• Monday, July 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Governance: A critical tool in FM

Leadership in facility management

Governance is about accountability and responsibilities—and nowhere is that more important than in management of all resources, both within and outside facilities management (FM) organizations when dealing with its staff, clients, and end users, from contractual terms and responsibilities to day-to-day operations.

As with every discipline, an effective governance process provides a formal structure for clear organizational framework. It engages all stakeholders and defines their roles and responsibilities. Also, it is an essential part of the objectives to ensure stakeholders stay connected on the right subjects at all levels, from operational meetings to annual strategic reviews.

FM organizations need to employ strong processes, skills, and tools to create a governance operating model to manage complex relationships based on principles and flexibility, rather than rules. This could be the difference between success and failure in the long term.

One of the most important principles of successful governance models revolves around collaboration at all levels across organizations. It is so important that stakeholders are involved, both formally through different levels of engagement but also informally on a day-to-day operational level. Stakeholders should be interpreted in the broadest sense possible, to include the entire FM organization including leaders, employees, customers, suppliers and others.

This wide-ranging involvement results from an effective combination of information exchange/sharing and action. For example, a governance model can set up ad-hoc advisory teams to actively pursue the opinions and participation of key business leaders, and offer informal presentations that stimulate the exchange of information. Superior governance requires regular interaction, a strong flow of information, and meaningful action to reach better solutions that more effectively meets the needs of all stakeholders.

It also is important to balance stakeholder needs so that all stakeholders feel included by continually engaging them. While it may be impossible to please all stakeholders at the same time, a good governance model can strive to balance the needs of each stakeholder over time. A Win-win situation.

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Another important governance principle for successful business operations relates to cultural principles based on a foundation of trust. Creating these principles draw common strength which inherently improves operational results.

It is critical to keep an open mind and reach across boundaries to understand the motivations of all stakeholders. Communication is key as misunderstanding or misinterpretation can create gaps across functions. By taking special care to develop a deep understanding of stakeholders’ motivations and expectations, the FM organizations can achieve more creative and mutually beneficial solutions.

It is a common misstep for many FM organizations to assume that all stakeholders are on the same page. Alignment between the organization’s business objectives and its actions are critical in creating an environment that drives productivity and growth. Where alignment remains elusive because leaders don’t carry along all stakeholders, it is important for affected stakeholders to actively seek out those areas for engagement so that objectives can be met.

FM organizations that expect stakeholders to adopt and align with their objectives without a properly designed governance model create basis for distrust which will ultimately lead to failure. It is far more effective to seek true alignment around mutually beneficial outcomes than to gain false agreement to business or operational goals.

While strong governance models can be a very effective strategy for organizations with benefits that include cost reduction, operational control, reduced overhead, staffing flexibility, continuity and risk management, and the ability to focus on core activities; successful FM organizations must ensure such governance models focus on stakeholder involvement, collaboration, trust, and alignment of vision and objectives.

Tunde Obileye, Chair, IWFM Nigeria region and Managing Partner, TWT Consulting Ltd

Email: [email protected]