10 September 2014
It seems incredible that almost a year has passed since I was preparing to take over as Chairman of the Judges from Oliver Jones.
Under Oliver's leadership, the BIFM Awards were transformed and by the end of his four-year tenure the number of entrants had more than trebled in number. I had the pleasure of working with him during this time and witnessed how Oliver both professionalised the management of the Awards and turned the Awards ceremony into the event of the FM calendar.
With this legacy in mind, I recall thinking 'how do we take the already successful industry awards and make an impact over the next 3-5 years?' As a BIFM Awards Lead Judge for several categories over as many years I considered how the experience and learning I had gained could be used to build on Oliver's success.
At this point I realised that sometimes as a leader, driving consistency and a continuous improvement process are equally as vital as innovation, radical step change and transformation. So part of my mandate, discussed and approved by the BIFM board, was to establish a Process Improvement Team late in 2013. I was joined by representatives from the BIFM management team and Lead Judges with BIFM's external auditors providing advisory support.
Like all good improvement projects our first task was to fully review all existing procedures ranging from governance arrangements, position descriptions, expectations of judges, communication methods, marketing and the overall judging process.
Naturally we found improvement opportunities and in search of excellence we will constantly look for more ways in which we can drive improvements. In particular I am optimistic that further opportunities for improvements will emerge from our new 'customer' feedback survey. Our 'customers' are our entrants and we have asked all of the 2014 Award entrants for their views and ideas for further improvements. More informally, together with our team of Lead Judges, I am seeking feedback from judges, past entrants and those organisations and individuals who we come across that are doing fantastic work yet never consider entering.
Throughout our improvement journey what has been very apparent to everyone involved, is that our profession and industry are continuing to raise the bar in terms of excellence. This year we have had outstanding submissions from individuals, in-house teams, service providers, consultants and suppliers from regional, national and international companies. This has made judging in 2014 extremely exciting and in many categories finalists are separated by the thinnest of margins.
However, having spent over 25 years in the FM industry working in Australia, Asia and now in the UK and Europe, I have never lost sight of the fact that we are a people-based industry. So it has been extremely pleasing that in my first year as Chairman of the Judges, we have for the first time, three separate awards that recognise individuals across the broad spectrum of an FM career path. These are the inaugural Rising Talent in Facilities Management Award; the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Facilities Manager of the Year Award. These three Awards recognising individuals compliment a range of awards that recognise organisational and team achievements from all parts of the UK as well as an increasing number of international submissions.
This all contributes to ensuring that the BIFM Awards are recognised as being unique from a local and international perspective. I am looking forward to my first awards' night as Chairman of the Judges on Monday 13 October with great expectations and a huge amount of pride in our profession's achievements.
See more on the 2014 finalists, and ticket/table information at www.bifm.org.uk/awards2014
Steve Gladwin is chairman of the judges at BIFM Awards