The FM Professional

SYWBAFM Part 4: Reading People and Spreadsheets

David Spence
September 10th, 2015

If you’re just joining us today, head over to our first post. In our last post, we talked about how being a Textbook Overthinker is actually an asset to the job.

Today, we’re going to chat about knowing your way around a financial report while simultaneously reading everyone in the company’s personality!

5. Business & Finance Literacy

People misuse this comparison a lot, but managing a facility really is just like managing a business. Actually, that’s exactly what you’re doing ­- facilitating the day-­to­day flow of the business. So it stands to reason that any good FM has a brain for charts, graphs and spreadsheets.

Beyond the tools, you need to be cognizant of managing costs, interpreting reports and leases, maximizing savings, allocating funds, budgeting effectively…the whole nine yards. If you order the cheap office chairs, will they break in a year and need replacing again? And will the inadequate lumbar support affect employee productivity (and the bottom line, no pun intended) if nobody wants to sit in them?

These are simplistic examples, of course, but the key takeaway from this section is that those with basic business literacy will make better FMs.

6.Understanding People

“I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” ­- Tom Smykowski, Office Space

Poor Tom Smykowski would have made a terrible Facilities Manager (if you haven’t watched our favorite movie, that also inspired the name of our product, we suggest you do so immediately).

But in all seriousness, the importance of understanding people cannot be overstressed in this discipline. Sure, a company’s HR department is primarily responsible for managing the people, but Facilities Managers need to ‘get’ the behaviors too in order to be effective.

Managing facilities is really a more succinct way of saying you’re managing facilities and the movements of all the people within that facility. How do these people ­ in all the various departments ­work best? In cubicles, offices, co­working spaces? Do they often speak on the phone, or do they work quietly? Is there going to be a lot of traffic in and out throughout the day? If you have 60 pairs of high heels clacking on a marble tile floor, is that going to be disruptive in an open-concept layout? If HR suddenly identifies the need for a flexible­working area, will you be ready with ideas about the best place to configure this?

The best Facilities Managers will already have the answers when the questions are tabled.

Hopefully we’ve given you a few more thoughts to chew on while you mull the possibility of becoming a Facilities Manager.

In our next post, we’ll discuss two more important skills: Project Management and Real Estate Chops.

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