FM Management

Corenet Summit 2012 in Orlando is underway

by jimware on October 7, 2012

Corenet Summit Orlando is underway! MCR classes are in full swing, the Expo is being set up, and the halls are full of veterans and newbies as we all wend our way from the hotel (Marriott World Center) down to the Conference Center (only a mile or so away!)

Corenet Orlando sign

Way, way around the corner!

I flew east from San Francisco to Orlando yesterday, coincidentally sitting next to Terry Wood, VP of CRE/FM at JDSU and President of the Northern California Chapter. We had a wonderful re-connection conversation (when we weren’t both sleeping or reading – or at work typing away in our 30,000 ft+ mobile workplace in the sky).

I’ve already seen many old friends – Rachel Permuth-Levine ( Sodexo) and I rode in together from the airport, and she and Kevin Rettle treated me to dinner with several of their Sodexo colleagues. This morning I’ve bumped into, among others, OJL regional partner Jose Luis Sanchez-Concha of 3g Office, Ellen Keable of Jacobs Engineering, Patrick Donnelly of BDHP, Kay Sargent of Teknion, and Craig Youst of Red Hat. Also Tim Venable and Kathy Godwin of Corenet Global staff – good folks who are the powers behind the scenes that make programs like this Summit look so effortless.

Everyone is excited about the Summit, which begins later today with a “block party” outside the hotel and featuring a whole bevy of food trucks (!).

The formal opening is Monday morning, with Keynote Speaker Bill Benjamin on “Leadership 2.0: The Science Behind Great Leaders.” I know it’s going to be enlightening and motivatiing.

If you can’t be here in Orlando, be sure to follow along here as I live-blog about the events as they unfold, and follow me on twitter (@jpwoccupiers and @thefutureofwork)

And don’t forget that you can also follow many of the Summit events “live” and online with Summit Connect. Sign in here:

If you are in Orlando, look for me – I’m here and eager to connect with old friends and make new ones too.

–Jim Ware


Corenet Summit: Orlando, Florida, 6-9 October

by jimware on October 1, 2012

I will be attending the fall Corenet Summit in Orlando – primarily as a press representative. No formal leadership activities currently planned, but that can always change!

Looks like another outstanding and thought-provoking program. Featured speakers include Bill Benjamin and Kelly McDonald, plus some great educational sessions and many networking opportunities. I’m making the tough choices this week about what which sessions to attend.

I am really looking forward to another great learning experience and to renewing friendships with many very special people.

Details here:

— Jim Ware


Work&Place: Our new Journal

by jimware on September 12, 2012

Work&PlaceOJL’s new journal, is now out! The first issue is available online free of charge at this link:

Paul Carder, the editor and Managing Director of Occupiers Journal, describes Work&Place this way:

“Work&Place, published quarterly by Occupiers Journal, is different. For a start it’s international. The team behind it is based on three different continents with a wider team covering two more.

“The journal is promoting a dialogue between its contributors and readers. Every article includes extensive links to further information and readers are encouraged to join a special online discussion for each issue:

“Our journal will be relevant to the creators and managers of ‘places’ (corporate real estate, construction, facilities management and workplace development).

“It will be equally relevant to managers of ‘work’ (business leaders, and functional specialists who have a key influence on corporate ‘places’ – human resources and information technology and others such as branding/marketing).”

The first issue was published in August, 2012, to rave reviews. Here’s what some important thought leaders are already saying:

Diane Coles Levine, Director of Workplace Services, SCAN Health Plan; and IFMA Foundation Trustee:

“I read Work&Place cover-to-cover on the plane ride home [from the IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit]. Wow! This is the best periodical I have read in my field! Congratulations on an outstanding job.

Every article has some information that I can directly apply to my job. This never happens when I read trade journals I can’t wait to share it with the FM team at SCAN Health Plan. I just wanted to thank you for providing us FMs with this valuable information.

It’s fantastic! It’s stimulating! it’s easy to read and jam-packed with critical information I can apply. Can’t wait for the next issue. “

Michael Schley, CEO, FM:Systems; and Chair, IFMA Foundation Knowledge Management Committee:

“I was very impressed with your inaugural journal. It is very rewarding to see a publication that is both interesting and serious. I hope that you have success with the venture. It is making an important contribution to the conversation.”

Debra Dailey, Vice President, Human Capital Solutions & Outcomes, Sodexo:

“Paul, It was wonderful seeing you [at the Workplace Strategy Summit] and seeing the output from the Journal…congrats again! It was a great idea to get it printed and distributed at the conference. On the way home I sat next to someone who was reading it, underlining comments, and excited to post feedback.”

Don’t wait any longer; read Work&Place today, and send your comments to Paul Carder. We welcome your views on any of the articles, and on what you want to see in future issues.


An olympic performance: what does it take to win?

by Paul Carder on August 1, 2012

It is a sports-crazy time right now in Europe, and especially in London with the 2012 Olympics well under way. It is truly inspirational stuff. I’m not a sportsman, but I do appreciate how much goes in to reaching the highest levels of performance. It is not just the sportsperson, but many other parties, including sports equipment manufacturers, clubs and facilities, doctors and physiotherapists, sports scientists, and the all-important coach and mentor. Even for an individual win, it needs a team performance.

This made me think of our Facilities Management (FM) industry. How can we reach the highest levels of performance? How would you coach and mentor the Key Account Directors of FM companies. And on the client-side, the in-house Directors of Property & Facilities, ultimately responsible for ensuring that the supply chain team deliver high performance. If you were building a winning team in the FM industry, what would be on your agenda right now?
This clearly depends on what you deem as success, or ‘high performance’, and will vary according to the role and responsibilities of the ‘player’. In some ways the question is simpler in sport – the goal is to win. The specific objective of coaching may therefore be to focus on mind and body; to prepare mentally, and to achieve physically (jump further; run faster; etc.).

The question of what it takes to ‘win’ may have far more complexity when the subject is not a sportsperson, but a senior manager with a team, in a multi-stakeholder industry like FM.

High Performance: what is ‘winning’ in your role?
Unlike in sport, fortunately there does not need to be a winner and a loser in FM. Competition in bidding may be about winners and losers, but once a relationship is formed between the FM client and service provider, there should be no ‘loser’. However, again, unlike in sport, unfortunately it is also possible for all parties to lose! In the short-term, this may not be immediately apparent – but in the longer term it usually is. Negotiators talk about achieving a ‘win-win’ solution. In FM, it must usually be a ‘win-win-win’; all serious decisions need to achieve an outcome that works for the service provider, the in-house FM client, and their customers (heads of business units, government departments, etc.). These three parties can all lose, and can all be responsible.

For all parties to win, then ‘high performance’ means alignment; to align the needs of the key customer(s), through the in-house client, with the delivery by the service provider.

Communication: “send three and four-pence, we’re going to a dance”
In case you are not reading this in the UK, this old phrase needs a little explanation! Communication is not about ‘telling’ – it is about structuring your thoughts, sending and receiving, interpreting messages and confirming receipt and understanding of the messages. You can win or lose on communication – but, ineffective communication can be disastrous. A famous war story claims that a British Army Commander sent the message “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance.” When the message finally reached the end of the line, it had become “Send three and four-pence, we’re going to a dance.” The reinforcements never arrived….disaster ensued.

What does this have to do with FM? It can feel like a long chain of command in today’s structured and outsourced industry. In the largest organisations, with the most structured FM service delivery, you can also see the greatest opportunity for breakdown in communications. And the communication is not one-way (like the Army story above); key decisions need to go from a customer group, to the FM client, to the managing service provider, and then often down the supply chain. We need to find ways to simplify, and to trust service providers to work directly with customers (and operatives to talk to end-users….like they surely once did?).

So, the first performance issue is communication: reduce complexity, and improve 2-way communication. Of course, effective communication is ultimately between people – no matter how much structure we put into our outsourced relationships.

People & performance: who is going to help you win?
The FM industry likes to wax lyrical about being a ‘people business’. Of course, in many ways it is. But the industry is being pushed down the ‘commodity’ route by unrealistic cost expectations. To maintain a margin, FM service providers have been forced to recruit lower-cost staff. This is endemic, not quite from top to bottom; I would say from upper-middle to bottom perhaps. The most senior management, on the client-side or service providers, is generally well-remunerated. But, on what basis are staff recruited, from Facility/Building Manager down to the cleaner or security guard? i.e., these people who are going to help you to win – your team.

There are many points to consider here, but I will focus on just the following:
• Don’t under-estimate the usefulness of deep organisational knowledge
• Character cannot be taught; communication skills also take time
• Attitude – who is going to help you to ‘win’ with customers?
• You can delegate (or outsource) work packages, but not ultimate responsibility

Deep organisational knowledge
Firstly, a serious flaw in outsourcing – it does not need to happen, but all too often it does. I have seen the result of an FM client that does not have control over the replacement of ex-middle managers who have what I would call “deep organisational knowledge”. I.e., they understand the culture of the organisation; they know how to get things done; they know where the power bases lie, and who to talk with to get things done. In effect, they know many things that cannot be taught. But, 12-18 months (typically) after being ‘outsourced’ from client-side to service provider, they are moved to another client account, usually with more responsibility (to cover their higher staff cost) and their role is back-filled with a lower-cost manager. But, the new person does not have the same middle-managers’ knowledge of how to get things done. Customers notice, and the FM client and service providers’ Account Director both get pulled in to try to improve performance. Often, the customer weighs in, and the replacement Manager gets duly replaced….and so it goes on. If you are either the FM client, or the Account Director, this is all distracting from your aim to ‘win’ – to work together to deliver high performance.

Character cannot be taught; communication skills also take time
The second point is really about personal characteristics versus those that can be taught. ‘Character’ itself takes years to develop; things like work ethic, trust and reliability. Communication skills and ‘customer service attitude’ similarly take time. Technical skills, on the other hand, can usually be taught more easily over a reasonable period of time.

There is a good reason why Heads of FM in several high-end professional firms have told me that they prefer to keep all of their Managers, and many of their FM operatives, directly employed in-house. Partly, this is due to what I have called above “deep organisational knowledge”. But it is also due to a concern that good people, with the right character and communication skills, will be ‘swapped-out’ or promoted onto other Accounts if they move to an outsourced service provider.

There is a solution to this problem, which will benefit both the FM clients and the service provider market; recruit and develop people with demonstrated ‘character’ and communication skill. In an ideal world, someone from the FM client team and someone from the service provider management would, together, interview every operative who was put forward to work at the clients’ facilities. Realistically, FM client teams are being downsized, so they do not have the bandwidth to do this. So, the service provider’s management must be relied upon to run this interview process. But, it needs a few checks – will this person impress our internal customers and visitors?

Attitude – who is going to help you to ‘win’ with customers?
You might argue that character, discussed above, and ‘attitude’ will go together. I’m sure that you can give examples of people with good character, communication skills and attitude. But a particular customer-service attitude is, once again, a personal characteristic accumulated over time.

I spent some time looking at this area for a study several years ago, and have observed changes in the FM market ever since with a different perspective. I interviewed the Director of Facilities (I’ll call him Tom) at a the London headquarters of an international PLC – a showcase building, with a mixture of staff and high profile visitors from the same company, and many other organisations. Tom and I walked the floors, and had lunch in the restaurant. His attention to ‘service detail’ was second to none, and he told me about his background in hotel management and catering. He stopped once as we walked, and adjusted a piece of artwork. Tom explained how he ‘poached’ staff from top London hotels, to run his client meeting areas, reception and security (and probably other areas). As I left the building, the security guard (not dressed in uniform, but in hotel-style coat tails) walked towards the reception desk as I signed-out, and escorted me through the doors.

That was seven or eight years ago. But, since then I have noticed, and discussed with senior FMs, a trend towards employing hotel and customer-service trained staff to work in FM. Less than two years ago, I was with the Head of FM for a law firm, who asked reception to send me to the client meeting suite. There I was greeted by a uniformed middle-aged woman, immaculately presented, with a great voice and smile. She took me to a meeting room, got me a coffee, and had a conversation about the history of the building while I was waiting. Later, during the meeting, I found out that all the customer-service people on that floor were ex-BA cabin crew. It certainly showed.

You can delegate (or outsource) work packages, but not ultimate responsibility
This is my last point, as in many ways it is the key to success with all the other issues (and many more that I could have covered). That is, the buck stops with the in-house Head of FM; he or she hears from the organisation’s customer groups if the FM service is not achieving the levels which they expect. To achieve the ‘win-win-win’ that I described above, there must be alignment of expectation (and delivery of course) between the customers, the in-house Head of FM as client, and the outsourced service providers. And so on, down the supply chain. Ultimately, in FM as in any other area of management, you can delegate (or outsource) work packages, but you cannot delegate responsibility. The whole extended team is ‘your team’ and it’s their performance which will see you win or lose.

Enjoy your summer of sport, and FM! And a particular ‘well done’ to the organizers and facilities management staff who are making the 2012 Olympics in London a great success. You are also on the winning team!

Paul Carder, Managing Director, Occupiers Journal Limited (


Put people and performance ahead of property

by Paul Carder on July 17, 2012

By Paul Carder:

Put people and performance ahead of property” – (Facilities Management, May 2012)

This article argues that today’s “new” office concepts are not nearly as new as facilities managers think. This is Part Two of a two-part feature. Part One (“After 50 years it’s time to go mainstream“) was published in Facilities Management in March 2012. You can read Part One at this link.


My old friend, and one time line manager, Dr Barry Varcoe, posted an interesting challenge on his blog. It was one of those blogs which, after reading a couple of times, you just have to respond. Or at least, I do.

The article was titled “The (Un)Intelligent Client” – not in any way disrespecting the ‘intelligence’ of his Corporate Real Estate (CRE) & Facilities Management (FM) peers, but posing a question. That was, essentially, how much knowledge of CRE/FM does the ‘client-side’ team actually need? And the related question, where should the line be drawn between client and supplier responsibility? Barry mentioned that suppliers want to get into, “the ‘smart’ high value work such as portfolio strategy and performance management”, and suppliers also wish to, “deploy their information systems so that they control all of the data of the extended operational chain and can provide ‘seamless’ and comprehensive reporting”. This is all a matter of policy and strategy – does it matter?

I would argue that some parts matter far more than others – and I have seen why, after it has gone wrong. These are the elements that do need an intelligent client, as they are essential.

  1. Management information
  2. Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement)
  3. Key internal customer relationship management
  4. Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance)

Management information: the client can push this out to suppliers, to some extent, but only in terms of creating management information. I would always insist that the MI system, that holds and displays the information, at least at the ‘top level’ where the client uses it (and customers, where applicable), should be in-house. When a supplier is changed, the MI system then simply starts being populated by a new supplier. The alternative? – the supplier holds all the MI, and gives the client team access. When the supplier changes, will the client get all this historic trend data? Personally, I doubt it.

Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement): the client simply cannot outsource this. There is no client-supplier relationship, no matter how close to being a ‘beautiful partnership’, where it is sensible to ask the supplier to manage it’s own performance. If the intelligent client team is reduced to its absolute minimum, someone is always needed in that team to be the ‘performance manager’. The role is there to research leading practice across the market, to analyse MI and trends, and to challenge the supplier to constantly improve. Looking at Barry’s blog, and the question posed, could this role be performed by a “strategic sourcing” function? I know, from personal experience, that the answer is absolutely, no, it cannot. The performance manager needs deep industry/professional sector knowledge with which to challenge and perhaps ‘coach’ the supplier.

Key internal customer relationship management: this is a role which could potentially go either way, but I would advocate keeping at least the ‘top end’ of this function in-house. For example, the relationship between CRE/FM and the ‘Head of XYZ’ business unit – in a large organisation, potentially responsible for thousands of staff – needs someone ‘in-house’ to be the focal point. At least, to meet every 3-6 months, and to set out plans for a rolling year ahead. The test, as in any relationship, is what happens when things go wrong or get difficult. This is where the in-house role is really needed; of course, if everything is going well, the role is less important. But, if it is not, then to whom does the ‘Head of Business Unit’ complain? And chase for action? The other issue is sensitivity and confidentiality, especially with future planning of business units. In my experience, most internal customers feel more comfortable talking to a fellow member of staff. Probably someone that they have known for some time, and built up a trust and rapport. This could potentially be a supplier senior manager, but “strategic sourcing” will usually screw that up every few years by insisting on ‘market testing’ and losing a perfectly good Account Director.

Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance): this is very simple – of course, a supplier cannot manage its own contract! However, the in-house client role can be limited to change controls, financial and quality audits, etc. The remainder is essentially part of the ‘performance management’ and MI roles above.

So, in summary, and to answer Barry’s question, “Which of the two routes therefore leads to the best sustained performance from the enterprise’s perspective?”, I can say that a small “Intelligent Client” (of “Informed Client” as we used to call it) team is always needed. After all, like in any area of management, you can delegate duties but you cannot delegate responsibility. The employer of any supplier needs to be able to hold the MI it needs, to manage and challenge performance, and to take care of key internal customer relationships. That is not a “sourcing” role – it is the role of the Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Management professional. In my view…..

If you disagree, tell me why – I would genuinely very much welcome all views:


There is always a reasonable amount of discussion around this subject, whether on the online groups or face-to-face at conferences and events. I think that Heads of Facilities Management (FM) in corporate and government organisations often believe the following:

  1. There is limited opportunity to progress ‘upwards’, other than to move to a larger organisation perhaps;
  2. In the largest organisations, due to reporting lines, progression is often ‘up’ to Corporate Real Estate (or ‘Property’ or ‘Estates’ Director, depending where you are);
  3. Real Estate or Property is a ‘chosen profession’, often from college onwards, whereas many Facilities Managers have ‘fallen into’ FM somewhere along the line, having started out somewhere else;
  4. Ambitious graduates will not ‘chose’ to go into FM

I also think that they are wrong on all counts – or at least, they are moving in that direction!

I’m going to leave point (2) for now, as it will be covered in detail in our “Raising The Bar” study later this year. Suffice to say, there is evidence of several patterns of reporting line from FM up through the executive levels.

Let’s look at points (3) and (4) – what stops people ‘choosing’ FM as a career, rather than ‘falling into it’ as many have done in the past. Firstly, careers advice probably in many cases – the situation is much like it was with construction (and may still be today). I know, I have been there! I became interested in construction in the late 1980’s boom years, where there were new developments everywhere (UK), and it looked more fun than an office job (and it was). But, my careers advisor at school suggested Civil Engineering or Architecture. “But, I want to be a builder”, I said, to blank looks. No idea about construction management, and nobody even mentioned surveying.

So, how good is careers advice today for someone looking for a varied and interesting career, travel opportunities, and not to sit at a desk in an office all day? If you are a recruiter or careers advisor, or have experience, let us know please….

On point (4) in particular, graduate recruitment into FM is always going to struggle to compete with the more established professions and general management roles on offer. But, in my view, one of (if not THE) best routes to a solid training in FM, and key to a very senior role, would be to go through the general management training programme from one of the largest corporations or government schemes (like the UK Civil Service).

Why? One of the KEY success factors for any senior FM is understanding of how the organisation works. So what better training than to go through 3/4 years of rotation through various departments and functions across the core business. Then progress into FM. I put this to a senior global FM this week, and he said, “Mm, yes…agree…but would they come into FM when they have all those other departments to choose from?”; Yes, I think they would….

Its not as though the salaries and rewards at the senior levels are not attractive – six figure salaries are commonplace at ‘Head of FM’ level in the largest corporations. Put that together with the variety of management challenges in FM, and the almost limitless ability to transfer your skills around the world, why would it not be an attractive career choice?

Lastly, lets look at point (1) above – lack of career progression. Even this is starting to become less true. The rise of Shared Services and Enterprise Support and similar multi-disciplinary support functions sees opportunity for leaders from any background. A Finance leader may move into HR, and the latter into FM, etc. So we will see competent ‘Heads of FM’ moving up to lead Shared Services functions, if they have acquired the breadth of skills and experience.

In summary, career progression is improving in FM, within the large corporate and government environment. As an industry, we need to do more to (a) support careers advisors, at schools and Universities, and (b) to look harder, and be more ambitious, in pushing FM into the rotation cycles for graduate training schemes in large organisations. If you have experience to share on either of these points, do let us know.

Paul (


If not, you’re going to regret it.


Where else could you spend two days at Cornell University (my own alma mater) in beautiful upstate New York in the fall (best time of the year there, by far), in conversation with 150 really smart people who together are going to define the workplace of the future?

Although the Summit is open to all, space is limited, so now is the time to register for a chance to learn from experts like:

  • DEGW Founder and pioneer Frank Duffy;
  • Professor Frank Becker of Cornell;
  • MIT Professor Michael Joroff;
  • Professor Alexi Marmot of University College, London;
  • Philip Ross of Unwired Ventures and the WorkTech programs;
  • Noborru Kono, Professor at Kyoto Institute of Technology;
  • Researcher Susan Stucky of IBM; and
  • Warwick Johnson of Brookfield Multiplex.

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of the thought leaders and practitioners who created the work environments we inhabit today, and who are gathering to identify the key trends and discontinuities that will define the workplace of the future.

You need to be there. It’s happening in Ithaca, New York, on September 5-7. Register now, while there is still room, at this link:

You can read about the Summit, the speakers, and the topics at this link:

I will be there; I hope you will be too.


BOMA’s Annual Conference

by jimware on June 28, 2012

This week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) took part in the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) annual conference, which was this year held in Seattle, Washington. This three-day event attracted over 3,000 attendees, including 400 trade stands, and covered a broad range of topics including measurement and international standards.

Global Commercial Director Johnny Dunford presented at the meeting on the role of RICS and the RICS vision for International standards. BOMA floor measurement standards are currently used extensively in the US real estate markets and to a lesser extent outside the US. BOMA employees and members recognise the fragmented nature of the US real estate market and believe that RICS is well-placed to deliver global standards, which has the potential to improve the way the market operates.

Following Johnny’s presentation, the BOMA Board of Directors agreed to establish a three-man task force to work with RICS on International Measurement standards. Johnny says, ‘The 2012 BOMA conference in Seattle marked the 100th anniversary of BOMA in the city. This was the first conference attended by the RICS and it was fitting to find BOMA employees and members to be enthusiastic supporters of RICS standards, membership and vision. The future for joint working between RICS and BOMA looks promising.’

Posted by Guest Johnny Dunford of RICS


RICS backs global study by Occupiers Journal

by jimware on June 21, 2012

Dear Friends,

We are extremely pleased to report that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyrs  (RICS – is supporting our global study, “Raising The Bar – enhancing the strategic role of Facilities Management”. We have already had several hundred responses to our online survey, and we have conducted a few dozen one-to-one interviews with Heads of CRE and/or Facilities (see below for details).

The RICS support will now allow us to run several round-table discussions in key cities around the world, from late June into September.

PLEASE EMAIL ME TODAY at if you would like to attend a round-table meeting.

We are looking for the following people to attend:

  • Heads of CRE & Facilities (or similar) from client organisations (corporations or government)
  • CRE/FM internal ‘business partners’ in Finance, HR, IT, Procurement

Also, if you work alongside a CEO/ Managing Director of large service provider, providing CRE/FM multi-service delivery to your organisation, let us know if you believe they should also be involved in the debate. Especially, if they are potentially willing to host meetings/dinners in your city.

You will have already heard about our study, “Raising The Bar – enhancing the strategic role of Facilities Management” via this ‘OJ’ group. But you can read more on our website:

If you have not completed the online survey, it is still open – you may go direct to the survey here:

I look forward to hearing from you, and will also post further details over the forthcoming weeks.


Paul Carder
Founder / Managing Director

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