By September 16, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Shifting From Maintenance to Management in Facilities Management – Business Skills vs. Technical Skills

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FM Knowledge GridThe modern Facility Manager needs a slightly different mix of skills to navigate not just within the profession, but within their own organizations to be successful, especially if they want to become the Head of FM, whether for a small organization or a multi-national corporation.

The FM Knowledge Grid illustration (see a larger one further below) shows the necessary progression of skills, shifting the focus from technical to business skills (including leadership, strategy and management)

As my FM Pie illustrates (see this Blog posting for your copy of the FM Pie), there is a broad range of functions and scope in the Facilities and Property Management industry and not everyone will or even wants to take on the more all-encompassing role of Head of FM, but even so, everyone can benefit from more of the business skills to leverage what they already know and improve results and enhance the profession.

When I say Head of FM, I’m talking generically, since the actual titles can range widely from job titles without Facilities even in the title to Facility Manager, Director, Vice President, etc. The title is less important – it’s the overall role and scope that the Head of FM refers to.

As a profession, we are still working on this issue, with spotty success at specific organizations and with specific Facility Managers. We haven’t really arrived as a well recognized profession yet in the corporate world. Unfortunately, the message in the Juggler Videos  produced by Hayworth in the early 90’s is still valid.

You can benefit from this shift in the profession and advance your career by developing your business skills, either through training provided by your organization, or on your own.  Your colleagues in your organization (in HR, Finance, Marketing, Production, Sales, Research, etc.) probably are a step or two ahead of you. To compete for scarce resources within your organization and be an advocate for your team and your profession, you need to be at the same or higher level of business skills that they do.

The shift is happening naturally, but it could use a little more of a push and our profession needs to develop. Associations and their related designations, Universities and their Facility Management programs and a concerted effort by the leaders in our own industry will help, but ultimately, those working in the Facilities industry, whether they have the FM title or not, are one of the most important part of the development of our profession - by demonstrating our strategic value to our organizations.

The profession is a complex one these days, requiring us to be the jack of all trades, yet seldom a master of them. That’s not a problem as long as we have the experts to draw upon. Take a look at my FM Pie to get the full range of skills, expertise and competencies needed in the Facilities Management profession.

The shift we need is a shift from a maintenance approach to a business approach, not just in how we manage, but in how we are perceived.

This diagram illustrates the transition needed to business skills as you advance in your career. Most FM’s who have reached the ‘Head of FM’ position, regardless of title, have a broader range of these business skills. If you want to get there, or simply improve results related to your own role, you should also make the shift.

FM Knowledge Grid


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