Change is not merely necessary to life… It is life. Alvin Toffler
Growing a capable team of leaders is vitally important to the success of any facilities manager who can’t be everywhere 24/7.
Successfully honing the skills described in a recent blog about leadership — effective communicating, a love for learning, solid problem-solving abilities and maximizing one’s productivity — will help to prepare your team to take that very important next step in their development: Recognizing and embracing change.
For all of the complaining heard from team members about the boring nature of their jobs, they’re also the first ones to grumble when their routines change.
Helping your facilities management team cross that great divide from being passive worker bees to agents of change requires a special commitment on your part.
As before, you’ll need to set the table (being a good example) to make it easier and safer for team members to accept change often, act on it when necessary and continue moving forward.
That said, what kinds of strategies will help you navigate the winds of change at your facility (a high-rise, hospital, industrial site or school) will certainly vary, but here are a few common-sense suggestions that will apply to many situations, including yours.
1. Embrace change in your management style.
To lead effectively, you must learn to “hug” change if you have any hope of helping your co-workers accepting it. Change isn’t easy, but it’s easier to manage and teach it if you’re already a true believer.
2. Be prepared to answer questions from team members and gain their trust.
Before changes begin, the facilities manager must take time to explain them clearly and positively to earn the trust of his/her team.
But remember that this is a two-way conversation. Team members will have questions, and it’s up to you to address them on the spot. Some may raise valid concerns while others may use that time to complain.
Your ability to frame these conversations constructively, persuasively and positively will determine how well these changes will succeed.
Also, give them as much time as you can spare to become knowledgeable about the changes at hand, and be prepared for more questions.
3. Communicate a sense of urgency.
This is where a facilities manager’s leadership skills face the biggest test: Communicating a sense of urgency that spurs team members to take action. In fact, some management experts believe embracing change starts here.
There are plenty of reasons why people resist change, ranging from a loss of job security to fears of the unknown.
Creating urgency means making a compelling case that the status quo isn’t profitable, comfortable or competitive for your organization. But you need to convey the urgency of change calmly and confidently without alarming your team.
4. Planning reachable, short-term goals.
Once the plans have been made, the questions answered and the waves of change begin… now what? Witnessing the full effect of change made by a facilities management organization can take years.
To be fully accountable to your team members, consider “scheduling” short-term wins that measure the progress/profitability at important milestones, based on specific performance metrics.
Building these signposts into your projects not only remind the people on your team that they’re contributing to the growth of their company. Your bosses in the executive suite will also feel better knowing they made the right decision to “buy into change.”
For assistance with change management at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.