Getting People Back in the Building is Job One

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend two days inside a corporate HQ facility. Like many corporate facilities these days, it seemed like an empty shell. Some floors were dark, few people were in the building, and a sense of urgency or intensity was nowhere to be found. The conversations I had with leaders and the low energy vibe made it plain that the business is not running on all cylinders. The common theme in these discussions was: “We want people back in the building.”

My Productivity Protocols

Like the rest of you (probably) I have struggled at times to maintain high productivity. This most often happens when one of two conditions is present: I am either not being challenged or I am overloaded with priority tasks. I can waste time with frivolous pursuits if the first, and find it hard to focus if the second. Over time, however, I adopted a set of protocols that help to manage the load and keep me productive.

The Conundrum That Is Today’s Office

“Office” is a term that has long been understood as a place of work, community, status, and even power. My, how times have changed. If you think workers are confused, consider business leaders who must chart a course to a new normal, whatever that may be. Yes, there is enough ambiguity to go around.

Project Optimization vs. Value Engineering

If you’ve ever been involved in a Value Engineering process as an end user, you likely have a sour taste in your mouth. Despite all the good words and intents, it usually boils down to cutting program, quality, and cost, and it usually comes well after these decisions should have been made. Project Optimization on the other hand, seeks to homogenize project deliverables and expectations from the start of design all the way through occupancy.


Benchmarking has been around a long time, one sign of its value and importance. It is helpful when engaged with processes as diverse as business intelligence analysis and process design, and can be done internally or externally. The purpose of benchmarking is to quanitfy and analyze business processes to understand performance, inform strategy, help justify investment decisions, and enable tactical planning and change management.

Supporting Capital Expense Decision-Making

Recently, I saw a facility management article that suggested ways facility managers can put budget excesses to good use. I can’t recall that I’ve ever had that problem. In my experience, facility managers are always juggling resources, be it money, people, technology, or time. If your experience is like mine, then you understand the importance of choosing the right investments.

The Advantages of Integrating Scenario Planning and Strategic Planning

Strategic planning has long been a core part of the Facilities Management set of deliverables. As the planning environment becomes ever more ambiguous, the utility of scenario planning increases. Including scenario planning as a part of your strategic planning process allows you to plan for a range of environmental conditions and establish signposts that will help you understand the journey as it progresses. Understanding, you can then anticipate and adjust along the way.

Protecting Operational Requirements Is A Development Project Priority

When development project program requirements run up against project budget constraints you can expect Value Engineering and program modification to occur in short order. When done correctly these activities can be beneficial, resulting in program adjustments that fine tune the project without sacrificing important program elements or operational requirements. That is not always the outcome, however.

Three Keys to Successful Strategic Planning

Avoiding strategic planning landmines is as important as developing vision, developing measurable goals, and aligning strategy across the enterprise. Do all of that well and you are on your way, but you must avoid traps that complicate or doom your strategic plan.

Two of the biggest challenges in strategic planning are lack of focus and discipline. Both mitigate against drawing hard lines when the time comes to decide what can and cannot be included in the plan. Just because you can or hope to do something does not mean you should. Strategic planning is about one thing at its core; developing direction and momentum guided by strategic focus. Do not let that focus be diluted by distraction or lesser priorities. If it is not compelling enough to be part of the strategic focus, then it is not compelling enough. Period.

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