Getting Corporate to listen to you

The amount of attention paid to Facility Services varies from corporation to corporation. There are still situations where FM is ‘buried’ in the “department of least resistance”. Without a strong, centralized Real Estate or Facilities entity, it’s hard to know where to slot the FM group.

However, it is often vital that Facility Managers be heard when trying to offer advice, new information or provincial regulations to the corporation and dare I say, inform corporate of any potential warnings about existing off-standard conditions and potential near and real disasters that at the very least could be extremely costly to the company.

So how do we get Corporate, the C-Suite, to listen to the need for changes in the organization?

Whether they are physical alterations, processes or impending financial impacts. Here are some of my tips for you:

· Know your key contacts. Who in the organization are the players who can best assist in your objective? You may need to start with a lower mid-term view before being heard higher up.

· Don’t just pop in. Book a formal meeting time but keep it brief. Try to include as many influential participants. People often scan the invitee list before accepting conference calls or meeting invites.

· Stress the importance of the meeting. Action is the needed outcome and a consensus on what needs to be done.

· Conference calls or Skype are becoming a much-preferred way for people to meet. It has the advantage of less time impact and possible multi-tasking (proven condition). Your audience is present. It gives the presenter greater control of the presentation flow and there’s a decided lower stress factor when operating from your home or office base.

· Prepare a strong, formal presentation package:

· Emails won’t cut it. Prepare a report with logical flow, well-grounded facts and any other strong support documentation that will grab corporate’s attention.

· Make the presentation inviting with strong details, precise data and good visuals.

· Be concise. The receiver will often flip through a report first and if it’s too wordy; too long and vague, it could be shelved for a much later review.

· Grab their attention. Put the hard facts right up front. For example; the company is virtually running out of space by the end of the next fiscal year”.

· Do your homework. Anticipate as many left field questions as you can.

· Have viable options. This is not an open-ended discussion; where you don’t have answers or looking for others to effectively do your job.

· Know your costs! You will be asked for financials. Including them will make for a well-rounded presentation and sure to get more attention.

· Have recommendations and follow-up actions listed. This shows that the FM is in charge; knows how to take whatever agreements are reached to finality, and shows valuable confidence in their abilities.

· Do regular progress follow-ups. This may not require calls or meetings, but a monthly update email keeps the matter in view.

#asktheexpert #corporate

Written By

Dave Ball Senior Facilities Manager