[Skip to content]

FM World logo
Text Size: A A A


Joanna Lloyd-Davies explains five attributes FMs need in successfully handling the C-suite.

Balance Illustration ©Shutterstock

04 June 2018 | Joanna Lloyd-Davies

While distilling the attributes of a successful FM to just five 

is optimistic, Joanna Lloyd-Davies picks a handful most needed when interfacing with the top brass

Facilities management is an all-encompassing domicile – a cauldron for every support service in the built environment. It’s an ever-increasing and shifting sphere of activity with mounting responsibilities and accountabilities.

The attributes of the FM in engaging with the C-suite are multitudinous. She or he will be a tenacious performer who recognises that the C-suite’s challenges multiply without warning, and the workplace, whatever this is, is a constantly evolving work in progress. 

Both a sense of humour and purpose are essential attributes, but here are the core five to focus on.


1. Knowledge 

Align with your C-suite champion as knowledge will emanate from a trusting relationship. You must know your business, direction, goals and challenges – and importantly, how FM will enhance productivity and growth. 

Know all aspects of your real estate. What are you measuring and why?  What does the data reveal? How can it be deployed to support the creation and progression of highly functioning workplaces in which humans and technology deliver in parallel?

Know the market sector and your rivals. How are they meeting the demand for agility and change? What are your advantages? What can you learn from them and others? What are your proposals? Perhaps enhanced engagement and development of people, extending the use of AI and introducing new concepts. 

Knowledge is power; use it.


2. Communication skills 

The ability to communicate and present effortlessly, simply and without jargon is essential. It reduces confusion and encourages open dialogue. Think of yourself not just as the FM leader but as part of the leadership team so make it obvious you’re striving to collaborate at the highest 

level to drive business and strategy forward. 

Demonstrate your intellectual ability to interact with a wide variety of stakeholders, influencing and creating buy-in to your ideas, proposals and changes at every level. This is key to your purpose. Listen well and be prepared for every tough question.

3. Professionalism  (with a hefty dose of lateral thinking) 

Everything is possible. You may well have to execute the difficult C-suite strategic transformative vision, which will drive greater performance. Your professionalism and agility in supporting them with high-impact, unbiased, data-driven advice will be key to creating intelligent solutions for continuous change.  

Managing growing risks related to enabling technology and cyber developments is an incessant test. Ensure that key specialists are at hand to provide the latest intelligence. 


4. Humanity

People are an organisation’s greatest asset. Your team faces complex FM challenges, juggling supply and demand constantly. Provide strong, professional leadership for your people – develop and respect them; your success is derived from their activities.  

Develop a socially cohesive, collaborative organisation where interaction supports team success. Company allegiance is strengthened through workplace friendships and loyalty. Your enthusiasm and energy will be valued and in turn, reflected in your relationship with the C-suite. 


5 Gumption

Work with the C-suite as their challenges are greater than ever and you may well have to execute confidential, complex and thorny agendas. Your successes will gain respect and provide the chance for greater involvement with the C-suite. Exhibit your integrity and strength of character, and show loyalty by delivering professionally in difficult circumstances. Value the views of people involved in every change process.  Continuously remind yourself that you are aiming to provide a positive workplace that supports the business and the best opportunity for optimum productivity and profitability. 

Joanna Lloyd-Davies is director of JLD Consultants Limited