This article sets out 10 Tips for Facility Managers faced with unifying FM organisations into a single culture.
Breaking down Barriers to Organisational Integration
They surfaced in an interview with Michalis Roussos last week about his new role as KEY’s Senior Operations and Business Development Manager. During the conversation Michalis spoke about the strategies he had developed over the course of his career for tackling mergers and new acquisitions.
Here are his Top 10:
1. Ensure you’ve a clear destination. Without a robust FM vision, strategy, policy and commitment from Upper Management to guide and underwrite your action plan, efficient and effective integration cannot be achieved. It’s not for nothing that these elements are fundamental to the new ISO 41001 Management Systems Standard.
2. Start out with a thorough Action Plan. Executed properly, this will involve detailed thinking through all your steps to unification, including key objectives. Afterward, you should be clear on every action required to achieve your goal, and its outcome measure. While surprises are inevitable, a thorough plan will have you prepared for the unexpected and agile to adapt.
3. Assemble ‘mixed’ workgroups. Group culture, identity or interests present a formidable obstruction to assimilation. A command and control approach can exacerbate implicit intergroup issues. A productive remedy is to create workgroups to tackle your key objectives whose membership bridges the most troublesome divides identified. .
4. Facilitate a spirit of cultural co-creation. As a rule, we tend to focus on we stand to lose from change, not what we may gain. Framing integration as an opportunity to co-create a better, stronger organisation can help address this while promoting ownership.
5. Nurture a mentoring mindset. One common cause of division is the group superiority complex. For example, employees of the acquiring company often perceive themselves to be smarter or more entitled than those in acquisitions. In the context of your workgroups, this can be mitigated by tasking these members in private to take responsibility for helping their new colleagues become better. This encourages the development of positive relationships, without conflicting with any self-perceptions.
6. Be everywhere. To the extent possible, try to attend every workgroup meeting and visit sites on a routine basis. As a Change Manager you play an essential role in reinforcing the relationships and perceptions which underpin unification.
7. Hold the Vision. One of your functions in this respect is to represent that unwavering ‘North Star’ vision of Upper Management. At all times you need to be seen to believe it, affirm it and live it, in the face of any resistance, hesitancy and half-heartedness. Talking the talk is not going to work, unless you’re also walking the walk.
The FM’s role is to hold that ‘North Star’ Vision of a single Organisational Culture
8. Feed back success. Continually feed back to your workgroups evidence of their achievements. This helps to maintain commitment and momentum towards integration. At the same time, it is great for generating positive word-of-mouth and consolidating common purpose.
9. Have Patience. Organisational integration can be a marathon, and is one of (if not the) most demanding of all FM challenges. In the face of inertia and setbacks, keep calm and trust that your action plan is performing its magic behind the scenes. Although if there may be little explicit evidence of this, once the implicit preconditions are in place, change can happen surprisingly fast.
10. Don’t Forget Yourself. Invariably, big projects push at the boundaries between work and private life, and you need to stand firm. Creeping concessions can easily graduate into overwork, with the risk of apathy and burnout. Proper R&R is essential to keep the energy levels up, and the mind focused on the prize and the task at hand.
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Today, we’re in Athens to welcome and get to know Michalis Roussos, new Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY Facilities Management (FM) International.
Michalis Roussos, Senior Operations and Business Development Manager for KEY FM International
To start with, Michalis, it would be great to learn something about you, and your background and experience?
“Well as of March 2nd this year, I am the proud father of twin boys, so most of my free time just now is providing facilities services to them!
My academic background is in chemical engineering. I have a BSc from the National Technical University of Athens and an MSc from the University Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
I first encountered the world of FM in my first job for Ecolab, where I was selling products, equipment and systems to cleaning companies. Then, in the early noughties, I joined ISS Greece. That was shortly after they decided to pursue a Total FM (TFM) global strategy. They were in the process of buying service companies around the world. I was brought in to help integrate their new Greek acquisitions into a single service proposition and culture.
The organisational challenges were completely new. This included a good deal of divisiveness. For example, the original team saw themselves as superior to their new colleagues. There were also the age-old differences between the cultures of North and South Greece. Furthermore, almost every change was met with hesitancy or resistance.
Achieving the goal took a lot of belief, courage and persistence but we got there. Moreover, I came out the other side with a rich knowledge of facilities services and change management.
Shortly after, I was appointed Managing Director of ISS Greece, and later also for ISS Israel.”
Tell us a little about your new role at KEY and what you bring to the international team?
“I’ve been appointed to provide management support for Jim (Yorston), KEY’s Chief Operations Officer, for international operations and business development.
For many years I’d been on the lookout for a new position which I needed to satisfy certain characteristics. When I met Jim and Stan (Mitchell), I was 100% convinced I’d found it! I see it as a golden opportunity to move up a level and learn about KEY’s unique international management system, and their related consultancy, technology and training services.
I also believe the knowledge I gained at ISS will bring a lot of value to how their international network operates at the local partner level. As well as helping to optimise service delivery and facilitate a positive shared culture, I intend to raise KEY’s onsite profile. I think KEY’s local customers often don’t realise the extent to which their hard work and thinking behind-the-scenes is responsible for the workplace improvements they experience. I want to change this.
I feel I was born for an international organisational culture like KEY’s. I’m organised, punctual and want a clear strategy and action plan to implement. I have an engineering system mindset, and take the view that if you prepare a plan properly, you’re clear on every action required to attain your goal on time and budget. When I set myself an objective, I always achieve it. I like producing results and the confidence this brings.
I don’t think these characteristics are typical of my home country. People here tend to be more emotionally-driven and less worried about whether something gets done today or tomorrow. In an appraisal once, a former boss told me “you’re not Greek.”. He meant it as a compliment, but that evening I did phone my mother to double-check!”
What’s on the horizon for International Facility Management?
For me, the most significant general trend at the moment is client-driven evolution. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was trying to sell TFM contracts, and clients just couldn’t grasp the concept.
The Horizon for Facility Management: Client-Driven Evolution
Since then, clients have matured faster than most FM providers. Not only are they asking for TFM now, but they’re also sceptical that one company can deliver to their required standards. They’re looking for FM partners capable of managing an ecology of suppliers tailored to their specific needs, where each is an expert in their particular field.
Under tightening economic constraints, they also need a partner who is proactive in helping them work better for less. They want to increase staff satisfaction while utilising less square metres – that sort of thing.
I heard a keynote presentation by the CEO of Philip Morris at a recent conference where he stated his primary expectation for their FM partners was clarity on how to take his business to higher levels of productivity. Evidently, new workplace technologies and thinking are underpinning this, which is why we’re seeing a ramping up of developments in this area currently.
In short, I predict the next-generation of FM providers will have greater focus on the design of effective management systems, the integration of actual and digital facilities, and promoting staff experiences, wellbeing and productivity through workplace optimisation.
On all counts, I see KEY as being ideally-positioned and ahead of the curve. I’m thrilled to be part of a team who is playing such a big part in mapping and defining this new territory. What with this new role and becoming a father, 2018 really has got off to a great start for me. Unquestionably, this will be an exciting year, packed with new experiences, learning and achievements.”
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On a recent visit to Poland, KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell, was proud to receive an Honorary Membership of the Polish Facility Management Council.
Stan Mitchell with members of the Polish Facility Management Council
Stan was running a workshop for the Polish Facility Management (FM) Council on the new ISO 41000 standards for FM. The venue was in Poznań, one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful cities, located on the Warta River in west-central Poland.
Poznan, Poland, venue for the ISO 41000 workshop
The workshop was scheduled for a half-a-day, but the fruitful discussion continued for several hours afterward. At some point in the proceedings, Stan got wind that something was afoot. As he puts it:
“I noticed that Krzysztof, President of the Council, had disappeared. Then suddenly he reappeared with journalists and photographers. I wondered what on Earth was going on. The next thing I knew I was I was being awarded an Honorary Membership. Completely unexpected and a genuinely delightful surprise!”
The Honorary Membership was awarded in recognition of Stan’s role in initiating the Council. President, Krzysztof Kogut, said that this stemmed back to a conversation with Stan, three years previously. They’d been talking about how to progress FM professionalisation in Poland, and Stan had advised that Krzysztof needed to get an association started.
KEY CEO, Stan Mitchell receives Honorary Membership of Polish Facility Management Council from President, Krzysztof Kogut
Krzysztof said it was this idea that set in motion activities leading to his establishing the Polish Facility Management Council. He also acknowledged the ad hoc support Stan had given him along the way in getting the organisation up-and-running.
Speaking about Stan, Krzysztof said:
“Thanks to Stan’s work and inspiration, FM industry associations and institutions around the world have the equipment they need to improve the quality of their local markets, including the Polish Facility Management Council. .
He has also showed us how advanced a tool the new ISO standards are for enabling superior relationships between FM and client organisations, and for building advanced FM strategies founded on knowledge, mutual understanding and partnership. Developing these standards cannot have been easy, requiring both high-level abstract and strategic thinking, and also a deep understanding of everyday FM operations.
Definitely Stan has it all!”
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