This article sets out 10 Tips for Facility Managers faced with unifying FM organisations into a single culture.


Breaking down Barriers to Organisational Integration

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.


It's the Facility Manager's role to hold that 'North Star' vision of a single culture

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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