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November 26, 2015

The people side of good Facilities Management practice

There is plenty of information out there about the technical competencies required of a successful Facilities Manager (FM), but less attention paid to the right attitudes and behaviours. So how can FMs improve their people skills and stay on good terms with all the different personalities they deal with every day? This was the subject of a recent event: ‘The DNA of a High Performing Facilities Manager’.

Helix was very proud to be one of the sponsors of this special evening hosted by BIFM (the British Institute of Facilities Management). It’s the annual flagship event for their People Management Special Interest Group and was designed to provide thought provoking discussion as well as networking opportunities.

The event was held in central London and packed with FM and property management professionals (including a team from Helix). All of us were fortunate to witness two exceptional presentations from the invited keynote speakers.

First up was Alan Russell from Heathrow Terminal 5, who is the 2015 Facilities Manager of The Year.

To win such an award and manage such a vast and complex facility, while still in his thirties, is a highly impressive achievement. How I get great performance! emphasised the importance of learning from mistakes. Alan urged us not to be scared of stressful situations because, as he put it, “those are the ones you learn from and those things won’t be found in books”.

He relayed a story about a colleague who was struggling with a task and how, instead of reaching out to this individual, Alan complained directly to his superiors. This caused unnecessary bad feeling. The lesson was that sometimes you have to take ownership of situations instead of passing the responsibility elsewhere.

The second speaker was Glenn Mead, Director of Corporate Programmes at Chimp Management.

Improving your performance, which was tailored for the FM audience, introduced a simple but ground-breaking model of how the human brain functions. In doing so, Glenn’s talk demonstrated a new way for leaders to inspire, motivate and drive their teams to achieve more, as well as showing how individuals could understand themselves better and optimise their own performance.

Glenn’s technique definitely offered something different. Indeed, Sir Chris Hoy used it to ride to gold in the 2012 London Olympics. What really made his talk special though, was the way he got everyone involved. We were all invited to participate in group exercises that demonstrated the many ways our ‘chimp brains’ make us react on the spot and jump to conclusions during stressful situations.

The evening closed with some exceptional networking, including the chance to meet previous FM of the Year Winners. This was a good opportunity to share experiences with like minds while enjoying the excellent food and drinks supplied by catering sponsor, Sodexo.

Here is a brief summary of what we learned:

Failure
It’s always a possibility, but it is also a vital part of learning and gaining experience. As the saying goes, ‘when you lose, don’t lose the lesson’.

Personality
Many types of people can make a good FM but what really counts is a passion for excellence.

Development
Whether you want to develop your own skills, or those of your team, be sure to focus on improving attitude as well as skills.

Confidence
This is key. You must have it and you must inspire it in others. Experience takes time and doesn’t always guarantee confidence.

Justyna Nunn
by Justyna Nunn • November 26, 2015 Categories: Facilities Management