price per hour. The hourly rate is fully loaded with all salary, benefits, overhead, and profit.
Unit Pricing: Client pays a fixed fee for a defined unit of service such as per square foot or meter, per hour, per move. The volume of “units” is the only variable, although many times the actual price per unit varies based upon volume.
Direct Cost: Client pays for the actual cost of delivering the service. The service provider is compensated for overhead and profit, either based on cost-plus negotiated margin or fixed negotiated fee that varies based upon negotiated volume tiers.
No single solution is always right and, oftentimes, a combination of structures is used. In the industry today, the Direct Cost model is used more often than not, as it gives the client full transparency into actual cost and volumes. That being said, unit pricing is common for services such as call centers (a fixed price per call or work order submitted).
There are many factors to consider prior to making the decision to outsource. Will it make us more efficient? Will it reduce the cost of managing our real estate portfolio? Will it create environments that drive performance and add shareholder value? Will it provide a competitive advantage? Is our organization mature enough, and can we manage the change? If these criteria are met, armed with sufficient information on outsourcing models, pricing, and contracts, facility management executives should be well positioned to achieve success in the next critical step—execution of the outsourcing plan.
Ingrid Fenn is a highly accomplished leader in corporate real estate and facilities management. As a global real estate strategist and portfolio platform builder, she brings more than a decade of major multinational corporate expertise to her strategic and operational leadership of SIREAS.
Trends in Corporate Real Estate
continue d >
Integrated Facility Management
50% service provider
25% service provider
Excel, Access, other internally accessed CMMS system
IFM provided CMMS
C&W St. Louis
limited best practices limited leverage
10% expense savings leverages network buying power
20% expense savings leveraged SP buying power and expertise limited headcount
30% expense savings leveraged SP buying power and expertise
Table 1: Managing FM services from internal management to a fully integrated facilities management model.
By Ingrid M. Fenn
Basic Provider Model
Approved Provider Model
Preferred Provider Model
Performance Based/Managed Services Model
Vested Business Model
Shared Services Model
LEARN MORE HERE
Whether it's new construction or the remodel of an existing space, my studio colleagues and I ask a lot of “What ifs.”
What if you came home from work in the evening healthier than when you arrived in the morning?”
What if you could guarantee success rates in learning environments just through smart design choices?”
There seems to be enough conversation today about being more productive in our interior environments if you are given the right tools to do the work. But is it always about tools alone? What if” we approach productivity from a more holistic viewpoint to include happiness and healthy behaviors? These questions become more intriguing when you consider that we already have data to inform us that happy and healthy people also tend to be more productive.
TIME TO GET PERSONAL
When you consider most Americans spend 87% of their lives indoors, sitting 6 or greater hours per day, and concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors, it seems that the interior environment would be a logical place to implement health and wellness change in our buildings. Couple this knowledge with the average payroll cost per employee at almost $300/sf, and we now have a financial incentive to reach for. Even the slightest reduction in payroll cost as a result of reduced sick days and happier employees will make a much bigger difference to the bottom line than a reduction in rent, utilities, or any soft costs of a project.
FOLLOW THE GREEN
Thankfully there has been no shortage over the years of green initiatives, certifications, and processes to help. (A quick Google search revealed 18 Green Product Certifications, and 14 Combined National and International Building Rating Certification Systems!)
None of these certifications, however, focused exclusively on human health and wellness in our built environment. None—until the release of The Well Building Standard ™ (WELL). (https://www.wellcertified.com)
Sometimes referred to as LEED™ for People, and first released in 2014, the WELL Standard is gaining significant traction today. WELL combines best practices in Design and Construction with Evidence- Based Medical and Scientific Research utilizing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being.
Designed to complement and work seamlessly with other Green Building rating systems, WELL is composed of over 100 features that are applied to each project, and each feature is designed to address issues that impact the health, comfort, or knowledge of occupants through design, operations, and behavior. These features are also measured by looking at seven factors or concepts relevant to occupant health and well- being: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind.
Strategies addressing these seven factors may include increased outside air exchanges, access to filtered water, healthy food choices, alignment of lighting design with the occupants’ circadian rhythms, Intuitive design that encourages physical activity, and environments that provide places for its occupants to “recharge” in order to stay productive.
Like its cousins in the Green Building rating system, WELL requires administration by an accredited professional WELL AP™, and a certification process that includes registration, documentation, and verification. What sets WELL apart from others is the requirement for recertification after 3 years for new construction and Interiors. This is not required for core and shell, however. For more information about the WELL Building Standard, visit the International WELL Building Institute website at www.wellcertified.com. (At the time of the writing of this article, WELL applies to commercial and institutional buildings. There are pilot programs underway for multifamily residential, education, retail restaurant, and commercial kitchens. You can access the latest progress at www.wellcertified.com/why-well.)
In this exciting time of our data driven society, and the focus on people and their environments, my colleagues and I invite you to keep asking “What if” about the environments in which you work, play and learn!
Shawn Gaither was a founding partner at Studio Hive Inc, and is now a Senior Architect and Senior Associate at DLR Group in their Workplace and Higher Education Studios. You can contact Shawn through the company’s website at www.dlrgroup.com
By Shawn Gaither
You know what seems to be happening a lot lately? People I’ve known and worked with for ages are retiring. And it’s weird.
I got where I am today, professionally speaking, largely because tripped over a job at a publishing company because I really, utterly, totally hated the job I had--and the guy I worked for. I sent out a ton of resumes, made hundreds of phone calls and spent every Sunday morning pouring over the classified ads (remember those?) in the San Francisco Chronicle with a pen in hand, circling anything that looked like something I could do and/or bluff my way through an interview for. I got hired as a receptionist (something I really did not want to be), and kept volunteering to help out with stuff in the office services department (which is what we called facilities at the time) until I made an impression on the head of the department.
Turned out she thought I’d be good at her job, so she groomed me (which actually, looking back, seems more like “tricked me”), sent me to classes, talked me into joining IFMA, and so on until she retired and left me holding her bag.
Next time you’re at a chapter meeting or IFMA conference and you’re chatting with your peers, ask them to, in a few sentences, tell you how they ended up in FM.
Here’s a sample of some of my favorites I’ve heard:
“I was the office manager and my boss asked me to manage our move into a new building.”
“I ran a daycare center for 20 years and my husband lost his job, so I needed to get work with health benefits for us and our kids, so I applied for an admin assistant job at a property management firm. One of the property managers quit so they asked me to cover for him. Then they gave me his job.”
“I was a bike messenger. I liked being a bike messenger. My fiancé wouldn’t get married unless I got a ‘real job’ so I starting asking the receptionists at the firms I serviced if they had any openings. I got hired in the mail room at a law firm. Six months later I was managing the mail room. A year after that I was managing their facilities department.”
“I drove the campus shuttle for a tech company. After a couple of years my boss suggested I apply for a job as a service coordinator in the facilities department. A few years later I was running the department.”
A lot of FMs are retiring. We’re not unique. Lots of people who work in accounting are retiring too. The baby boom started a little over 70 years ago and kept going until 1964. This is just math. If you figure that the front end of retirement age for those smart/lucky enough to have prepared well for it is 62, the first wave of boomer retirement started circa 2010. It’s in full acceleration mode now, 8 years later. It’s going to start decelerating in 2026.
What separates FM from a lot of other professions is what I talked about above. Accountants go to school to become accountants. Dentists go to school to become dentists. FMs, for the most part, tripped over their profession. Another way to put it is that while most other professionals followed a map to get to their destination, FMs wandered into it (I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque!). Or, as my dear friend Wayne Whitzell often puts it, we fell into it.
A lot of my peers in the FM world hate it when I say this, but I’m going to say it anyway – senior facilities professionals retiring is not the end of the world. I am the FM I am today because of the mentorship and guidance I received on the job. That’s true of everyone else headed toward what we hope is a sunny beach and many umbrella drinks. It’s made us far more creative than we would have been had we gotten here studying some kind of theory of FM in school. I reject the notion that we’ve got a crisis brewing.
But then again, I also categorically reject the narrative that Millennials are inherently broken and less competent than my fellow Gen Xers or the Boomers who came before us. The trick isn’t how we fill the pipeline. To again borrow from Wayne Whitzel, the trick is figuring out how to stop ignoring those mailroom clerks, office managers, HR assistants, day care operators, and shuttle drivers, and figure out what someone figured out about me: how do I get this gal/guy to fall into this profession faster?
Joe Selby is a Retail Property Manager for Wells Fargo Bank, managing a large portfolio of buildings, responsible for capital planning, operations and ongoing maintenance programs.
Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Ghana National Petroleum Corporation
Georgina Energy Solutions LLC
Lignum Interiors Inc.
Newmark Knight Frank
Nigerian Agip Oil Company
Roche Molecular Solutions, Inc.
Koshgarian Rug Cleaners, Inc
Soros Fund Management
Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance
Encore Capital Group
ACP Facility Services, Inc.
Polaris Industries Inc.
Uber Singapore Technology Pte Ltd
Antwerp World Diamond Centre
Varsity Facility Service
New Member Welcome
on Facility Management
Facility managers deal in a very complex environment and require a diversity of skills to succeed. As a result, facility management technologies have been developed to provide the tools necessary to meet those needs. From how we communicate with each other to how we keep track of a facility’s assets, technology has changed the face of facility management. Today, technology has become inherent in almost every aspect of our lives and we often see these technologies as a way to make our lives easier. By that logic, facility management technology can be defined as automated tools to provide information and knowledge to help us do our jobs better and more efficiently.
Types of FM Technology
There are many tools that can be categorized as FM technology, including today’s smart phones with apps that help you stay organized and informed. Typical technologies in the FM industry include:
• Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS): automates and tracks the tasks commonly associated with maintenance management, such as preventive maintenance, inventory, work orders, related labor, costs, and schedule tracking.
• Integrated Work Management Systems (IWMS): supports business management processes in real estate, maintenance, space, services, project management, and sustainability within one single platform.
• Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) Systems: automates such typical facilities management operations as leasing, maintenance, property management, space inventory, furniture inventory, and drawing production.
• Computer-Aided Design (CAD): aids in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of design.
• Geographic Information Systems (GIS): tracks geographical data and allows users to relate that data to assets and processes.
• Building Automation Systems (BAS): helps monitor and control several aspects of building operation, such as HVAC, elevators, fire suppression, and security.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it shows a common thread. They are all tools that help manage a facility’s assets and the services the FM organization are committed to provide. These technologies allow us to have more information at the tip of our fingers and make decisions based on the information available. At the same time, it has forced facility managers to move from the comfort of the built environment to having to deal with the virtual environment.
Benefits of FM Technology
The increasing amount of available technologies and their complexity can make any facility manager wary about implementing FM technologies. While we cannot always impact the development of complex technologies, we can push the complex technology to the background and make the user interface as simple as possible. We must focus on our desired business outcomes and how best to use FM technologies as a tool to support our business processes and realistically measure our performance, instead of being swayed by features that, in the long term, will not be of use. When configured and implemented successfully, they can:
• Facilitate management solutions
• Expedite decision making
• Improve communication
• Reduce operating costs
Overall, FM technologies give facility managers the ability to increase efficiency, improve maintenance quality and labor tracking, organize FM data and information, track asset and/or equipment histories, and even help you use your facility space better.
Technology Impacts on Facility Management
In the beginning, facility management was managed with a paper and pencil approach. When a building was turned over, you received boxes full of drawings (as-builts if you were lucky), user manuals, and warranty information. It was up to the facility manager to take that information and develop a facility management plan to maintain the facility. Processing that amount of information and maintaining it proved to be a challenge for many facility managers and software developers began to see an opportunity to help fill a gap. Today, facility managers can receive building and asset information electronically in multiple formats that can be readily uploaded to CAFM and CMMS systems (for example) to allow for the immediate use of the information. This not only helps maintain the data in a centralized place accessible to anyone who has access to these information systems, but the data can be modified and used to keep track of an asset’s history that will in turn help facility managers make informed decisions on maintenance practices and capital planning.
FM technology has also increased the role and the visibility of the facility manager. With the ability to capture data and measure and monitor the efficiency of an FM organization, FMs are now equipped with the metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) that help the C-Suite paint a picture of the health of the organization and how their efforts are helping meet the organization’s overall strategy. Information driven from these systems can be used to justify hiring of additional staff, downsizing space, replacing a chiller sooner than anticipated, and even modify preventive maintenance practices that will maximize the useful life of an asset, therefore saving money through cost avoidance on unnecessary maintenance or premature replacement.
Technology is also transforming the workplace in more ways than one. No longer is the workspace confined to four walls in a building: it is the coffee shop across the street, the home office, a shared workplace across the country. Various surveys and studies have shown that the transformation has helped implement flexible work practices that reduce stress, cut absenteeism by nearly 60% with telecommuting practices alone, increase productivity, attract talented and committed workers, and increase the amount of time they are in “work mode.” This in turn has changed the role a facility manager plays in an organization. In addition to being responsible for maintenance management, FMs are now responsible for space management and service management. Allocating space is no longer one person per desk. Now there are conference rooms, shared desks (hoteling), and collaborative spaces that need to be managed. Services now extend beyond general maintenance to include catering, meeting services, and even on- or off-boarding activities.
While technology has helped facility management in many ways, it has not been without its challenges. Lack of planning can make these technologies have a negative impact on a business, including customer satisfaction and increased security issues. Remember that while technology has been evolving to make our lives easier, it is not appropriate for everything and everyone. You must look at technology with an end if mind. What do you want it to help you do? Will it improve your processes, grant you efficiencies, and give you the information you need to make strategic decisions?
“When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. The good-to-great companies never began their transitions with pioneering technology, for the simple reason that you cannot make good use of technology until you know which technologies are relevant.”
Jim Collins, Good to Great (2001)
Let us not implement technology for the sake of having it. The quote from Good to Great points out that the most successful companies, defined as those that produced rates of return equal to the market for 15 years, and then exceeded the market by more than 2.5 times annually for another 15 years, never produced their success because of new technology. They used it to support their strategy. How will you use it to support yours?
Mayra Portalatin is a Civil & Environmental Engineer with extensive project management and consulting experience in building investigations ranging from environmental to building condition assessments. She is a leader in IFMA's Capital chapter and is an instructor for IFMA’s Sustainability Facility Professional program. In addition to being an instructor, Mayra has spoken in various conferences, such as NAEP, WMCCAI, AASHE, Greenbuild, NFMT, and WWP about environmental issues and sustainability in the existing building environment.
By Mayra Portalatin, SFP
The Impact of Technology
Be sure to listen to Mike Petrusky's interview with Mayra. It's on page 2.
Click to jump back.
Advocacy Day and Public
Policy Forum 2018
Washington, DC | September 12-13
Register here now while space is still available.
World Workplace Asia 2018
Singapore | September 7 - 9
First Wednesday Webinar
National & International Events
We don’t think of the word “forgiveness” in the context of corporate life. It’s a character word, one used for life outside the office. We forgive our spouses, our relatives, and our friends, but in the day-to-day goings-on of work, we just put our shoulders to the plow and press forward. Forgiveness has nothing to do with getting through the week.
Except it does. Yes, forgiveness is a character word, and if there’s anything needed more to balance the delicate sensitivities of a diverse and multifaceted workforce, I can’t think of what it might be. We are going to offend someone, and someone is sure to offend us. We’re going to say the wrong thing in the wrong way to a colleague at some point, and we’ll need them to cut us some slack for having a bad day/week/season, just as a boss or coworker is going to exhibit behavior that takes the glow off the peach quicker than an unexpected snowstorm. If we can’t forgive, and if we can’t hope for forgiveness, we are lost in a sludge pond of cumulatively collecting slings and arrows.
I’ve worked for my share of bosses who walked in varying levels of treachery (I would argue, in fact, more than my share). One was truly evil, one was just rootedly self-centered, and one was simply oblivious to the perception created. All of them put me through the ringer. I had a tough time letting go of the emotional fallout created by Evil, but Self-Centered was just so out of it, and Oblivious was . . . well, you know. The thing is, I see nothing to be gained by being perpetually angry and frustrated at people who simply cannot rein in their behaviors. I am not always in control of the circumstances in which I find myself but I am certainly in control of my own responses, and there is much to be said for taking authority over oneself and deciding to do right, even when others won’t.
It has been said that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That’s a word of wisdom right there, and one I take to heart. I will not be a slave to malice and bitterness. If I cannot decide to forgive, and determine I will be a rock of peace and goodwill in a painful and difficult situation, I must leave. I cannot, I will not, perpetuate the misery already in progress by wallowing in hatred. If I can’t address the problem with the means at my disposal—whether that is getting some assistance from HR or seeing a therapist or talking to someone with the power to make changes—and if I can’t ride the rapids until there’s a transition to smoother waters, then I have to get out. Life is too short to destroy my sanity over someone with no self-regulation.
Forgiveness is rooted in character, and if we actually have any, it’s a quality we need to cultivate, because there is precious little of it in a corporate environment. People need to be forgiven for their bad behavior, and sometimes they need to know they’re being forgiven. I’ve not frequently been asked for forgiveness, but I am quick to ask for it myself, sincerely, when I have done something I knew was offensive or boorish: “Will you forgive me?” I need to hear, “Yes, I forgive you.” And guess what? My example helps others step up and begin to ask the same question. I’ve seen it happen. I’m the catalyst for this character-building practice. That feels great.
People do stupid, bumbling, unintentional stuff for which they need forgiveness. I have a terrible day, a rotten week, a period of dysfunction every once in a while, and I need to know that the folks with whom I work will extend a bit of the milk of human kindness. And the jerks within our ranks are that way for a reason, usually because they have seen that modeled by their families for decades, or they were reared to be bad-tempered dogs. They have no self-control. But I do, and I forgive. Let’s all try it and see what happens.
(click an event for more info)
Beyond the Open Office and
the Multi-Generational Workplace
May 2, 2018
Sue Thompson is the editor of Facility, the immediate past president of the IFMA Delaware chapter, a past president of the CFC, and the Facilities Manager at AAA Club Alliance.
Fast-Tracking the IFMA Pipeline:
A discussion with
Wayne Whitzell and Christian Pellecchia
World FM Day 2018
Global | May 16
Christian Flanders, FMP
The world is changing rapidly and so is the workplace. Like the Boomers, Gen Xer's, and Millennials before them we will explore how the characteristics of Gen Z will impact the multi-generational workplace. Over 70% of U.S. companies report the use of only low cubicle partitions or no partitions at all. A decade into the rise of the open office design concept what have we learned? We will discover the key factors influencing future workplace design.
Christian Flanders is a Workplace Consultant with over 20 years of experience in Commercial Interior Design. His recent projects include the new Golden 1 Center home of The Sacramento Kings, the most technologically advanced and first LEED Platinum Certified arena in the country.
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Back in 2004, I had just begun to oversee statewide California operations for my employer at the time in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. Obviously, I was dealing with a lot more activity as a result of these increased duties. It was during this period of stress and struggle that I learned a powerful lesson from a talented team member of mine, Kathryn Lopez. Up to the point I began working with Kathryn, tag-teaming client presentations and supporting her operationally, I had smugly thought of my time management skills as quite effective and, looking back, I arrogantly thought my skills were a little better than most folks. Boy, was I wrong. As I began to observe Kathryn, I noticed a level of discipline and preparedness I wanted to achieve. She was varsity squad; I was the JV water boy. What I remember most about those days working with her is that I was actually ashamed to be around her sometimes. Not that Kathryn was arrogant or aloof; quite the opposite was true. Kathryn is a beautiful, kind soul who radiates positivity at supernova levels. It was simply that she was always so prepared and always so organized, with all the necessary items at the ready, that I felt out-of-place and ineffective standing there with my imitation leather portfolio. I thought I had it together, but watching her convinced me she was a time-management and personal productivity super woman. So I set out to learn what she did and how she did it.
The most important skill I learned from Kathryn was to have a specific plan for each day with specific tasks to accomplish. Rather than being buffeted about by stimuli and daily chaos, she had a plan she followed each and every day. Sure, things “came up” and fires needed to be dealt with, but they never ultimately interfered with her accomplishing her goals for that day. Simply stated, she took a proactive approach to her time, instead of just reacting to the most urgent issue. In a simple and practical way, Kathryn printed a copy of her daily calendar for that day from Outlook. She carried the paper in a plastic folder throughout the day. It was her road map. Come hell or high water, she was going to get the things done she planned to do. In the worst case scenario, if something unforeseen came up, she would know whom to call or what to do to renegotiate her commitments to herself and others. Kathryn taught me to answer the question, “How am I going to spend my time today to achieve my goals?” In case you are wondering, during those pre-smartphone years in the field, I also began to carry a plastic folder with my daily calendar in it, just like Kathryn.
Years ago, I saw a documentary called “Riding Giants” about surfing. It detailed the world of big wave surfing with all the danger, perils, and terrific thrills involved. The cinematography is stunning. As these brave (and slightly insane) surfers ride wave after wave after wave of these monsters, one thing becomes apparent very quickly: you cannot control the chaos of these humongous waves--you can only hope to surf the blasted things and not get pulled under. The waves never stop, and unless a surfer is content riding little blips of water somewhere in safer, unexciting bodies of water, he or she is has got to learn some skills for surfing the Big Kahuna.
When surfing “big waves,” it is not a solo act of paddling out and riding a wave. There is an entire support staff in and out of the water helping the surfers to get to and from the waves safely. The water crew (on jet skis) is in just about the same level of danger as the surfers. When the team is working together, the surfer successfully rides gracefully above the chaos and sharp coral beneath the waves and is safely picked up by the support crew in the water only to happily do it all over again. But when something goes wrong, it goes very wrong, and quickly. Pinned underwater for long periods of time scraping against a reef, these daredevils experience the full brunt of going from surfing the wave to being overwhelmed by it. I learned a lot more from that documentary than when to say “dude” and where to catch a righteous gnarly wave.
Every day, we are bombarded with demands on our time. Surprises fly from the left and right while our planned activities are either pushed to the side or forgotten as we find ourselves flailing about in the water just trying to keep our heads above the surface. Promises to others and ourselves fall through the cracks. The urgent overtakes the important. We let people down with friendly fire and self-inflict wounds by creating the stress of last-minute work. We fall off the surfboard and into the crashing waves struggling to stay afloat. Sound familiar?
There are many techniques for “getting organized” or managing one’s time. But when someone is drowning, he/she doesn’t need a 300-page manual on how to swim. The person needs practical, easy to use life-saving advice. What could we possibly do, today, to get back to surfing the chaos instead of drowning in it? It was not long after I learned my first lessons from Kathryn that I was introduced to a life-altering system for stress-free personal productivity in the form of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD). I learned so much from this book (which was recommended to me by a fellow IFMA friend), but I believe there are two simple practices below from David Allen’s GTD system that can help you spend more time ON the wave than UNDER the wave.
Habit #1 – Empty your email inbox every 24 to 48 hours.
Take a look at your email inbox. How many emails are in your inbox? 50? 100? 500? 1,000? 2,000? Over 2,000? What is lurking in there? There are only a limited number of things you need to do with an email and leaving it in your inbox isn’t one of them. When an email comes in, we have to answer one question, “What is it?”
• “I do not need to do anything with this email.”
ACTION: Delete the email.
• “I must take an action on this email by a certain time.”
ACTION: If it will take two minutes or less to complete the action, do it then and there. If not, place the related action(s) on your calendar to complete the action by the due date.
• “I must take an action on this email, but there is no specific time.”
ACTION: Put the action in a list of open tasks/projects you review regularly (at least weekly).
• “I must save the information in this email for reference on a specific project.”
ACTION: Store the email a temporary subfolder designated by Project (e.g., “Company X RFP”) as long as the project is active. Then, either permanently file it or delete it.
• “I must save the email for CYA purposes.”
ACTION: Store the email by tracking it in the associated account or contact. Or, if it’s personal, store the email in an appropriate CYA folder you can easily find when you need it.
Managing your deliverables by using your email inbox as a filing cabinet or “search and find” tool is dangerous. At best, you may be able to keep track of everything this way, but you are wasting way too much time hunting and searching for “that email with the _______in it." Worst case, you are forgetting about your deliverables until someone or something else reminds you of them or you stumble across them in the pile of email with an “ohh . . . yeah . . . that’s right . . . forgot about that one . . . ” moment.
This is dangerous surfing. If there are actions that need to be scheduled hiding in your inbox, why haven’t they been moved onto your calendar? If the email is of no use, why hasn’t it been deleted? Ultimately, there are two reasons why we let our inboxes get out of hand and neither of them are laziness. The first reason is fear. Many who operate without a day-to-day proactive plan or a system to manage activities are simply paralyzed with fear by the thought that they might need an email and if they move it from their inbox, they will not be able to find it when they need it.
The second reason is that many people do not view the act of processing their inbox to zero as part of their work that needs to be scheduled. We scan emails throughout the day on our phones and react instantly to the urgent, but seldom do we set aside an hour or two specifically to process the day’s emails and answer the question of each one, “What is it?” Over the course of days, weeks and months of neglecting the habit of dealing with our inboxes, they become bloated. For some reason, we have a habit of not looking at processing email as an important part of our daily work and therefore it often becomes an afterthought. Also, just moving the email into a subfolder of your inbox is not processing it. That is like rearranging a mess into multiple piles of mess. I am not a fan of subfolders in general, however, if you must use them, do not make the classic mistake of using the sender’s name to house all emails from “Jane Smith” or “John Doe.” At best, the subfolders should be classified by Project.
Habit #2 – Don’t put it in your head. Put it in your calendar or Task Lists.
Did you ever say to yourself, “I can’t forget to bring this __________ with me tomorrow” and place it by the door, or in your car, or in your briefcase? You are playing a trick on your brain by doing this. You don’t trust yourself to remember (and rightfully so) so you take control of the situation and your memory becomes irrelevant. It’s like one of those sci-fi movies where the lead character forgets everything each day and has to refer to a list he has left for himself to read in the future. Or, if you prefer--Adam Sandler movies like “50 First Dates,” where the Luci character has her memory wiped each day and eventually she starts leaving herself instructions for the next day.
We are in the same situation. If you do this consistently and over time, you will achieve a state of workflow and productivity where you are truly surfing the chaos--and actually having fun. You actually start managing YOURSELF as a resource rather than being tossed about by the waves. What must you get done tomorrow? The day after? Next week? What actions must be taken on that project? What data entry needs to be in by next Tuesday? What phone call has to be made next Monday? Leave yourself a reminder in your calendar for “Future You.”
Take a look at your calendar (whichever kind you use). Is it empty? Are the only items on your calendar invites from other people? How far out have you planned your activities? Believe me, there is no surer sign that someone is just drifting along in the surf than an empty calendar without booking time for yourself to accomplish specific activities. It says, “I don’t have a plan and I am just going to react to what happens next.” In other words, you’re shark bait.
If any input coming your way such as snail/e-mail, verbal requests, voice mails, action items from a meeting, your own thoughts and ideas, etc., has any kind of time sensitive NEXT ACTION associated with it, then it ultimately belongs on your calendar, not in your head. When a project (anything that has more than one action step) comes your way, you can book the necessary time for yourself to reach the necessary milestones along the way by their due dates.
One other thing to get out of your head is the items you are waiting on from other people to whom you have delegated tasks. Need a response to an email by next Wednesday? Put a reminder on your calendar for next Tuesday to check in with the person if you have not heard back from him/her. This one tip alone will save you countless hours of heartache.
There is a powerful interplay between planning your daily activities against your priorities. If you know what you have to get done and when you must get it done you have the power to make a choice when a new input comes your way.
• Say “Yes” to the input.
ACTION: Book out the necessary time on your calendar to accomplish the input.
• Say “Maybe” to the input.
ACTION: If you are already committed during the time you need to accomplish the new input, you can renegotiate your commitments to yourself and others by rescheduling items on your calendar. This is easier to do if you have clear priorities. For example, if an opportunity to bid a $5M project came your way, and you had the day planned to complete employee review forms, you may want to reschedule your review forms task. Or, if you committed to do a day of site inspections for your team, you may ask to pass the task to someone else or reschedule it. Here’s the key: unless you already know what you are committed to, you can’t renegotiate the commitments.
• Say “No” to the input.
ACTION: If you cannot renegotiate your pre-existing commitments and/or your pre-existing commitments are a higher priority for you than the new input, you can and should say “No.” Whether your priority is entering payroll, generating revenue, fixing a chiller unit, or taking a vacation, you must weigh the new input against what is the best use of your time.
You may experience strong reactions from team members making the request of you. Sometimes, this is because they themselves manage their own activities from crisis to crisis, reacting to the next wave that comes at them. When you don’t drop everything and assist because you have prior commitments that are higher priority, be prepared to respectfully explain to the person that you have other deliverables that take priority and ask if there are options for you to help them within the next few days when you may have the time. I will give you one good example measurement to decide when to say “Yes”: if the choice has to do with a direct revenue generating activity vs. something else, it is a clear priority.
If you get the hang (ten) of it, Outlook can be a very useful tool in managing your daily calendar. Here are some tips:
• All Day Appointment Section
In the very top portion of the daily calendar, you will find the section for “All Day Appointments.” This section is typically used for things like: Items you need to get done that day without a specific time, supporting information needed that day such as flight info, staff vacation reminders, directions to lunch meeting, etc.--basically, anything you need to remember and do for that day that does not have a specific time associated with it.
Each day, your calendar should contain those activities you plan to accomplish that day. The day should be planned out to the point that you do not have to think, you only need to “do.” It’s almost as if you step outside of yourself to manage yourself in the third-person. What must you do to fulfill your job description? What are your priorities? What absolutely has to get done? Put them on your calendar and book the time to accomplish them – no matter how trivial or insignificant you think the task is. If you spend more time “living” in your email inbox than in your calendar, that is a dead giveaway that you are reacting to the waves rather than surfing them. This produces a culture of busyness instead of a culture of results. The stressed out employee in a cold sweat putting in the extra hours may look noble from the outside; however, could it simply be the person is just plain drowning in the waves and those flailing limbs are just a desperate attempt to keep from going under rather than a smart, hard-working employee with his/her nose to the grindstone?
Right now, just think about tomorrow. What do you have to get done? Most people can identify one or two major tasks off the top of their head. What about the rest of the day? Would you be comfortable showing your daily calendar to your manager? Remember, you are important! You are a valued member of a team. Therefore, manage yourself like a precious resource with a truly limited amount of time. Then, don’t blow the appointment off you made with yourself when you make a commitment to yourself in your calendar. Get it out of your head and you’ll get things done.
• Recurring Items
If you do something each day, week, every third Thursday, etc., then set up a recurring appointment on your calendar to remind you to do it and make sure you have booked yourself out to do it. If you get an average of 100 emails per day and if you only spend an average of just one minute per email as you process it, that’s about an hour and a half of your time. Think that’s too long? I would bet my paycheck that folks with the 2,000 item inboxes spend at least triple that in searching for information and dealing with last-minute emergencies, dropping the ball, or asking people to resend the information.
Lack of planning not only affects your productivity and stress levels, it ripples through the water and affects your whole team. Like the surfers in “Riding Giants,” if a surfer goes under the water, his/her rescue team must risk their own lives to enter the dangerous waters to pull him/her out. Rescuers have often been injured worse than the person they were attempting to rescue. Like the old adage says, “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” If your administrator is in a particularly salty mood, could it be that you tossed him/her a last minute work order request that you have had sitting in your email box for a week? If your customer service rep looks a little miffed, could it be that he/she made a scheduling request to you four days ago and the customer has not been called yet?
The bottom line is we always do that which we consider to be most important. Read that again. It’s a loaded statement. I have led a few strategic planning sessions for various groups and non-profits over the years and one exercise I lead the group through is the “Importance to Time Ratio” exercise. I ask the individuals to list, in order of importance, the top 10 most important things to them right now, personally and professionally. Then we go around the room and talk about the top few on everyone’s sheet. Inevitably, “family” is usually number one or two on everyone’s list. Next, I ask the group to go down the list and place the amount of hours they average per day on their top ten. Then, like dominos, you can see the ripple go around the room. Most people discover that what they consider to be most important is not getting the time that something “important” deserves. Saying, “My family is the most important thing to me” can only be true when we have a choice between investing our time with them versus something further down on the list--and we choose “family.” Otherwise, we are only saying family is important in our personal lives. We always do that which we consider to be most important, and as you have probably surmised, there’s another application for all of this. You can and should apply all of these principles to your personal life as well.
Over the years, I have gotten much better at surfing the chaos. Sure, I still fall off the board and miss a wave or two. Worse yet, I still put my team in jeopardy from time to time. But I can say without a doubt that I am spending far more of my time on my surfboard than in the water. I try to learn from the falls and I want my team and family to hold me accountable so that I can get better and more efficient at getting things done professionally and personally. If you struggle with a bloated inbox and a calendar that looks like a ghost town, consider implementing some of the tips shared in this article. Whether you recognize that you need help or you are already a personal productivity Jedi, consider reading Getting Things Done by David Allen to fine-tune your skills. We need all the tools we can get--because knowledge and productivity workers are inevitably headed for the big water where the waves are gnarly and the coral is razor sharp. It’s going to be a wild fun ride for those who can surf the chaos. See you on the waves!
Wayne Whitzell is the Executive Vice President, Corporate Services for DFS Green, the current Programs Chair of the Corporate Facilities Council, and the Immediate Past President of IFMA's East Bay Chapter.
by Wayne Whitzell, LEED®AP, BEP, GBO
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