Focusing On You

by Nate Hunter

It’s not uncommon that facilities folks are so busy taking care of properties across a region, country or the world, that we forget to take care of ourselves. 

A quick note on the last issue’s Daly Dish: “The Right Facilities Model” ignited quite a response. Thank you to everyone’s feedback and taking the time to contact me. It’s totally understandable that both retailers and service providers did not wish to have comments published in concern of possible repercussions from senior management or clients. That’s fine and that’s exactly what I’m here for — to be a voice for you. By all means, please continue to reach out to me.

It’s not uncommon that facilities folks are so busy taking care of properties across a region, country or the world, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves includes many things — ways to ensure we remain physically healthy, our minds are stretched to learn, we’re spending time with our loved ones, and our careers are on a growing route. As a certified coach, I’ve worked with so many people that have put their jobs before everything else in their lives — before their families, their passions and themselves. One point I impress upon my clients is you should always be working harder for yourself first before any organization. I reiterate: You should always be working harder for yourself before any organization. By “working harder for yourself,” I mean you should be striving to achieve what makes you happiest, when you are feeling most in balance and not “missing” any part of your life. Achieving this actually makes you a better employee or business owner. When you continue to grow yourself in other areas of your life aside from your job role, you will operate from a more balanced state of mind and ultimately be more effective and focused at your work. I’ve seen it all too often: People get so preoccupied in their jobs — they do not invest time into themselves. For the next Dishes, I’ll be focusing on challenging you to consciously invest the necessary time and effort back into yourself. This is adaptable for both the retail facilities folks whose clientele is Ops; and the service providers whose clientele is the retailer.

Part One: Are you positioned as a business partner?

When I was employed with large retail chains in corporate America, one song that I always felt summed up the relationship between the facilities department and the company was Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit song, “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” It’s a song about the honeymoon period of a relationship being over and Janet Jackson is singing how her boyfriend used to do all these nice things for her and he doesn’t anymore. A similar assumption is true with our clientele not fully aware of everything we do for them — truly everything, including the day-to-day due diligence, behind-the-scene support and, as always, the 24/7 on-call responses to emergencies. In facilities, of course we’re expected to run our business and reach our goals — but the key here is: Are we communicating our successes? You see, our clientele is just way too busy to see how much you and your team have accomplished for them. In fact, in most chains, they only seem to get involved with the escalations — which, by the way, is generally only less than 3% of all calls that go awry. So naturally what happens is there is only visibility to these escalations and no visibility to all the thousands of other calls that are handled seamlessly. And that is when the clientele will sing the tunes of Janet Jackson’s “What have you done for me lately?” Changing that dynamic requires being viewed as a partner in the business, which means sharing information and heightened visibility for you and your team. So many people actually tell me they feel weird as if they’re “self-promoting,” or worst, they’ve been misled to believe they’re “suppose to be invisible” when they’re doing their jobs. My response is: You are sharing and focusing on your team’s successes — which is rarely done enough in our industry today. This is a critical part of your responsibility as a leader. Refocus your clients to view you as a vital business partner and handling future escalations will actually get easier when they trust that the experts — YOU — have got their back. 


— Grace Daly is an industry leader in retail design, construction and facilities, as well as an avid career coach. She is currently the Executive Director of Construction & Facility Conferences for InterFace Conference Group.

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