1 May 2014
Ian jones thinks that too much of the debate in FM is patronising.
I don't think I have felt this beleaguered for a long time.
The facilities manager seems to be under attack from all quarters, often from people purporting to be representing the profession. I spent a lot of time on the train this month and read lots of different FM-related magazines and other professional periodicals and I have noted that, as an FM:
- I don't innovate at all;
- I'm not adding any value to the company;
- I don't have a seat on the board;
- I don't understand the company objectives and therefore don't align with them;
- I don't have any strategic understanding;
- I don't understand and therefore can't influence culture;
- I don't understand how I can help to transform my workplace;
- My team and I hide away;
- I'm ruled by the procurement department;
- I'm only interested in toilets and energy-saving light bulbs;
- I need to up my game;
- I haven't looked after the assets I have been given;
- I go to tender simply to save money and take the cheapest service offered;
- I need BIM but I don't understand it; and
- I need "soft landings" because I am incapable of operating without it.
"Let me tell you, guys and gals - you're not selling yourselves to me.
"Exactly who are these comments really aimed at? Are the service providers, professional bodies and commentators that are making these statements talking about the FMs of every company? Or are they talking about themselves? Are all FMs stupid - is that what you're saying?
"As an FM I am not unique, I know many people in this industry working for all sorts of companies. They are like me; they are my peers. We work hard every single day trying to satisfy the needs and wants of the companies we work for and for the people within. I completely understand how my company works, how we need to be serviced by our providers, how we do things now, how I know we can do things more efficiently, effectively (and yes, sometimes cheaper). Maybe it is my peers - maybe they just don't understand their companies. But I rather think they do. And none of us likes to be lectured to.
"I've been to seminars recently where service providers and consultants have even stood on the stage and called me the "not very intelligent client". Sorry guys, but you need to start modifying your approach or I'm going to take my toys back.
"I am not stupid; I do understand my company and my people, I already have a strategic role, I do understand the value we bring. I don't want (nor do I need or think I should have) a seat on the board. Oh, and I know more about the importance of toilets in terms of staff engagement than you'll ever know.
"So my advice is to try a different message before you alienate yourselves totally from the very people that you are purporting to help. I can only stand so much
Ian Jones is director of facilities and estates for ITV Plc. If you'd like to comment, email your correspondence to us at [email protected]